Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Directed by Taika Waititi. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett. IMDB says: “Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.”
There is a lot to keep track of in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it has been a few movies since we’ve seen Thor. Two years have passed since the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. In that time Thor has been on an unsuccessful quest to gather intel on the Infinity Stones that were involved in many of the villainous plots faced by the Avengers. In Age of Ultron he saw visions of his realm Asgard being destroyed – a prophecy also known as Ragnarok. Thor returns to Asgard, only to find Loki, previously thought dead after the events of Thor: The Dark World, posing as their father Odin. Whew, lots of info there but this sets up the events of the super fun Thor: Ragnarok.
Hela, played with verve and a bit of camp by Cate Blanchett, the Goddess of Death who was long-banished til now, seems like she will be the one to make the prophecy true. She’s a ferocious and remorseless figure (don’t call her the Goddess of Death for nothing) who’s got a better back story and screen presence than most Marvel foes. She can kick Thor’s ass.
This is just one of the many ways that Ragnarok shines above most of the MCU movies. It really is delightful. The intergalactic setting allows it to be more fantastical and creative than the boundaries of the movies set on Earth. It is more like Guardians of the Galaxy than Civil War. The action looks really great, and everything is quite cool in the hands of director Taika Waititi. Despite Waititi not having a writing credit, he did say that he added in jokes and encouraged improvising. The humor is on point and feels like his other movies. I really liked What We Do in the Shadows and adored Hunt for the Wilderpeople. There’s classic sight gags mixed with a dry, sharp humor.
The comedy is key because it sets this sequel apart from the more serious mythological feel of the first two movies. Ragnarok is weird and fun. Hemsworth has never been better as Thor since they smartly leaned more into his humorous side. The rest of the ensemble pulls it together. Hiddleston is always game. Mark Ruffalo appears as The Hulk, who has a great comedic dynamic when teamed up with Thor. Beside the characters that we’ve been following are a couple new greats. Jeff Goldblum is up to his usual habit of being awesome in everything he appears in. Tessa Thompson plays a bounty hunter, one of the more fun female roles of the series.
Thor: Ragnarok feels very confident in its own strange self. It’s even got a funky yet epic sounding, 80’s inspired score by Mark Mothersbaugh. It leaves behind the moralistic problems of Earth that, while nicely executed in Civil War, are pretty serious and fraught for a popcorn movie. It’s all fun and games here, even with the Goddess of Death promising destruction. Just as Thor becomes a stronger character, the Thor series finds its voice with the refreshed Hemsworth and bold vision of Waititi.
FTS SCORE: 88%