Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk, his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.
With critical hits such as Logan, The Lego Batman Movie, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming already being released in 2017, fans of the genre have been spoiled up to this point. Marvel Studios isn’t done yet as they prepare for the release of Thor: Ragnarok, the third film in the Thor series and 17th in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The two films prior were decent entries into the MCU but lacked any excitement that would leave viewers remembering the films for years to come. The story of Thor has often been misinterpreted, failing to resonate with viewers. Still a fan favorite among the Avengers, Marvel Studios were willing to do whatever it takes to make the ideal Thor film. They made promising progress when they hired beloved indie director Taika Watiti.
Watiti’s eccentric attitude rubs off on his films as humor comes from all directions, at all speeds. Watiti and co were taking the character of Thor to places we’ve never seen before and giving Chris Hemsworth the opportunity to show off his comedic chops. Inspired by Flash Gordon, Ragnarok features a slew of vibrant colors meshed with a synth infused score from Mark Mothersbaugh. This was a huge change from the dark and drab portrayal of Thor and his world in previous films. Watiti knows comedy and it shows here as he’s able to get comedic performances from his entire cast.
Chris Hemsworth has never been better as the title character who defends the land of Asgard from a deathly antagonist. Mark Ruffalo and Tom Hiddleston do solid work here but the standouts from the cast are Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, and director Taika Watiti. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie has been added to the list of badass woman in the superhero genre as she stands her ground against everyone, including Thor. Though Goldblum is kinda sorta playing himself it works out well as he plays the over the top Grandmaster, ruler of Sakaar. Watiti plays Korg, the soft spoken gladiator who befriends Thor. In his limited screen time his quippy lines make him an instant crowd pleaser.
The film moves at a brisk pace thanks to a steady blend of action and comedy. Some of the set-pieces seen in the film are standard for MCU films while others are unique and separate themselves from the pack. There are certain plot points in the film that aren’t explored enough and may leave viewers asking questions. The lack of development from aspects of the script isn’t enough to weigh down the film as it manages to fire on all cylinders for the majority of the film. Cate Blanchett plays the antagonist Hela who plans on taking over Asgard and making it her own. Blanchett does the best with what she has to work with but the character isn’t overly interesting. Her character doesn’t match the tone of the film as we’re always anticipating the next scene. There’s nothing enticing or menacing about Hela which makes the looming threat on Asgard kind of an afterthought.
Thor: Ragnarok is without a doubt the best film in the Thor trilogy thanks to a diverse cast that offer up distinct character traits that catch the eye of the viewer almost immediately. Taika Watiti has made a superhero film that blends style and substance seamlessly while still staying true to its Marvel roots.