Thor: Ragnarok is a sequel to 2011’s Thor and 2014’s Thor: The Dark World, and serves as the seventeenth overall film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s no secret that the previous Thor films haven’t been the MCU’s best efforts, but luckily, this threequel not only justifies the God of Thunder’s place in the canon, but reinvents him entirely.
Directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok follows Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on his adventure to escape the planet Sakaar in order to defeat Hela (Cate Blanchett) and to prevent Ragnarok, the Asgardian apocalypse. Along the way, Thor enlists the help Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
This film is different than other Thor films in the best of ways. It’s a blast from start to finish, and never fails to amuse the audience, nor is it afraid to. Unlike Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok’s sense of humor never feels forced or overly campy. Instead, it feels like the entire cast and crew are having as much fun as the audience, which is saying a lot.
Chris Hemsworth is finally allowed to bring his sense of humor to Thor, and I couldn’t be happier about it. He has undeniable chemistry with the rest of the cast and it makes the trip all the more worthwhile. Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki is as charming as it ever was, and for once, the character is used sporadically, making the audience crave more as opposed to filling up too quickly.
The three characters that deserve the most praise are Hela, Valkryie, and of course, the Hulk. Hela is the goddess of death and Marvel’s first female main villain. It’s a joy to see an actress as talented as Cate Blanchett make her mark on the ever-expanding universe. If I could describe Hela in one word it would be “ruthless.” She’s a villain who will stop at nothing to bring torment and death to the universe and she’s not afraid to shed a little blood along the way. I only wish that she would have been fleshed out a bit more, but she’s thrilling to watch nonetheless.
Tessa Thompson portrays Valkyrie, a damaged warrior who now works as a scrapper for Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Thompson has already proven her acting abilities in Selma and Creed and adds another dash of diversity to her repertoire. Valkyrie is a strong and witty character and I’m so glad to see that Marvel’s cast continues to grow more and more diverse with such a strong female character.
And finally comes Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Playing the character for the fourth time (after playing him in The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and Avengers: Age of Ultron) and he’s finally been given the spotlight he deserves. Instead of the nonverbal beast that he is in the other films, Hulk has developed the ability to speak and it makes for some great moments of both heart and hilarity.
In addition to the great cast of characters (some of whom I didn’t even mention), comes one of Marvel’s best soundtracks. Composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, the soundtrack has a very retro sound and really stands out amongst the other films in the franchise. Where the other Thor soundtrcks have been elegant and sometimes somber, Mothersbaugh’s contribution makes the film feel like it was pulled from an arcade cabinet, which served the tone very well.
The action in this film is also quite spectacular. Nowadays, it films have so many long fight scenes, and it makes each additional film that includes one seem generic. That is not the case with Thor: Ragnarok. From the beginning, the action is truly fun and engages the audience, setting the bar a little higher for other Marvel films.
Is Thor: Ragnarok a perfect film? No, but it’s a lot of fun and definitely worth the ticket price. Never before have I liked the character of Thor more. With great directing, humor, performances, music, and action, Thor: Ragnarok is a great addition to the MCU and is so far, The God of Thunder’s crowning achievement.