Thor: Ragnarok – The Road to Endgame

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok.

Thor: Ragnarok is Marvel’s most fun film and raises the bar as Thor teams up with Hulk to save Asgard.

It’s been 2.5 years since Thor (Chris Hemsworth) left to look for Odin at the end of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.  Meanwhile, Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) 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 (Anthony Hopkins), only to learn that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has taken Odin’s place.  He’s rewritten his own history in the best meta play in film history.  Said play features only the best actors on Asgard (Sam Neill, Luke Hemsworth, and Matt Damon).  The play is so unbelievably fun.  It 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 (Cate 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 (Jeff Goldblum).  It’s on Sakaar where our hero meets the Asgardian warrior, Valkyrie (Tessa 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!  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.

Taika Waititi has moved into the director’s chair.  He follows both Kenneth Branagh and Alan Taylor and gives us the best film in the series.  I would wager to even say maybe even all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  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.

Benedict Cumberbatch cameos as Dr. Stephen Strange.  The cameo is an extension of the 2016 mid-credits scene and plays a key role in the film’s plot.  There’s some added humor to the cameo for good measure.

Thor: Ragnarok is 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.  If there are more films to come featuring Thor, they best have Taika Watiti as director!

DIRECTOR:  Taika Watiti
SCREENWRITERS:  Eric Pearson and Craig Kyle & Christopher L. Yost
CAST:  Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban with Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins.

Marvel Studios opened Thor: Ragnarok in theaters on November 3, 2017. The film is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. Grade: 4.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.