Hammer of the God
Over the years Marvel has struggled with giving Thor his own identity. Deciding whether to go serious or plain fun. With Ragnarok, Marvel has found the key ingredient; fun.
After the events of Age of Ultron, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself in a conundrum. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is missing, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is still slimy, and let’s not forget about the new villain Hela-The Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett) trying to claim Asgard as her own. Hela’s focus of casting out the hierarchy of Asgard’s what lead’s Thor and Loki stranded on the planet of Sakaar, figuring out how to get back.
It’s here where the movie goes full “cartoon”, as the introduction of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) brings a campy feel to the film, coming across as a hybrid of David Bowie and Hugh Hefner with Goldblum being at his most “Goldblumiest”; and the addition of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) – arguably the scene-stealer of the film – gives the movie a grounded balance while on this planet. The film has a stark contrast between the elegant living of Asgard and that of Sakaar. It’s also where Thor will earn his right to go free by fighting in a gladiatorial match against Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo).
Both Hemsworth and Ruffalo work well off each other, and although most of their screen time – with the exception of the Hulk – is relatively short, their chemistry is undeniable and witty. The same can be said for Loki and Thor’s relationship, as they always try to outsmart one another. There’s a certain level of charm to be had with the film, and Taika Waititi’s witty direction is felt. It feels as if the script was written to coincide with Waititi’s direction to get the most out of what they can do.
Where the majority of the movie succeeds, its in the secondary storylines where Ragnarok falls flat. Hela makes for a good villain, and Blanchett is undeniably having fun with the role; despite this, her character feels very flat as a villain. Her storyline involving Asgard is sparse, and when we do see her storyline play-out it’s unbalanced along with the majority of the film. A good portion of the film takes place on Sakaar, and when it did return to Asgard – with it’s different side-plot’s – I almost forgot what was happening. I was having so much fun with the main plot, that the other stories felt less-interesting.
The same could be said for supporting characters. Karl Urban – an underrated actor – and Idris Elba – another underrated actor – are given very little despite the talent they bring. There are other characters that fall by the way-side, which we have grown accustomed to over the years. Instead Marvel doubles down on what they excel at. Action, humor, and fun are all key factors that are strong in Ragnarok.
Thor: Ragnarok is the best Thor film to date, and one of the best Marvel movies out there. Funny, action-packed, and above all entertaining. Also, if you haven’t already, go see Taika Waititi’s previous films; you won’t be disappointed.