The Series Sargent and I were lucky enough to see an early screening of Thor: Ragnarok and I must say it is the best Marvel film since Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It sits atop my favorite Marvel films. I want to watch it a couple more times to see if it keeps that same standing but I suspect it will. This film took risks and they paid off. From the story to the massive directional change for the Thor trilogy, it was a massive risk and it most certainly paid off.
I personally enjoyed the first two Thor films but I can agree that they are both among the weaker MCU films that we have been graced with over the past decade. Thor came off as unrelatable and the overall tone was too serious. The third installment in the franchise went more in the direction of the Thor we saw in the satirical short films where Thor has a room mate named Darryl. One of the films is below for your enjoyment crunchers.
Risks in Storytelling
The story takes a different route than I personally expected and it was refreshing. The MCU is making some big changes in order to brighten up the universe. For instance, the breaking of Mjolnir as seen in the trailers is a major change that has ramifications throughout the film. Thor must learn how to be the god of thunder without his hammer. What leads to even more excitement is his new ability to wield lightning as a weapon, thus demonstrating that he is a powerful god. There are further shake ups to both Thor’s world and the MCU as a whole but I don’t want to dive into spoiler territory. I will go as far as to say, the title of the film is absolutely perfect and is exactly the right choice.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a great film however it often used comedy too much and it felt forced. When viewing the trailers for Thor I was worried that this would be the case in the film as well. Luckily the tone of the film was consistent and the jokes were well placed and not overdone except in one place. Early in the film there is an interaction between Thor and another villain. The interaction is highly comical and was overdone. Some of the humor belonged in the segment but there were other portions that just distracted from the overall image of Thor and took away from the film.
While my only gripe is that this early moment wasn’t earned, the film is full of humor and it is wonderful. New characters such as Korg offer new fun for Thor and his team to interact with. No longer are we faced with the ridiculous attempts at comedy put before us by the likes of Darcy in the previous entries. Instead we are treated with the monstrous Korg who, at first glance, is rather intimidating. And then he opens his mouth and never says anything that isn’t at least a little funny. Director Taika Waititi voices the character made of rock and he does a fantastic job.
Hela, The Goddess of Death
Hela is truly menacing. She effortlessly destroys the hammer of a god and takes over Asgard with little resistance. Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) did a fantastic job portraying the MCU’s first female villain. While I still think Loki is the best MCU villain to date, Hela did a great job. There is something to be said for Thor villains in the MCU I guess. Hela’s power if daunting and hard to compare. Taking her down is even more difficult than I expected it to be for the team. Further, Blanchett brings energy to the role that other villains have not. She is exceptional at fighting and has a rage and fire burning within her. Her motivation is pure and simple, to conquer the universe. Generally this motivation comes off poorly but her performance is believable. Goddess of Death is as true a statement as can be.
The fact that we will likely never get another solo Hulk movie is what makes this middle segment of the film wonderful. It ties in beautifully to the main story despite what I have read from other critics. Thor accidentally arrives on the planet Saakar and is put into captivity as a Gladiator for The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Goldblum was a great casting decision for this role. We know he is the brother of the collector but the two are vastly different. Where the collector is serious and grim, the Grandmaster is full of fun and laughter. He revels in his games and is excited when the Asgardian Thor offers to fight his champion (who we all know is Hulk).
After the incredible battle between Thor and Hulk (better than the Hulkbuster fight in Avengers; Age of Ultron) the two end up in the same quarters. The interactions between Thor and Hulk are absolutely hilarious and we get to see the mentality of the raging green monster. He acts and carries himself as a two year old and it makes for some great moments between he and the god of thunder. The below picture demonstrates a bit of what I am referring to where you see a pouting Hulk and Thor almost smirking at him like the older brother who is teasing his younger brother.
Thor: Ragnarok is an absolute must see for any comic book fan. It is easily the best Thor film and in my top 5 MCU films to date. Though the opening sequence came off overusing the humor, the rest of the film was fantastic with its use of humor. Whether it is some great dialogue between Thor, Valkyirie and Hulk or an absolutely hilarious cameo near the beginning of the film, the film doesn’t let us. Characters like Korg are constantly making the audience laugh and yet the film didn’t feel solely like a comedy. While I would say it is one of the funniest, if not funniest MCU film so far, it also felt like a superhero film. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 faltered slightly in this regard. It was extremely funny but a bit at the expense of the superhero film where Thor: Ragnarok never one lost its edge. Sure, a hammer was destroyed but the god of thunder came out punching and gave us fans a massive hit.
4 out of 5 Couch Cushions and a throw pillow (4.5)!