Movie Review: “Thor: Ragnarok” Is The Funniest Marvel Movie Yet

“This comic-based movie is an actual comedic movie. We should all stand and clap for Taika Waititi, the director, because now the serious has a funny bone to hold it up.”


 

Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

The new Thor movie is here. At first, I watched the Thor series because Chris Hemsworth is beautiful. Also, I happen to love superhero movies. What’s better than a golden-haired guy with a giant hammer? The only other guy who manages to look manly with long golden locks is Orlando Bloom as Legolas, and this movie is much easier to watch than “The Lord of the Rings.” This comic-based movie is an actual comedic movie. We should all stand and clap for Taika Waititi, the director, because now the serious has a funny bone to hold it up.

In the first scene, when we are introduced to Thor, dangling from a chain and talking to a giant fire dude with a tiara, the humor threw me off. The other two “Thor” films managed a meager portion of laughs and this one hit home run after home run, of course, I was taken aback, I expected a serious film with visitation rights to the more comedic variations of Marvel, such as “Galaxy of the Guardians” or even “The Avengers.” Yet Thor seems to have finally found his natural form, making us laugh. Thor’s human side was on full display as he knocked things over and made a fool of himself in many, many ways, much to our enjoyment.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the other deserved star of the show, is equally amusing. The writers (Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost) managed to paint the god of mischief perfectly, aka mischievous. Tom Hiddleston’s character didn’t come off whiny as he did in the previous films, which is great because Thor needs a lot of help this time, what with becoming a klutz and realizing he is not perfect. A few cameos added to the fun times. Even better was Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who manages to annoy the snot out of Loki. The warlock’s part could have been expanded but was enjoyable either way. The writers chose to focus more on Hulk and his alter ego Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo).

Let’s talk about the plot. It’s pretty cut and paste when it comes to the bad guy, or in this case, girl. Hela (Cate Blanchett), a villain from Asgard’s past, shows up to antagonize Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor, and Loki, because, of course, she believes she is the heir to the throne. Cate Blanchett plays this subpar character who is the only downfall to this otherwise epically hilarious movie. Why did they have to try an make her look goth? Was the headdress meant to make her look like Medusa? Moving on, Hela forces Thor and Loki out with a swipe of her hand, leaving herself to rule over Odin’s kingdom. She even destroys Thor’s hammer, like it was a pea. What a blow to Thor’s ego. He takes many hits to his self-esteem, in a self-deprecating way.

The brothers don’t die though, they end up in a different world, Sakaar, with Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster. A techie planet no less, not Thor’s strong suit. Give him a goblet and a sword, not a high tech weapon. Thor is brought in by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), the resident bad girl in charge of bringing competitors for the Grandmaster’s quirky competitions against his champion for their freedom. Most who arrive on the planet, including Loki, who drops in like a puzzle piece, are happy with the festive lifestyle. Thor, however, has a planet to save. With the help of Banner, Loki, Valkyrie, and a rock man named Korg (the infamous Taika Waititi served as the voice), the group fight their way out of the strange ’80s reminiscent planet to free Asgard from the Hela’s grip.

Let’s go back to Valkyrie for a moment. Painted as a drunk, running from her past, Valkyrie stays on the new planet Sakaar, because life is better there for her than her home is. Sorry, can’t spoil where home is for this tough gal. Let’s just say she is a warrior and then came an enemy her army couldn’t defeat. She brings a whole lot of seriousness and even more attitude to our caped crusader. Poor Thor already has to deal with Loki betraying him yet again, not to mention his break-up with Jane (Natalie Portman, does not appear in this installment), and trying to save his world yet again. He doesn’t need to deal with a woman drinking her problems away and a giant chip on her shoulder. I was not impressed with the two main women in this episode. The writers wrote the man with ease, but the woman was ridiculous. We expect tight costumes, we expect the women to be strong, but neither women had any attributes worthy of screen time. Next time, the writers might want to add a woman to their room for a little feminine authenticity.

Back to the beautiful blonde. Thor has a new ability, befitting his godhood. I cannot remember him displaying the ability to harness lightning and bending it to his whim in the previous films. He is the god of thunder, so it’s about time they brought this in, but this awesome new power is underutilized. Thor was not mature enough before, for this extra power to manifest, he is used to being a hero, to saving the world, being invincible. Ragnarok manages to teach Thor that he is destructible and knocks his ego down a few notches. He learns to be a hero and that having a few abilities is not enough.

Thor saves the world in the first two movies, not the case in the third. Hela is too strong for Thor, even with his ambitious team. Losing his hammer was a blow, Thor was down but not out. He learns how to be a king, that his goal as a leader requires him to focus on the people and not his own invincibility.

I could not give the movie five stars, even though it is easily the best of the “Thor” movies and maybe even “The Avengers” flicks. The women were not written well. Something was missing. At first, I was frustrated with the mix of characters, Hulk and Dr. Strange but those aspects worked so well and helped Thor to grow. No one should be denied a friend or two in their time of need. I do not want to give away any spoilers, but one of the other issues was the lack of screen time for Odin. I love when he lectures his boys. They both need a good talking to on a regular basis. The other issue was the ending. A prophecy barely mentioned overwhelms Asgard but the perpetrator was already taken down. The massive humor and growth of the characters overrode these issues though, and the movie will go down in history as a success.

In theaters Friday, November 3rd


 

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