Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 superhero action-adventure comedy film directed by Taika Waititi and written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost. Based upon the eponymous Marvel Comics character,  it is the third standalone film to feature the character following 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. It is also the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, directly following Spider-Man: Homecoming (which I neglected to review but found very good overall) and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. This film stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, and Karl Urban.

Following the events of The Dark World, Loki has faked his death and claimed the throne of Asgard under the guise of his father, Odin. After his trickery is discovered by Thor, having returned to Asgard after spending some time searching for the Infinity Stones, the two discover Odin has retreated to Norway. He warns them of the coming of his eldest child, Hela, The Goddess of Death, who wishes to take the throne by any means necessary. The two estranged brothers end up on an alien planet run by the eccentric Grand Master. It is discovered that Hulk is also on this planet after crash landing the Quinjet two years ago following the events of Age of Ultron. Together, all three must escape the planet and battle Hela for the fate of Asgard.

The main problem, of which there are many, with the first two Thor films is the insistence that, barring a few solid jokes throughout the first two films, we take all of this as seriously as Winter Soldier or Civil War, and the problem with that is… you can’t. Thor, The God Of Thunder, Son Of Odin and Prince Of Asgard, travels between the Nine Realms of the Universe via a magical bridge named after everyone’s least-favorite Mario Kart map. There is no way to take all of this in straight. Thankfully, someone (maybe everyone) at Marvel Studios realized that and hired the director of the hilarious What We Do In The Shadows to help create what I found to be one of the funniest entries into the MCU so far; it is probably my #4 or #5 favorite Marvel Studios film and is definitely the best of all the Thor films.

Make no mistake, in terms of long-lasting emotional impact, there really isn’t any. That is not a detriment. I think it was very much by design. Waititi wisely decides to leave the emotion to another MCU film or something like its brilliant 20th Century Fox cousin LoganRagnarok chooses, in spite of its apocalyptic title and my serious-sounding plot synopsis, to be an unapologetically fun and hilarious romp that had the small theater audience (3:00 showing) laughing hysterically, and that includes myself. A good 60% of this movie is a joke followed by a punchline, and it was so much fun.

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston give their best performances in the MCU yet. I feel as though it is the first movie in the entire series to effectively showcase how much onscreen chemistry the two actors have. It is quite clear the two are having a whole lot of fun in this film, something that wasn’t all that noticeable in the previous films. Jeff Goldblum is hilarious as the comical villain The Grand Master and Karl Urban, who I have always found to be woefully underrated, is great as Skurge. Mark Ruffalo, as usual, is great as Bruce Banner and is able to, as all of the actors are, flex his comedic bones as well as his dramatic bones for a brief, yet important time. The entire cast does an excellent job. The action and CGI are also impressive and excellent.

Thor: Ragnarok is not without its flaws, however. It is plagued by the MCU Curse of a forgettable villain in the form of Cate Blanchett’s Hela. Also, for a movie that has been built up for two years named after the Norse version of the apocalypse, I would have honestly hoped for a movie with bigger stakes, although that would have certainly been a much harder, and ultimately unnecessary, task for a director like Waititi to handle. Ragnarok was not what I think anyone was expecting, but it was certainly a great experience.

Thor: Ragnarok is one of the funniest Marvel films yet. It isn’t very serious in any way, but that certainly does not make it forgettable. With a hilarious script, a very talented director who, based upon this work, will probably become a much more established auter in the near future, an impeccable cast, and excellent special effects, Thor: Ragnarok (currently sitting at 93% on RT) is a fun ride that puts the Thor franchise back on track in an excellent way. It is a superhero movie that, due to it being a well-made and funny film on almost every level, will appeal to even the most anti-superhero viewer. It is a hilarious film and may be the funniest film to come out this year. I highly recommend it.

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