Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review
We review the new Thor movie!
Our Review Of Thor: Ragnarok!
The third film in any franchise is the most difficult to get right. Just look at Sam Raimi's third Spider-Man film starring Toby Maguire or X-Men: The Last Stand and you'll see overstuffed, aimless movies closing otherwise great trilogies. This is the third movie in Thor's stand-alone series inside of Marvel's larger Cinematic Universe where he's also appeared as the character in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. For Ragnarok, Marvel brought in quirky actor-turned-director Taika Waititi to bring in a fresh perspective and unique vision to their most lackluster solo superhero series. While they've been successful movies, the Thor film's have grossed the least out of all of the MCU movies thus far, but I have a feeling that's about to change as Marvel Studios' and company have brought fans the most fun superhero movie of the decade.
This movie succeeds on so many levels. First of all, they set up the story very well in an opening scene which immediately establishes the more comedic tone without making the dire situation Thor's in feel trite. The beginning of the movie also delivers one of the best action sequences we've ever seen in a Thor film and maybe the entire MCU. This sequence keeps the tension and excitement at an all-time high and also has you cracking up throughout the entire ordeal. That's how this film really succeeds, it never sacrifices drama for comedy and always stays true to the characters and the story, but it's perhaps the funniest Marvel movie yet. It's a very well balanced movie taking the audience on a wild ride full of laughs, gasps, and tears.
The cast in this movie is excellent as we see old characters in a new light and are introduced to plenty of fun new ones as well. Chris Hemsworth is at his best as the god of thunder here as you can tell he;s having a blast showing off his comedic chops while still bringing gravitas to the difficult role of Thor who's had the best character arc outside of Iron Man in the MCU; playing Loki to perfection once again is Tom Hiddleston who's devilish charm is on full display here; Mark Ruffalo is brilliant as both Bruce Banner and The Hulk here progressing both characters in exciting new ways; as the new character Valkyrie, Tessa Thompson plays her as a tough and tenacious loner with a tragic backstory; Karl Urban has a blast playing Skurge the Exectutioner and gives the character more depth than was expected; Jeff Goldblum is great as The Grandmaster bringing his signature eccentricities to the role; Anthony Hopkins delivers his wisest and most powerful performance as Odin; and as the vengeful Hela, Cate Blanchett owns the role and crafts the most terrifying villain in the MCU to date.
Giving fans something new is important in any ongoing series of films and the aesthetic of the third Thor film is certainly different from most of what we've seen so far. It does take on a bit of a Guardians of the Galaxy look and feel which establishes the cosmic side of Marvel's Cinematic universe as a wildly colorful and bizarre place. The sets are superb, costumes are insane, visual effects are astonishing, and production design is magnificent all making for a zany good time. This is certainly one of the most vibrant and visually stunning films Marvel has ever made and that fits this unusual storyline and the weird character's who inhabit it. The crazy music by Mark Mothersbaugh also helps transport you to another place on the other side of the galaxy.
Action in this movie is awesome from beginning to end. It seems a bit more action heavy then the other two Thor films as well which is welcome as he's one of the most physical characters in the MCU. Here we get to see Thor do some jaw-dropping things with his hammer Mjolnir that's unlike anything we've seen yet, and each character takes on a variety of weapons and use them in cool ways. Hela is a force to be reckoned with, disposing of some of the most formidable warriors with ease which helps make her all the more imposing. Every action beat is fun, engaging, intense, and at times brutal which describes the rematch we've been waiting for between Thor and Hulk.
Just like any good superhero film our hero learns valuable lessons while on this journey. In this installment Thor is at his lowest emotionally and physically being both weakened and drained by events early in the film. He's still a fighter though, and finds the strength to persevere through it all. Since the events of both Avengers films, he now knows the value of teamwork which is a far cry from the lone wolf attitude he had in the first Thor movie. Banner also goes through plenty of changes in this one, as does Loki, but, the new character Valkyrie has a great arc and is the breakout star of the film. All in all this is such a well-paced and engaging film that you never want to look away from the screen even for a second because you might miss something important story-wise or a set piece that just looks cool.
It's an emotional and dramatic journey, but one that's filled with humor and spectacle. That balancing act is difficult as it could become too silly or campy, but Taika Waititi handles this cast well (and plays his role of Korg to perfection) making the best Thor film yet and one of the Marvel's best movies ever. This is what Marvel does so well and the production team deserves a lot of credit for taking a risk on this one by giving it over to a relatively unknown director and bringing fans something different. The gamble paid off big time as they've made a crowd-pleasing movie which anyone can enjoy. I give Thor: Ragnarok a 9 out of 10.
Be sure to stick around for two post-credits scene which set up future films in the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe. One leads us into next year's Avengers: Infinity War and the other is a comedic moment picking up with a fan-favorite character. Both of these scenes will likely pay-off in upcoming movies so you'll want to see both of them. All MCU movies are available now on Blu-ray and DVD. See the next film in the series, Marvel Studios' Black Panther, in theaters on February 16, 2018.