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Thor: Ragnarok is a superhero film directed by Taika Waititi and it is the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It is the third individual Thor film in the MCU and it stars Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Karl Urban, Idris Elba, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth.
The story of Thor: Ragnarok focuses on Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who is trying to save Asgard from Hela (Cate Blanchett) and the prophesied Ragnarok. He enlists the help of The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to do this.
My Knowledge and Expectation of Thor: Ragnarok
I went into Thor: Ragnarok with no baggage when it came to the individual Thor films in the MCU. I have never seen Thor or Thor: The Dark World and those films have been divisive. Some say that Thor is great, others say it is okay while Thor: The Dark World is considered to be very mediocre and one of the worst films in the MCU.
As a result, my only exposure to Thor in the MCU has been through films such as The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron which I thought were very good and I liked Thor in those films. Chris Hemsworth, for me, has always done a great job at portraying the character he was seemingly born to play. I was looking forward to seeing him in Thor: Ragnarok as well as the rest of a great cast.
Certainly, I would argue that Tom Hiddleston portrays one of the better villains in the MCU as Loki and to see him in a sort of anti-hero role intrigued me. Obviously, Cate Blanchett is a phenomenal actress so I knew that she would deliver as would Mark Ruffalo who I feel is severely underrated as an actor. Moreover, to see Anthony Hopkins and Tessa Thompson (both starring in Westworld) in Thor: Ragnarok was sure to lend some more class. Oh, and Idris Elba; brilliant.
Everything seemed to be pointing towards Thor: Ragnarok being great. Certainly, from the marketing, the film looked to be very funny and when you see that Taika Waititi is directing Thor: Ragnarok you must know that you are not in for a typical, conventional film. Before Thor: Ragnarok, the only Taika Waititi film that I had seen was What We Do in the Shadows and I really enjoyed it. It is weird but very funny and it showcases his type of humour quite well.
If he could bring that humour to Thor: Ragnarok, then I was in for a good time with this film and it would cap-off a great year for films in the MCU. Indeed, 2017 has seen the release of both Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming which were very entertaining films and, for me, they rank amongst the best that the MCU has given us. I hoped that Thor: Ragnarok would continue this trend of non-stop entertainment before we get to more serious entries in the MCU next year in the form of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.
My Thoughts on Thor: Ragnarok
My hopes were realised. Thor: Ragnarok is hilariously entertaining and, once more, the MCU continues to give us fun, consistently good superhero films. From the very beginning, the film established the beautiful cinematography, tone and type of humour we would be getting and it never lets up from there. There were so many brilliant comedic moments that I was surprised Marvel let Taika Waititi get away with some of it.
In fact, I would strongly argue that Thor: Ragnarok rivals Guardians of the Galaxy in terms of pure entertainment. Whether it was the brilliant cameo from Matt Damon or Loki’s reaction to seeing Hulk again after their “incident” in The Avengers, I was laughing at various points throughout the film. All of the characters in this film have their moments of humour yet, to be honest, I have to say that Korg was the stand out character in this regard.
Korg was actually played by Taika Waititi in Thor: Ragnarok and, by far, he was my favourite thing about the whole film. He had so many great lines in this film and I pray to god that Marvel sees that they have a gem on their hands with this character. I hope he has a much bigger role in MCU films in the future, especially in Avengers: Infinity War because he could provide some great comedic relief in a film that I expect to be very dramatic.
Thor and Loki
While Korg was my favourite character and part of Thor: Ragnarok, that does not take away from the great work that the rest of the cast did in this film. Chris Hemsworth once again proved how great he is as Thor and his dynamic with Loki really showcased how great their chemistry is with each other. Moreover, seeing Tom Hiddleston as Loki in an anti-hero role was a nice thing to see after his villainous role in The Avengers. His character and relationship with Thor was really fleshed out in Thor: Ragnarok and it made the film better as a consequence.
The Hulk was another character who had some brilliant moments in the film, especially with Thor. Indeed, seeing these two argue like petulant brothers in one scene was hilarious and credit should go to Mark Ruffalo in this regard. It is not easy to play what is essentially two different characters in Hulk and Bruce Banner and he found the right blend of being funny but also dramatic and poignant when he was wrestling with his identity in the film. He has done this brilliantly in previous MCU films and he did it again in Thor: Ragnarok.
I mentioned that Matt Damon had a small cameo in Thor: Ragnarok but that was for comedic purposes rather than something that would further the story. However, another cameo in Thor: Ragnarok was important in this regard and that was the small role that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) played. We essentially saw an extended version of the post-credits scene that we saw in Doctor Strange and it was cool to have these two films connected like this.
More importantly, I think that the interaction between Thor and Doctor Strange has established a relationship that will have importance in future films in the MCU. It also led us to a great scene between Thor, Loki and their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Clearly, Anthony Hopkins brings a lot of gravitas to any role he is in and the scene that took place in Norway between Odin and his sons was very poignant. In a film such as Thor: Ragnarok, you needed a good blend of comedy and drama and the moments that involved Anthony Hopkins as Odin gave the film the dramatic heft that was required.
The Negatives of Thor: Ragnarok
Still, this brings me onto something that is not really a negative of Thor: Ragnarok but it did hinder my appreciation of it. Seeing as I have not watched Thor or Thor: The Dark World, my appreciation for moments in the film such as the one between Odin, Thor and Loki were not as big as they could have been bigger. Moreover, some stuff in the film that involved Loki as well as Heimdall (Idris Elba) kind of went over my head because I do not know what happened with these characters in Thor or Thor: The Dark World. So, it is not the film’s fault that I did not appreciate some of the stuff in it but my own.
Nonetheless, one element of Thor: Ragnarok that I believe was a negative was Hela. Marvel has always had a problem with its villains. Most of the time, they come across as one-note and bland. While I think Cate Blanchett gave a good performance as Hela, the arc that her character went through in this film was not one that allowed her to shine or have a lot of depth. Overall, Hela was quite forgettable and, to be honest, so was Jeff Goldblum. I enjoyed him in the film because he is Jeff Goldblum but I could never take him seriously. He was more of a caricature than a character.
My Final Thoughts on Thor: Ragnarok
On the other hand, one character who was not forgettable was Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). Some film critics/pundits argued that Tessa Thompson was the best thing about Thor: Ragnarok. While I give that accolade to Korg, there is no denying that she was great in the film and her character went through every scene she was in with a drunken swagger that was very entertaining.
Indeed, the whole film is entertaining and it solidifies 2017 as a great year for comic book films. If you have not see Thor: Ragnarok, then I urge you to do so as soon as you can because it also caps off a year where the films in the MCU have been funny but also dramatic where it needed to be. Now, we look forward to Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War which I am sure will be just as good if not better than the MCU films of 2017 but in different ways.
Thank you for reading this review! You can find my other articles here on Soapbox as well as my reviews which you can also find at my blog theturnertalks.com.