It’s main event time! Thor: Ragnarok, the third installment in Marvel’s Thor storyline, was released last weekend. It’s been called the best Thor film to date by critics and viewers alike and has received surprising rave reviews. But can the Asgardian-centric franchise, which began in 2011, compare to fresher, wittier, and more daring space epics like Guardians of the Galaxy?
*spoiler-ish content ahead*
The answer is YES. A thousand times, yes.
It’s rare for me to leave at the end of a movie and immediately want to turn around and watch it again. It’s happened a few times, like with Wonder Woman, but it’s not often that I find something that is not only thoroughly entertaining but also meaningful. Thor: Ragnarok deals with death and the potential annihilation of an entire civilization; it tackles psychological trauma and identity crises; and all the while, it manages to make you laugh.
In this installment, we find a funnier, more well-rounded Thor. He’s grown into himself as an explorer and hero, leaving Earthly entanglements behind in pursuit of the infinity stones. During his quest he finds himself in the position to prevent the foretold tragedy of Ragnarok, an event said to destroy Asgard and all Asgardians. He returns to Asgard to tell Odin of his conquest, only to realize that Odin’s not exactly home. Remember how Loki took over by masquerading as Odin at the end of Thor: The Dark World? And how everyone thought Loki was dead? Yeah. This discovery launches our God of Thunder into a series of adventures that begins with a search for his father and ends with his imprisonment as a gladiator in the service of Jeff Goldblum, aka the Grandmaster. And that’s only the beginning!
As with any good superhero film worth its salt, we have multiple villainous characters leading us up to the Boss (aka the badass and beautiful Hela, played stunningly by Cate Blanchett). But unlike previous Thor films, this one is flashier, more colorful, and takes daring risks such as cutting off Thor’s trademark hair, destroying his beloved hammer, and shedding the costume he’s worn during the last four films in which he’s appeared. The music and the overall aesthetic is definitely 80s (Immigrant Song, anyone? Tony Stark would love it.)
The risks pay off. Director Taika Waititi managed what I didn’t think was possible—a sequel more enjoyable than the original. From the witty script (that isn’t afraid to make blatant jokes about the size of the Hulk’s penis) to the flawless editing to the amazing score, the film gives us a version of Ragnarok that fits right into the path of the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War without being too serious. In Hela, we are given a female villain who doesn’t use her wiles to get what she wants—she’s just f*cking powerful. Hemsworth, Hiddleston, and Ruffalo all deliver beautifully, each finding new ways to explore their respective characters. Not to mention, our host of new characters is a complete joy to experience: Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), and Korg (Taika Waititi) in particular.
Do you love comics? Watch this film. Do you love Thor? Watch this film. Do you need a laugh because the world’s suckage meter keeps getting worse? Watch this film, and rejoice in Marvel’s new level of awesomeness. Didn’t think they could raise the bar? They have.
Oh, and stay for the credits. You won’t regret it.
Until next time,
The Collected Mutineer
P.S. You didn’t think I’d write a Thor review and not include Loki gifs, did you?
P.P.S. And don’t forget everyone’s first nerd crush.