“Thor: Ragnarok,” dir. Taika Waititi
Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is the third installment in the Thor series and the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While most people consider the “Thor” movies to be in the lower tier of the Marvel canon, I actually thought the first film, “Thor,” was a terrific introduction to this character and “Thor: The Dark World” was an entertaining, albeit mostly forgettable entry. The trailers for this newest film definitely got me excited as it seemed like Taika Waititi was injecting a fresh style to the franchise and it certainly helps that Phase Three of the MCU, beginning with the outstanding “Captain America: Civil War,” has been a consistently joyous ride. I’m very happy to say that “Thor: Ragnarok” fits right in as this movie was a total blast.
One of the most common criticisms of the first two “Thor” films is that the humor was very hit and miss and thankfully, this is by far the funniest film in the series. Waititi is no stranger to comedy as he’s done films like “What We Do in the Shadows” and last year’s underrated gem, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.” Here, the comedy is relentless practically from beginning to end and, for the most part, it hits. I found myself laughing very frequently.
One of the biggest reasons why this movie works so well is the terrific cast. Chris Hemsworth once again is excellent as Thor and his comedic timing is incredibly sharp. Tom Hiddleston is typically great as Loki, while it was also refreshing for him to not be the scene-stealing character like he’s been in the first two films. I was beyond excited to see The Hulk be in this film as he’s been my favorite character in both “Avengers” movies and Mark Ruffalo further proves that casting him was a stroke of genius. Tessa Thompson is another great addition to the cast although admittedly I wish her character was given a bit more to do. As for comedic standouts, Jeff Goldblum is absolutely hilarious, never ceasing to make me smile from ear to ear whenever he’s on screen and Taika Waititi himself has many scene-stealing moments as Korg. Some of the funniest lines in the entire movie belong to him.
I loved the visual style of this movie. It’s by far the zaniest film in the “Thor” series and there’s an insane amount of visual flair in almost every scene. The world-building in this series continues to be impressive in ways that I haven’t seen in any other Marvel movie except for the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films. I saw the film in IMAX 3D and there’s a ton of striking images during the action sequences that really stand out so I highly recommend seeing it on the biggest screen you can.
I will say, however, that even though I had a lot of fun with “Thor: Ragnarok,” I do wish that the stakes had more emotional weight to them. Don’t get me wrong, the stakes are very high in this movie, but the constant comedic tone did unfortunately undercut a few scenes that would have actually left more of an impact on me as an audience member. Even though Cate Blanchett is chewing up scenery as Hela doing the best she can with the material, unfortunately the character falls victim to the typical Marvel problem of having an underwhelming villain, especially since this one starts off with so much promise.
In the end, with a breezy pace, sharp comedic writing, an awesome score by Mark Mothersbaugh, exciting action sequences, and an all around great cast, “Thor: Ragnarok” is a relentlessly entertaining time at the movies. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I loved it as I wanted there to be a bit more of an emotional punch during scenes that really needed it and I don’t quite think it’s as good as the original “Thor,” but sometimes, it’s totally okay to go to a superhero movie and just have a fun time and that’s exactly what Taika Waititi has delivered.
Have you seen “Thor: Ragnarok?” How did you enjoy it compared to the other “Thor” films? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.
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