Without getting too deeply into it, a number of things have happened in 2017 that might be considered the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. And while we’re all still here, for now, it really is the end of all things for Thor and Asgard in Taika Waititi’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’.
In the God of Thunder’s latest adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, True Believers catch up with him after the events of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ as he ventures back to his homeworld for the first time since ‘Thor: The Dark World’. After he takes care of some family business, Thor then encounters the all-powerful Hela as she tries to take over Asgard. Outgunned and outmanned, Odinson finds himself exiled from his home, stranded well across the universe, and held captive as one of the Grandmaster’s gladiators in the Contest of Champions. But when he’s reunited with a friend and teammate in the form of the Incredible Hulk and some other unlikely allies, the Thunderer is back in the fight against the Goddess of Death as she tries to destroy everything that is near and dear to him and his people.
Going into this movie, one of the biggest things that fans may have been skeptical about was probably the comedy. With Waititi having a strong background in comedy and a unique sense of humor as seen in past projects such as ‘Flight of the Concords’, ‘The Inbetweeners’, and ‘What We Do In The Shadows’, it’s easy to see how some members of the audience might have been apprehensive about the filmmaker from New Zealand making Thor too goofy or quirky. And don’t get me wrong, there were way more butt jokes than anyone could have expected, but that sort of thing wasn’t overdone. There was a nice balance of humor and epic stuff of legend, which is basically what iconic artists like Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson have been doing with Thor from the start.
Here’s the best way I can explain the humor in this film: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is like the cinematic embodiment of “Wouldn’t it be funny if…?”. Whether it’s Thor trying Black Widow’s “lullaby” on Hulk to calm him down or Bruce Banner face planting because he didn’t transform quick enough as he jumps into battle, there are a ton of these scenarios in the film that you’d joke about with your friends because you wouldn’t expect them to be in there. Then BOOM you’re pleasantly surprised because those gags are actually there. Too many moments like this could get corny, but again, the director keeps things balanced since he follows up things like that with a bad ass fight scene or important character moments.
Another way to put it is that ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is the ‘Iron Man’ of the Thor franchise. In the same way that Jon Favreau’s 2007 film surprised moviegoers that were used to dark and brooding superhero movies, Taika Waititi and the combined writing talents of Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost surprised everyone that thought that they knew what to expect from a Thor movie. Even though Kenneth Branagh and Alan Taylor both made excellent contributions to the MCU’s version of the God of Thunder, this outing seemed more akin to the comic book version than anything that came before it thanks to the bright colors, exciting action, and a bit of levity.
And on top of everything else that he did to really kickstart a new beginning for Thor, Waititi also starred as the breakout character of the movie. We could definitely go on about how Chris Hemsworth has truly captured the essence of Thor or how Tom Hiddleston’s mischievous Loki flawlessly transitions from endearing to sinister at the drop of a hat or how newcomers Jeff Goldblum, Cate Blanchett, and Tessa Thompson are all incredible additions to the MCU. However, above all that, you can’t help but walk out of the theater and demand more Korg. Along with his insectoid companion Miek, the soft-spoken gladiator and revolutionary ranks alongside Dum Dum Duggan, Edwin Jarvis, Happy Hogan, the Warriors Three, and Foggy Nelson as ancillary MCU characters that give the audience heart eyes. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has mentioned that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Thor and Hulk’s war-bound compatriots, so here’s hoping that Korg and Miek pop up sooner rather than later.
At this point, if you’ve been paying attention to this review, then you could probably guess that one word that could be used to describe ‘Thor: Ragnarok’: surprise. Not only did a number of surprising things happen in the plot that will most definitely affect the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but director Taika Waititi really stepped up and surprised the audience with bold and colorful cinematography, exciting and eye-catching fight scenes, hysterical cameos, and delightful Easter eggs for the eagle-eyed True Believer. Although aside from being surprising, it’s just overall delightful and probably one of the most fun films that the House of Ideas has to offer in their filmography so far. And when you do venture out to see it, be sure to see it on the biggest screen your realm has to offer as its cinematic treasures contained within have no rival.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, and Jeff Goldblum strikes theaters on November 3, 2017.