THOR: RAGNAROK makes up for the previous slog that was THOR: THE DARK WORLD and brings a fresh breath of weird into the franchise. Taiki Waititi (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS) is at the helm this go around, and his mark can be seen throughout the film. The brand of humor he brings forth is a hallmark throughout the film, without deterring from the film’s dramatic thrust as a whole. Waititi knocks our heroes off their pedestal, and is able to humanize them with gags and awkward dialogue throughout the film. The film is also a joy to the senses with an offbeat score by Mark Mothersbaugh and it’s neon washed universe. The special effects are also a plus as they are used in this film, bringing the worlds of Sakaar and Asgard to life, as well as their respective inhabitants.
The bulk of the movie takes place on Sakaar, upon which Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself stranded on very early in the film. As a fan of the Hulk, it is nice to see an interpretation of Planet Hulk finally brought to the big screen, as there will not be any Hulk MCU movies in the near future, due to rights issues. This serves as a fine replacement to those clamoring to see Hulk’s off-world romp while tying back into the film’s central plot. Waititi allows the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to finally show some personality and angst. It is refreshing to see some character growth from a character who had otherwise been regulated to SMASH status thus far. This is a great start for the three-film Hulk arc that will run through the next two AVENGERS films.
Hemsworth’s Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) offer fine continuations on their characters and the relationship between the two brothers. The film continues to build on their love/hate dynamic by calling back to previous films. While their performances were a continuation of previous films, the real show-stealers here are Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Valkyrie is an adversary turned ally who, haunted by her own past, ran to Sakaar to start anew. Valkyrie is a no-nonsense badass who likes to drink and throw shade at any and all comers. Look for Valkyrie to continue kicking ass in the MCU, and possibly taking over for Hemsworth as the MCU looks to interchange characters to keep the property fresh. Jeff Goldblum is able to pull off the larger-than-life Grandmaster and leaves his own distinctive mark on every scene he is in. Karl Urban’s Skurge is also a fine addition to the film, with his comedic timing, and gets a rare interesting arc for a Marvel villain.
The big bad of this movie is the Goddess of Death: Hela (Cate Blanchett) who is hell-bent on taking back what is rightfully hers. While Hela is a marked improvement over THOR: THE DARK WORLD’s Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), she did not bring the level of intensity that Michael Keaton was able to bring as the Vulture in SPIDERMAN: HOMECOMING. There is still a lot of meat left on the bone in regards to this character, and this writer would like to see Hela explored further in the future.
THOR: RAGNAROK has plenty of gags, offbeat humor, and some funny cameos throughout. While this film will not be taking home any awards, it is a visual treat that is a great popcorn action film. The film continues to open up the MCU and spin it off to stranger and cooler places. THOR: RAGNAROK is definitely in the top echelon of films in the MCU, only behind CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLIDER and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 1 in this writer’s opinion. RAGNAROK is a fine end to this THOR trilogy, but it leaves many possibilities on the table should the Marvel Cinematic Universe wish to return to it.
— MIKE DUNAKEY.
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Tags: Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Charlotte Nicdao, Chris Hemsworth, Christopher Yost, Clancy Brown, Craig Kyle, Eric Pearson, Idris Elba, Jack Kirby, Javier Aguirresarobe, Jeff Goldblum, karl urban, Kevin Feige, Larry Lieber, Luke Hemsworth, Mark Mothersbaugh, Mark Ruffalo, Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios, Matt Damon, Ray Stevenson, Sam Neill, Scarlett Johansson, Stan Lee, Tadanobu Asano, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson, Tom Hiddleston, Zachary Levi