Thor: What would you like me to say, hmm? You faked your own death. You stole the throne, stripped Odin of his power, stranded him on Earth to die, releasing the Goddess of Death. Have I said enough, or would you like me to go farther than the past two days?
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
The character of Thor has been well received by longtime fans of the MCU. Despite that, his movies while adequate, haven’t been the most well acknowledged, as people didn’t often gravitate towards the characters of Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis both of whom were in the majority of those movies. However, Thor: Ragnarok discarded the friends Thor made on Earth (in fact the MCU seems to have discarded Jane entirely with no hurt whatsoever and it’s kind of hilarious) into the best of the Thor movies and an all around fun Marvel movie.
The story involves Thor returning from a mission only to find that his brother Loki has been masquerading as their father Odin. Thor demands Loki to take him to their father and when he does it turns out Odin is nearing the end of his life. Odin warns his sons about his firstborn known as Hela who he imprisoned given that she was far too powerful in the conquering of the Nine Realms and will escape the moment he dies. Only a moment later he dies and Hela is free, destroys Thor’s hammer, and takes over Asgard. Thor and Loki crash land on a planet known as Sakaar. Thor is sold as Gladiator to the planet’s owner simply known as the Grandmaster by a former Valkyrie turned slave trader known as Scrapper 142 where he comes across the Hulk who has not become Bruce Banner since the events of Age of Ultron. With the help of these allies, Thor must make his way back to Asgard to stop his sister.
Aside from the death of Odin, which is handled in a very subtle manner, the movie isn’t particularly dramatic or deep but instead goes for a more humorous tone. And the humorous tone works in delivering the classic Marvel jokes. But the drama is handled just to the right amount to make the audience root for the heroes when they spring into action. The jokes make us enjoy the characters a lot more and the effects show the cool things the characters can do while giving us the jokes. This movie is very much a comic book movie with powerful entities fighting one another and looking awesome in the process.
This movie’s core however is the array of charming and likable characters. Even at the worst parts of the trilogy the best part about every Thor movie has been the character of Thor. Chris Hemsworth does well in portraying the humor, awesomeness, and subtlety that has to be conveyed at the right time. Tom Hiddleston brings his the usual charm of the character of Loki and the two actors have great chemistry in their scenes together. Their relationship in this movie is a key part in the emotional moments of the movie. This is also the first time where it is unopposed as a central relationship.
We also get the return of the Hulk/Bruce Banner. The movie is interesting in how he’s remained the Hulk for such a long time and when he doesn’t want to be the Hulk again after changing back fearing that he will never be human again he’s surrounded by people who glorify his monster-like nature and violence. It makes for some interesting meta commentary in that he’s trying to escape from being this beast when everyone wants him to be the Hulk. It’s very much reminiscent of the problems with the last two Hulk solo movies in that Banner’s rage in those movies are in no way personified through the Hulk. The Avengers movies and this movie have managed to show that.
We also get Tessa Thompson as the fall down drunken Valkyrie who has a tragic backstory but gets a good couple of laughs. She’s a lot more energetic and far more on board with the craziness of being a hero. And thankfully the movie does not try to set her up with Thor.
Jeff Goldblum plays the movie’s secondary villain known as the Grandmaster and he is delightfully flamboyant without going too over-the-top in his personality and mannerisms. Even though he’s mostly a comic relief villain he’s still a serious threat being in power.
There are a couple of flaws to this movie. The first of them is the main villain. Even though Cate Blanchett looked like she was having a lot of fun in the role, the character of Hela felt largely one-dimensional. Skurge was mostly just her lackey who died within minutes of redeeming himself. While the Dr. Strange cameo was nice to see it feels like the movie could have done without him. And there were a couple of scenes with Hela ruling over Asgard that didn’t seem to serve much purpose.
Thor: Ragnarok is a crazy fun movie but it knows not to go too far with some enjoyable characters, some amazing action, and all around top-notch humor. It has enough to get invested in but not something to think too much about. It’s a fun movie that knew its limits but still managed to go all the way.