According to Norse Mythology the Ragnarok is the final battle between the gods and the forces of evil, a battle in which the gods are destined to lose. You’d think our third Thor film would be in for a pretty bleak time.
Yeah, uh, not at all.
Thor: Ragnarok is by far one of the lightest, and quite possibly the funniest Marvel film to date. It’s fun as.. hell.
The film opens with our Asgardian hero being held captive by a fiery demon in the pits of a hellish world. And right away we’re treated to Chris Hemsworth’s underrated comedic timing, which quickly sets the tone we can expect for the rest of the 2-hour runtime. The action pretty much plays out like the cover of an Iron Maiden album, in the best possible way (usually to the inclusion of some Led Zeppelin). The performances from the rest of the cast are terrific. Tom Hiddleston brings his usual blend of humor and menace to Loki, and Sir Anthony Hopkins brings his gravitas to a fading Odin, which results in an extremely poignant scene amongst the Father and his sons. Another of the standouts is Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, who joins forces with our heroes and also loves her booze a little too much.
This universe is populated with enough characters to keep the jokes moving from location to location, where our cast stabs at the chance to match wits with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange (who I enjoyed a lot more in this film than his own), Mark Ruffalo‘s Hulk, Idris Elba’s Heimdall, Karl Urban’s Skurge, Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster — who bears a striking resemblance to Guardians of the Galaxy’s The Collector (portrayed by Benecio Del Toro) — and a host of other alien creatures and figures that populate the universe. Crazy of all, Director Taika Waititi suits up as rock alien, Korg, whose line delivery steals scenes.. in his own movie.
Cate Blanchett does a fine job as Hela with what the script has given her. But again, due to the screenplay from Eric Pearson and Marvel Comic vets, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost (X-Force), her character remains the general villainess archetype that we’ve seen before; not dissimilar to Angelina Jolie in Maleficent or Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman. Now would be a good time to start giving our female villains just as much care in the writing department as we do our male antagonists. Then again, Marvel never has been too strong with their villains in the first place.
Thor: Ragnarok is just as much a Hulk film as it is a Thor film. A decent portion of the film is dedicated to explaining what happened to Banner after the events of Age of Ultron. And Ruffalo brings the humor in Incredible doses. Seriously, the cast is that funny together and it’s great to see Hulk get some of the spotlight he’s deserved. If he never gets his own solo flick, this is it.
First time Hollywood director Waititi (Boy, What We Do in the Shadows) brings his caffeinated pinball energy to what was becoming a stilted formula and injects it with new life, bringing it to new and weirder territories. I mean, he hired Goldblum and he’s Korg g-o-dammit.
Its a good thing that Ragnarok is hilarious and the performances are fantastic, because the story itself is as bare bones and formulaic of a story the Marvel formula is known for. The sequel’s sequel will likely have a hard time holding interest in its plot, instead, steering True Believers on the next bit of humor or heavy metal action that’s bound to pop up. But to their credit, it’s fantastic.. no.. Mighty that the MCU has finally realized how preposterous of a character Thor and the rest of the Asgardians are. Here they’ve gone the Full Monty (Python), utilizing/relegating this mythological side of the Marvel Universe to pure comedic effect.
Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok strikes down the Mjolnir in theaters everywhere November 2nd.