Thor: Ragnarok is the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, directed by Taika Waititi (of What We Do in the Shadows fame). This time out, everybody’s favorite mythological Avenger, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must save Asgard from its long-prophesized end during Ragnarok. Assisting him are Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the awesome Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Our villain for this outing is the scenery-chewing, sword tossing Hela (Cate Blanchett).
I really enjoyed Ragnarok. Popular consensus seems to be that of the Marvel movies the Thor films are the weakest. This third film certainly bucks that trend. Ragnarok is a big adventure through the Marvel cosmos, populated with interesting visuals, and strange and often hilarious side characters. Special shout out to Jeff Goldblum who, I’m fairly confident was just unleashed on set with a vague idea of the film’s plot. He steals every second he’s on screen.
Waititi’s background is comedy, and it shows through here. There is a definite sense of fun and adventure that the previous two Thor films have lacked. However, I did find the comedy distracting at some points, and certain scenes suffer from pretty severe mood whiplash. It didn’t ruin the movie, but scenes where Loki and Thor are hashing out their differences, or where the Hulk is coming to grips with his exile shouldn’t be punctuated with throw away gags.
My only other complaint about the film is a recurring one from film to film. Marvel’s villains are often given the short end of the stick when it comes to characterization and screen time. In order to make up for this, Marvel casts a fantastic, big name actor to bring depth to a character who, on paper, doesn’t really have any (see Mads Mikkelsen in Doctor Strange, James Spader in Age of Ultron, Corey Stole in Antman…etc.). Hela has such visual flair, and Blanchett seems to be having so much fun that Hela’s lack of depth doesn’t really detract that much from the film, but it is indicative of a larger problem Marvel has film to film, one I hope is eventually addressed.
Despite some writing hiccups, Ragnarok is a fun movie with a great sense of adventure and scale; a worthy addition to the MCU.