Thor: Ragnarok took the now-standard Marvel movie formula and reinvigorated it. This is a tall order considering it is the 17th movie in the MCU. Taika Waititi added a level of humor that other MCU movies have only attempted to achieve. This is the funniest Marvel movie to date, yet it sacrifices none of the action or flow that you’ve come to expect from the MCU. The villain has a purpose, and the stakes feel real, which sometimes tends to be an issue in superhero movies. Marvel has been on a roll this year with their offerings and Thor: Ragnorak is an exclamation point to their declarative statement.
The Thor movies have always felt like the weird metaphorical red-headed stepchild of the MCU. Thor has always just been a little off in the universe that was established. The’ve tried their hardest to force it together, but it never quite meshed. The problem was they tried to sanitize the inherent silliness that Thor has. Dr. Strange opened the door, and Thor: Ragnarok took the steps and finally crossed the threshold. What makes this film work where the others have failed is it whole heartedly leans into the quirky that is Thor. Bright colors, witty banter, and surreal visuals make Thor finally feel like it has a home in the MCU.
The story is fairly standard, especially for a comic movie. An ultra powerful villain (Hela) comes along. The heroes have what feels like an insurmountable setback. Allies team together and overcome said setback and triumph. The reason this one succeeds is because it takes that formula and adds humor and a wicked sense of flair that Marvel has never had. Chris Hemsworth has almost perfect comedic timing. The Hulk is equal parts brutal force and hilarious child. Jeff Goldblum honestly is just Jeff Goldblum and it is perfect in this movie. Loki is similar to his usual portrayals which still fit into the story. Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie joins the group and adds an amazing blend of humor and darkness.
The action is also elevated by the comedic stylings of the movie’s director. While being full force and at times brutal you will find yourself laughing at moments during the fights. The Thor versus Hulk battle is probably the best example of this. Starting with the line from the trailer about being work colleagues, it quickly devolves into the brutish battle that reminds you of their skirmish in Avengers. It also calls back to the Hulk dismantling Loki in the Avengers in one of the most hilarious parts of the movie. The final battle on Asgard is where it is probably the most stylish. Every characters’ strengths are on full display in this fight. Thor shows off his newly relieved abilities, the Hulk is his usual self, Valkyrie shows why she belongs with these characters, Loki is sly, nimble, and cunning, showing that he is a force to be reckoned with. Hela is powerful and uncompromising as a villain should be. Every time an action set piece happens the visuals are amped up to 11 and the movie only benefits from this.
Sadly though there are some issues. Loki, at times, feels like he is dangerously close to becoming a caricature of himself. While showing he is perfectly capable of being a full character, there are times when he is just cannon fodder for physical beatings and gags. The Warriors Three, were also treated like quick footnote characters in the worst way. They were always small, side characters but they were treated and killed off like random henchman in an 80s action film. Marvel may have also continued its worst trend, villain killing. Only time will tell if Hela is gone or not but it feels like they did kill her off. Hopefully this is not the case and they learned from Spider-Man: Homecoming that leaving a villain alive adds so much more value to a franchise.
The movie ultimately is one of the funniest and wild rides you will ever get from a super hero movie. The trailers do an injustice to this film. It is a spectacle that can truly surprise you. Enjoy this ride. It is worth it.
89 Snake Bite Stories out of 100. (89%)