Thor: Ragnarok is Marvel’s most fun film and raises the bar as Thor teams up with Hulk to save Asgard.
Taika Waititi moves into the director’s chair, following both Kenneth Branagh and Alan Taylor, and gives us the best film in the series and maybe even all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, helped by a screenplay written by Eric Pearson and Craig Kyle & Christopher L. Yost. The script incorporates some of the Planet Hulk story in addition to taking inspiration from the 2012 comic book series, Thor: God of Thunder. The humor is on par with this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and outdoes both volumes of Guardians of the Galaxy.
The third film in the series stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban with Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins. Benedict Cumberbatch cameos as Dr. Stephen Strange in an extended scene of the mid-credits scene in the 2016 film.
It’s been 2.5 years since Thor left to look for Odin at the end of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron and Hulk was seen departing for who knows where following the attack on Sokovia.
Thor: Ragnarok‘s awesome cold open featuring Thor and Surtur sets the tone of the film with both humor and gravity of the situation. Thor gets back to Asgard with hope of finding Odin (Hopkins), only to learn that Loki (Hiddleston) has taken Odin’s place and rewritten his own history in the best meta play in film history featuring only the best actors on Asgard (Sam Neill, Luke Hemsworth, and Matt Damon). The play is so unbelievably fun and also serves to recap the events of Thor: The Dark World.
“Asgard is not a place,” Odin tells Thor, “it’s a people.”
Odin also confirms to the two Asgardians that Hela (Blanchett) is coming and that she was his first daughter and he locked her away when she turned on him. She’s a bigger villain than Loki ever was in the first two films and his most formidable foe in the comics. Loki, meanwhile, is experiencing some character growth. The God of Mischief in this film is not a villain but he’s still no hero. Here’s somewhere in between in this go around. A lot of credit must go to Hiddleston for what he’s done in the franchise. There’s not too much or too little but the right amount of him, too.
Just as quick as Thor and Loki are to battle Hela, she destroys his hammer and throws him to another side of the galaxy, where he finds himself stranded on Sakaar, a planet inspired by the art of Jack Kirby. This leads Thor on a journey of self-discovery where he needs to re-learn who he is without his hammer.
Sakaar is ruled, of course, by dictatorial Grandmaster (Goldblum). It’s on Sakaar where our hero meets the Asgardian warrior, Valkyrie (Thompson), and tries to talk her into saving their people. In order to get back to Asgard though, Thor will have to battle…The Incredible Hulk (Ruffalo)! This contest is one that will see Thor getting smashed a la Loki in Avengers. “YES!” Loki exclaims, “That’s what it feels like!”
The interplay between Thor and his “friend from work,” Hulk helps take the film to another level of fun. Even when Banner comes to after two years of being the big guy, the banter is just as fun to watch.
It’s a lot of fun from start to finish. The film might run 130 minutes but it’s a fast-paced and breezy film. Before you know it, the mid-credits scene appears, no doubt teasing the arrival of Thanos but not without Loki asking Thor if it’s a good idea for him to go back to Earth. Thor: Ragnarok needed a director who could do both comedy and drama–they got that in Taika Waititi.
Marvel Studios opens Thor: Ragnarok in theaters on November 3, 2017.