Or maybe we should call it Thor and Friends?
Thor: Ragnarok is a roller coaster ride of a movie that doesn’t stop once it begins. Definitely the best of the trilogy, it is less brooding and mystical than the previous two with a seriously amped up comedy quotient. Along with being extraordinary in the action genre, Marvel has been very creative exploring different subgenres within the action realm – sci-fi with Guardians of the Galaxy, caper/heist with Ant-Man, mystical with Doctor Strange to name a few. With this one they add “superhero buddy movie.”
Ragnarok refers to the mythical war to end all wars. In Norse mythology, it is the final battle of the gods where many of them meet their final fate and with the arrival of Hela that seems the route things are headed. Hela is the Goddess of Death who contains her own share of secrets. She returns to Asgard seeking power to rule not just the Nine Realms but every realm she can find and Odin warns his sons that she might have the power to do it. In a weird twist of events, Thor and Loki are cast across the galaxy to the planet Sakaar and must find their way back to Asgard before it’s too late to stop Hela.
When most franchises are into their third film, the main character becomes less of the focus. Character development takes a back seat to action, but not in Thor: Ragnarok. Thor’s character continues to evolve in meaningful ways. We find out more about Thor’s family than we ever had before. We learn about the source of Thor’s power, about his hammer Mjolnir, and about his relationship with his brother Loki. Hulk evolves also, more so than in any other movie. He talks! As the Hulk! But more than that, we find out that Hulk has thoughts of his own – simple as they may be. And we get a chance to explore more about Banner’s relationship with the big green guy within.
Fans of Chris Hemsworth will get to see a side of him that hasn’t been explored much in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – his great sense of comedic timing! We get to see that in all of its glory throughout Thor: Ragnarok. Mark Ruffalo is always charming to watch and his interpretation of the Hulk continues to be the best incarnation of the Jade Giant on film to date. He takes the character into new places. Tom Hiddleston is remarkable as Loki. For all the evil Loki has done, Tom infuses the character with a likability that is hard to deny. Every time Loki is on screen he captures the scene. And Tessa Thompson is amazing as Valkyrie. The story behind her origin is unexpected and heart-wrenching. Plus, she seriously holds her own against the forces of evil.
Speaking of which, Cate Blanchett brings a power and gravitas to her portrayal of Hela that lets you know she is more than a match for Thor. She not only has a luxurious physical presence on-screen, but her battle sequences exhibit her battle prowess. Perhaps one of the most visually stunning sequences in the film is the face-off between Hela and the entire legion of Valkyrie. It is epic and that is truly the best way to describe it.
Thor: Ragnarok is a visual treat and director Taika Waititi infuses his own personality and style into the film. He takes Thor into new directions and brings new life to the mythos of Asgard. There were times in the film that I thought the humor was a little over the top. The jarring change from the past two films took me out of the moment, especially at the beginning. At times the humor seemed forced or inappropriate. But it was so refreshing to see the Thor franchise in a new direction. By far this version of Thor was the one easiest to relate to and make a connection with. Definitely, this was by far the best of the three.
Although I really miss Jane…