When the first Thor film was released in 2011, I skipped it. It didn’t look interesting in the least bit. After renting it, I decided that while it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great. When The Dark World came out, I was much more invested in who Thor was thanks to The Avengers. (Also, he had lost those bleached eyebrows.) While that movie wasn’t great, it held an interesting place in the MCU, since it was one of the first crossovers with Agents of SHIELD.
As much as I like Thor, the movies simply weren’t clicking for me. Then I saw the first trailer for Ragnarok. I was immediately sucked back in. Bringing the Hulk in was also a bonus. Who doesn’t want to see the big green guy again? When the posters started showing up, I could feel that they were somehow going to go with a Guardians of the Galaxy feel. With colors that bright, there was no doubt in my mind. Again, points.
In the film, Thor finds himself on a mission to save Asgard and its people from Hela, Odin’s former right hand. He ends up on the planet Sakaar, where he is thrust into battle against their champion – the Incredible Hulk. The problem is, he still has to protect Asgard from their impending demise: Ragnarok.
From the very first scene, I had this inkling that this would be one of my favorite Marvel films to date. Thor’s opening monologue was a great way to refresh everyone on what was going on with him. We haven’t seen him in an MCU flick since 2015’s Age of Ultron. It also helped me make a new, more personal connection with the character. As you may know, character is what I love the most about movies. This one has a lot to love. More on that in a second.
Director Taika Waititi definitely found some tone inspiration from Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s an extremely funny movie. Lots of great moments are sprinkled throughout and they’re still funny watching it a second time. The only complaint I have with it is that there are a couple of serious moments in the film where you expect a joke to come. Sure enough, they arrive. Minor complaint, I know.
The new additions to the MCU in regards to characters have made me excited to see where they’ll appear next. Let’s talk about Thor’s hodge-podge team for a bit.
I don’t know if any other reviewers think this, but I thought the re-introduction to the Hulk made him feel fresh. We haven’t seen him since Age of Ultron, either, and that was a sad departure. Here, we see a beloved warrior instead of an outcast. Hulk believes Sakaar is where he belongs. His chemistry with Thor makes this a fun buddy movie.
Loki is also brought back. Of course, he’s up to his trickster ways, but his character arc is interesting. We get to see a glimmer of hero in him. He’s also a great counterpart to Thor. Throwing the comedy element into their relationship was smart. Waititi and the writers have helped build upon what Joss Whedon started with The Avengers.
We meet Valkyrie – played by Tessa Thompson – might be a reluctant drunk, but she becomes a valuable asset to the team. She also holds her own when she’s on the screen with Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Mark Ruffalo. She never misses a beat.
Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster is… well, Jeff Goldblum. He gives the, um, ah, performance that you would, um, expect him to give. It’s droll, sarcastic, and a fun part of the movie. I do have to say that I could have used less of him, though.
Skurge – Karl Urban – was one of my least favorite characters here. I like Karl Urban, but a lot of his character seemed forced in, like he had to be put in the movie because someone owed someone else a favor. We could have left him in his introductory scene and left him there. He didn’t add anything to me.
Of course, we have to talk about Cate Blanchett, who played Hela. I think Hela was one of the best villains so far in the MCU. She had purpose. She had a reason to do the things she was doing. She wasn’t evil for evil’s sake. I had a hard time understanding the headdress, but that’s super minor. There was history with the other characters and that made her a great villain.
Oh! Korg! I definitely don’t want to forget Korg! He’s not a character I’m familiar with from the comics, but the addition of this guy was so, so good. I really hope we get more of him.
Let’s talk a little about spoiler-y things.
There are easter eggs throughout this entire movie.
One of my favorites is seeing Beta Ray Bill as one of Sakaar’s champions. Although I’m not the most familiar with him as much as I’d like, I know he is a character moviegoers have been wanting to see for a while. This instance of him is only a statue bust on the side of a building, but it was nice to see a nod to him.
It was hard for me to talk about Korg before only because I didn’t want to spoil who played him. Taika Waititi’s voice against a creature made totally from stone was a great comedic move. He’s the standout character in the film. I absolutely want to see him again somewhere in the MCU.
We get to see some fan-casting, too! Matt Damon showing up as Loki in the Asgardian play depicting a scene from The Dark World was a lot of fun. I did not know, however, that Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) portrayed Odin in that same scene! Both of those guys were fan-cast in their respective roles. Nice little nugget there.
Thor also carries an umbrella with him when he and Loki visit New York. I love little nods to the comics like this. The best thing is that it isn’t a blatant scene that was pulled from a particular issue. This one goes back to his comic alter ego, Donald Blake.
Finally, Stan Lee’s cameo was perfect and hilarious. Every time I see him pop up in a film, I think, “I’m glad to have had my picture taken with him last year. I’m going to cry when he passes and we don’t get to see these anymore.”
There are plenty of other cameos and Easter eggs out there, but those are some of my favorites.
Overall, I’d give Thor: Ragnarok a 4/5. It has me really excited for Avengers: Infinity War for sure!
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