Expectations for “Thor: Ragnarok” were high. Viewers had been waiting to see Thor and the Hulk back in action since their noted absence from “Captain America: Civil War.” Then, advertisements appeared, with critics claiming “Thor: Ragnarok” is the best Marvel movie ever – a bold and surprising statement.
After all, many movie lovers are beginning to experience “superhero fatigue” from these superhero movies, and they are tired of the battle between Marvel and DC.
Could this new Thor movie really be different? The simple answer is yes.
Marvel has always been known for sprinkling humor into action-packed superhero thrillers. “Thor: Ragnarok” contains much more than a few comedy sprinkles. It is absolutely hilarious.
Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, was always a rather formal character. You will probably remember that he was a jerk in “Thor,” who reformed to get his powers back.
In “Thor: The Dark World,” we enjoyed comedic sibling interaction between Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), but you certainly wouldn’t have classified “The Dark World” as a comedy movie.
If you only know Chris Hemsworth as Thor, you likely wouldn’t consider him a particularly funny actor. If you saw the rebooted “Ghostbusters,” you got a taste of the amusing Chris Hemsworth as he played the intellectually-challenged secretary, Kevin.
That hardly compares to his brilliant performance in “Thor: Ragnarok,” though, as he blends the serious and formal Thor we know and love with quick-witted, hysterical Thor.
Hemsworth’s isn’t the only amusing performance. Mark Ruffalo brings us sassy Hulk and freaked-out Bruce Banner, both new developments to those characters. And the addition of Jeff Goldblum to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Grandmaster was a terrific casting choice.
Cate Blanchett also gave us a great performance as supervillain and goddess of Death, Hela. She was so earnest in her beliefs you very nearly took her side.
It helped that she looked very stunning with black hair – enough that you could forgive the director and costuming department for choosing not to make half of Hela rotted and decomposed, as she is described in the mythology.
The writing was excellent, but it was Taika Waititi’s direction that really made the film shine. The characters were humorous and serious at just the right times, with believable transitions between attitudes. Nothing appeared forced or too fantastic to be believed.
The sole complaint that most could find with the movie was three unfortunate character deaths at the start of the film. The first two deaths were worse than the third.
Characters we grew to love in the first two Thor movies made extremely short token appearances just to be slain by Hela in a depressingly anti-climatic moment. It didn’t advance the plot, and audiences would have been happier had they been left out entirely if they weren’t to receive glorious deaths in battle. As movie faults go, though, this one was negligible and did not detract from the overall excellence of the rest of the film.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is a triumph. It is hilarious, it has serious moments, and the action and fight sequences are spectacular. Just when you thought the Marvel Cinematic Universe couldn’t get any better, they once again prove they are the King of superhero movies.