It’s Hela good.
Thor and Thor: The Dark World are among the weakest films in the MCU. Hampered by stale chemistry between the romantic leads and a stern tone that rarely teeters into the light and entertaining romps the other Marvels films often are, the Thor films have never been shiny examples of what the MCU does best…until now. Thor: Ragnarok is a blissful and hilarious adventure elevated through a talented director and pulsing score.
We’re going to dive into spoiler territory and talk about the lingering questions leading into Avengers: Infinity War. Beware!
After two years of searching the galaxy for Infinity Stones, Thor finds himself facing a new threat: Hela, the Goddess of Death. Able to crush Mjolnir with a single hand, Hela quickly defeats Thor and Loki, and the brothers find himself on the planet Sakaar. Imprisoned and forced to fight a certain “friend from work,” the God of Thunder must find a way to escape his captors and return to Asgard, where Hela conquered all. Oh, and Ragnarok, Asgard’s doom, is happening too.
On paper, a lot is happening in Thor: Ragarok, and a lot does happen. This movie has huge implications not just for Thor, but for the entire MCU. However, the movie never feels bogged down or overstuffed. In fact, the film has an incredibly breezy pace, where scenes quickly move from one to the other, never overstaying their welcome. This can be attributed to one man, the movie’s secret best character: Taika Waititi, the director.
Waititi, who previously directed episodes of Flight of the Conchords and the incredible What We Do in the Shadows, has an outstanding sense of timing and vision for the film, as Ragnarok somehow manages to balance all of its characters and plot points with ease, and, most importantly, levity. The film has serious moments, but Waititi uses his comedic chops to his advantage, and peppers each scene with gags and goofs that, mostly, all work.
Ragnarok is hilarious. Not just funny like Spider-Man: Homecoming or Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s a riot. From Thor dangling around in chains while Surtur is trying to monologue, to Loki having Hulk flashbacks, to the final seconds of the film, the jokes punch and they punch hard. This can easily be attributed to Waititi, who also plays the film’s best character, Korg, Thor’s rocky gladiator buddy.
Korg aside, this is Chris Hemsworth’s best outing as Thor. If you’ve seen any comedy film where Hemsworth cameo’s you know he was born to be a comedic actor, and he fits perfectly in Waititi’s framework. Hemsworth as Thor is a competent warrior, but also a big dummy and a klutz, and nearly scene gives him an opportunity to flex his bumbling and goofy muscles.
Everyone else is great too. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is also goofier this time around, but he’s still charming as hell. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner returns, but Hulk steals the show all too often, and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie is a welcome addition. Cate Blanchett is absolutely fabulous as Hela, a top-tier MCU villain and demanding onscreen presence. And Jeff Goldblum is Jeff Goldblum.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ragnarok has one of, if not the best, score for any MCU movie. Seriously, it’s really good. Mark Mothersbaugh’s synth-heavy beats are memorable and extremely energetic, elevating the fighting or chase sequences. Here’s the Spotify playlist. Thank me later.
Thor: Ragnarok breaks Thor’s hammer. It has Stan Lee cut his hair. It kills the Warriors Three and Odin (sorry guys) without hesitation. It destroys Asgard.
Ragnarok isn’t so much a sequel to the prior Thor movies as it is a radical reinvention of what Thor, and to an extent, what an MCU movie can be. It’s quick, funny, and groovin, but it’s also extremely refreshing and idiosyncratic. While certainly not without faults (Mark Ruffalo’s improv skills need work, and sometimes there’s too much Jeff Goldblum-age), Ragnarok works so well because it’s so confident in what it is: a good time.
Lingering Questions Time!
- Where was Lady Sif?
Apparently, Jaimie Alexander was busy filming her show Blindspot, so couldn’t show up to be killed by Hela (probably). However, MCU head honcho Kevin Feige said in an interview that Sif probably was banished from Asgard during Loki’s rule, so there’s a good chance we’ll see her again (probably in Infinity War).
- Speaking of Infinity War, who’s big ship was that at the end? Thanos?
Bingo. It’s probably the Mad Titan. The Avengers: Infinity War footage from Comic-Con begins with Thor unconsciously hurling through space, so it’s looking grim for the Asgardians. #savekorg
- Does Loki have the Tesseract?
Yep. $100 bucks he’s going to use it to leverage a deal with Thanos. And hopefully not die. #saveloki