Honestly this movie was a pleasurable easy watch, its hilarious, fun, beautiful, and a bit crazy, the exuberant cast all deliver fantastic performances throughout, and the story has some joyous ups and devastating downs. So many great things are held back from the trailers, awesome action sequences, brilliant unexpected cameos, and some inspired CGI shall we say alterations.
Director Taika Waititi’s idiosyncratic comedy style is unmistakably prominent throughout the film which is also packed with improvised visual gags, jokes, and quips. For the most part this is all brilliant and a huge plus, but unfortunately some things just come off a bit silly, not all the jokes land, and in places the comedic timing is off. Occasionally either poorly structured scenes or improvised jokes interrupt character moments for an attempted laugh, causing the tone to swing in and out of what should have been a smooth tonal transition downplaying the significance of the moment in the process.
Considering how much happens in the movie some of the characters don’t actually so too much, or in some cases anything at all. Cate Blanchett as Hela was fantastically condescending to those around her and played a total bad-ass with the skills to back it up, but she only really had two or three things to do in the film, her plan was actually pretty narrow-minded and boring. She really fell into the typical Marvel villain role of just being used to elevate the hero, considering she is supposed to be the Goddess of Death she didn’t exactly have the power to control it like in the comics, just cause it on a spectacular scale.
For all the hype around Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie by the end I was slightly let down, Thompson is a great actress and did filled the limited role perfectly, unfortunately the character doesn’t really have a whole lot to do, and especially in the third act where she becomes highly ineffective and almost unnecessary. Equally as disappointing the fact that she wasn’t even shafted the worst, that honor goes to Karl Urban as Skurge the Executioner whose sole purpose in the film was to act as a reason for Hela to explain things for the audience’s benefit, the filmmakers tried to soften the blow by throwing him one or two small comedic moments and the most questionable redemption arc in history.
Hulk’s had amazing moments and was such a welcome addition, but his story wasn’t as fleshed out as I expected it to be after the recent explanation from Mark Ruffalo and Kevin Feige about the three movie spanning arc for the character. Two things are alluded to that will be the obstacles and/or points to be addressed over the next two Avengers movies but that’s as far as it goes, Banner does make a pretty definitive statement about himself and is forced into testing his belief, but we don’t receive confirmation by the film’s end.
Having played the character for over six years and evolved with it, Chris Hemsworth portrays Thor who undergoes respectable character growth after some enlightening events and acceptance of hard truths. Thor has a great character arc where we get to experience the God of Thunder essentially learn to ride without his training wheels embracing his power, and its fucking cool!
English rock band Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song which was featured in the trailers is used with slight variations several times throughout Ragnarok, when you hear it, you know its time to get hyped. Amplified by Zeppelin’s music the powerful fight scenes are supercharged with lightning, courtesy of a certain Asgardian.
The Jack Kirby comic book inspired design of the gladiator planet Sakaar wonderfully builds on the vibrant cosmic setup done by James Gunn’s Guardians volumes. Despite the outrageous color schemes and out-there designs everything works to create a place where I believe Jeff Goldblum actually comes from (because he’s crazy). The visual effects are on point with Hulk, Surtur, Fenris, Korg, Meik, and so many most digital characters that get a lot of screen time looking fantastic.
Understandably some drastic changes are made from the comic story lines and for the film characters as opposed to their on-page counterparts. As somebody familiar with the recent comic runs and source material the film has drawn from, I think for the most part the changes are on-point and warranted to fit the MCU’s needs. They do make the whole Ragnarok story easier to digest, clarify relationships and character ties that are otherwise somewhat nonsensical, and attach new meanings and lessons to the Ragnarok and by proxy Planet Hulk stories but its worth it.
Keep an eye out for plenty of callbacks, comic book, MCU, and Easter egg Easter eggs, yep there are actual Easter eggs hidden in shots of the movie (that’s just Waititi’s sense of humor), especially during the walks through Odin’s vault. The movie features two after credits scenes, honestly they are nothing to write home about, the first is yet again another Thanos tease that looks like it leads into Avengers: Infinity War, and the second is a silly Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 style gag.
Easily the best of the Thor Trilogy, this third installment is currently receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews with an incredible 99% on rottentomatoes which, I expect it will balance out in the high 70’s over the next week. Thor: The Dark World sits at a fresh 66%, while the original Thor surprisingly maintains 77%.
At face value Thor: Ragnarok is a good fun film and a welcome addition to the MCU, despite its underlying problems its more than worth a watch. If not purely for the enjoyment of watching the God of Thunder take on the Green Goliath, then because of how its earth shattering events will affect things to come and help shape the greater story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe 7.5/10.