WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok. Proceed with caution!
Credit: Marvel Spoiler Official
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to review all the films in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. These are some of my all-time favorites, and I can watch them over and over again without getting bored. I’ve decided to start off this project by reviewing one of my favorites: Thor: Ragnarok.
Marvel Studio’s Thor: Ragnarok was released on November 3, 2017, in the United States. It stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Cate Blanchett as Hela, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Karl Urban as Skurge, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. It’s rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, and brief suggestive themes.
Ragnarok easily makes my list of Top Ten Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies. It’s everything I didn’t know I needed from a Thor movie including great comedy, colorful visuals, awesome action sequences, and amazing character development from several of its main characters, as well as the introduction of several new characters.
In the latest and greatest Thor installment, Thor has been captured by the evil god Surtur (Clancy Brown), who tells him about the coming of Ragnarok, a catastrophic event that will destroy Asgard. Determined to put a stop to Ragnarok, Thor assembles his superhero team, the Revengers, a group that includes Loki, Bruce Banner/Hulk, and a former Valkyrie to help him save Asgard from complete destruction. There are many obstacles standing in their way including Thor and Loki’s evil sister, Hela, the Goddess of Death, and the Grandmaster, the tyrannical ruler of the planet Sakaar. After Thor and Loki find themselves stranded on Sakaar, Thor and Loki must work together to escape Sakaar, return home, and defeat Hela so that Thor can take his place as Asgard’s rightful King.
Ragnarok may be the Thor trilogy’s conclusion, but instead, it feels like a fresh start for the franchise with it being completely different in tone from either Thor or The Dark World. The previous installments in the series were darker and more dramatic, while Ragnarok’s bright colors felt like a Thor comic come to life. It’s nonstop and sometimes cheesy humor makes it feel like a superhero movie and a sitcom combined. Strong performances from the amazing cast also made the movie enjoyable to watch.
I’ve always loved Chris Hemsworth as Thor, but this time around, not only did I enjoy his performance I also really enjoyed Thor as a character. In the past, Thor has been arrogant and at times angry and brooding, and tends to be a more serious character overall. Ragnarok shows a different side of Thor than has been seen in both previous Thor movies and Avengers. He’s grown a lot in terms of humility and much of the movie’s humor comes from him. Chris’s sense of humor is given a chance to in scenes like “Get Help” and “The Snake Story,” which were both improvised.
Whether you love or hate him, Tom Hiddleston’s masterful portrayal of Loki, the God of Mischief, has always been interesting to watch. He’s still mischievous and chaotic, and most of the time I wasn’t sure whose side he was on. Though he seems to be closer to becoming a hero than he ever has been before, he still tries to double-cross Thor and Bruce as they’re trying to escape Grandmaster’s mansion. After Thor catches Loki in his trickery, he challenges Loki to be something more than just the God of Mischief. Loki takes Thor’s challenge to heart when he returns home to fight alongside his brother to save Asgard. This is a development in the brother’s relationship I didn’t know I needed or even wanted to see. After years of being enemies, it was exciting to finally see them reconcile. It left me wanting more of their improved relationship.
Even Odin (Anthony Hopkins) was more enjoyable to watch in this one. I especially enjoyed the scene where Loki was ruling Asgard disguised as Odin. I thought it was one of the funniest moments in the movie. Odin’s still a total jerk for not telling Thor and Loki about their evil sister, Hela, but I loved how he finally acknowledges Loki as his son and shows up to give Thor guidance when he needs it most.
Since last seeing him in Age of Ultron, Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) has been stranded on Sakaar and trapped for two years inside his alter ego, Hulk. He has been forced to take part in Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions where he fights contenders to the death for Grandmaster’s amusement. During his time on Sakaar, Hulk has developed the speech and temperament of a five-year-old. For me, the Hulk is a more interesting character now that he can say things beyond “Hulk Smash!”
After finally regaining control of Hulk, Bruce tells Thor he’s afraid that the next time he Hulks out, he might never turn back. For most of the movie, Thor tries his best to keep Bruce calm so that his fear of permanently becoming Hulk doesn’t come true. In the end, Bruce Hulks-out again when he realizes Hulk’s abilities are more suited to saving Asgard than his own.
Ragnarok has several villains but the one that stands out the most is Cate Blanchett’s Hela. Since Loki took center stage as the big bad in Avengers, Marvel has had trouble creating strong, memorable villains for their cinematic universe. Hela helps solve this problem and gives her brother some stiff competition. The Goddess of Death proves she’s not to be messed with when she destroys Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and upon entering Asgard, she kills the Warriors Three in quick succession. She’s ruthless and shows no mercy to those who stand in the way of getting what she wants: Her right as Odin’s firstborn to rule the realm of Asgard. She’s evil and gets a kick out of being as evil as she can possibly be.
To help carry out her evil plans, Hela recruits Skurge (Karl Urban) as her executioner. Every TV show or movie needs a lovable idiot and Skurge fits the bill in Ragnarok. He had some funny moments, but his spinelessness made him my least favorite character in the movie.
When compared with Hela, Grandmaster doesn’t seem like as bad of a villain. Jeff Goldblum is so funny in this role that I forget I’m actually supposed to hate him. Though the fun and games end when he doesn’t get what he wants and often executes people, both for sport and when people don’t do his bidding. Despite his villainy, he was a fun character and I hope he shows up again in a future movie.
Since being removed from his post as Guard of the Bifrost Bridge for committing treason against Asgard (Again!), Heimdall (Idris Elba) has been on the run and is helping protect Asgardian refugees from Hela’s rule. He helps Thor and the Revengers get off Sakaar and together they defeat Hela and get the Asgardians safely away from Asgard before Ragnarok happens.
Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) was another character I look forward to seeing more of in the future. She’s a fierce warrior who’s trying to drink her painful past away. Unfortunately, with so much going on and so many supporting characters, there wasn’t much time given to learn much about her other than what was shown when Loki was forcing her to relive some painful memories. I hope we learn more about her past as a Valkyrie and that Marvel takes the time to give her the character arc she deserves.
Director Taika Waititi lends his acting skills to bringing Korg, an alien creature made out of rocks to life. Korg’s hysterical and he never fails to say or do something amusing whenever he shows up. Here’s hoping he gets to help lead the revolution against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.
Stan Lee’s cameo in Ragnarok is one of his funniest and unfortunately one of his last. I always enjoyed his brief appearances and wonder how Marvel will commemorate him in future movies. Maybe they can put Stan’s picture up in random places so that his cameos can still continue long after he sadly passed away last year. Whatever they choose to do, Stan Lee’s memory will live on in the many characters he helped create, but one thing’s for sure, he will be missed.
Another interesting cameo in Ragnarok was that of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) It was great seeing Strange in the same room with Thor and Loki. The few minutes of screen time they had together left me wanting more. I’d especially love to see a Loki and Dr. Strange team up. The few seconds they had together weren’t enough for my liking. Who knows? Maybe Dr. Strange will show up in the Loki series, but for now, those few seconds will have to be enough.
Marvel is known for their mid/end credit scenes that help set up the next movie in the series. In the most foreboding mid-credit scene ever, The Asgardian’s victorious escape is short-lived when their ship runs into Thano’s ship. From the look of terror on Loki’s face, all won’t be well for long. This scene leads right into Avengers: Infinity War, and even though I know the devastation that happens next, it still fills me with dread no matter how many times I watch it.
Aside from the heart-dropping mid-credit scene, Thor: Ragnarok one of Marvel’s best and funniest films they’ve released so far. It’s definitely one worth watching again and again. I hope Marvel plans to make more Thor movies in the future and departs from their usual trilogy format. I feel like there are more stories to tell in Thor’s intergalactic universe, especially with the complete change in tone, and the introduction of new characters. It will be interesting to see what Marvel chooses to do with characters, both old and new, going forward.