Thor: Ragnarok is a fantastic superhero movie. Like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ragnarok remembers that the way to enjoy Marvel’s more out-there creations is to make things as fun as possible. After a solid debut movie led to a crap sequel and a shrinking role in the Avengers movies, Thor needed a film in which he was finally the best reason to watch it. Director Taika Waititi cleared away the rubble left by The Dark World and Ultron to literally wipe the slate clean for Thor’s corner of the MCU.
With Ragnarok being the end of Asgard, it’s also the end of the status quo that both Thor and his adopted brother Loki struggled to feel a part of. With the destruction of Asgard being something that intrinsically needed to happen, it created a new reality in which Thor could comfortably rule his people: as refuges among the stars, instead of part of a long-running colonialist dynasty that the Thor we know and love just doesn’t fit into. It’s a cool movie on the part of the MCU, and it opens the door nicely for Thor to hook up with the Guardians of the Galaxy ahead of Infinity War. But these pleasant side effects are just the consequences of what Ragnarok set out to do: to tell a slick and fun story with tongue firmly in cheek to get Thor where he needed to be.
Since I first reviewed Ragnarok for this site, my opinions on it haven’t really changed. I’m still convinced that Thor is the best, or at least the most entertaining Avenger (mainly because Spider-Man refused the call), that the turmoil at the center of the Hulk’s arc was undermined by the movie’s need to have the humor constantly up to eleven, and that Tessa Thompson rocks as Valkyrie despite that awful accent.
Ticking the Romance Box
Ragnarok gets all the points for completely ignoring any potential for a romantic relationship. The fact is that no one has time for it: Thor’s busy trying to get his team together to save Asgard, and his obvious love interest Valkyrie is more interested in taking down Hela than looking at Thor’s eight-pack. The real romance here is the bromance between Thor and Loki. Both characters have never been better as Loki suits the conniving scoundrel role much better than being the big bad. His and Thor’s relationship, much like Cap and Bucky’s, continues to grow more complex with every movie.
The Wasted Villain Corner
As cool as Cate Blanchett looks as Hela, and as much obvious fun as she has playing the role, her scenes break the momentum of the much more interesting Sakaar plot. Even in their best movies the MCU continues to waste great actors. Though Jeff Goldblum was great 100% sold gold. No matter the circumstances, Goldblum finds a way.
Thor: Ragnarok is an excellent action movie: a supercharged He-Man riff where every image would look at home as an album cover, and every performance is on point, marking it out as the finest entry into Thor’s canon so far.
By Kevin Boyle
(header image courtesy of Tech Crunch)