Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Taika Waititi
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Javier Aguirresarobe
WRITERS: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost
MUSIC: Mark Mothersbaugh
Two years after the events of “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been searching in vain for Infinity Stones, but he has also been having dreams of Ragnrok, an event that will bring about the end of Asgard. Soon, he returns to find that his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been masquerading as their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). They soon find their father on Earth and he mentions that their sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) will be released soon from her imprisonment.
Hela does return and begins to wreak havoc on Asgard, but not before she destroys Mjolnir and sends Thor and Loki across the galaxy to Sakaar. There, Thor is reunited with Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and they team up with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) in an attempt to take back Asgard from Hela. Throughout it all, though, the movie has plenty of high-end action and a hefty amount of humor in order to tell its story.
Before we get to the good stuff, though, I just want to go ahead and mention the one minor quibble I had with the movie. There are moments where the film could have slowed down just a little in order to convey the drama of the situation a little better. Instead, they almost always go for the laugh in an attempt to not take things too seriously.
Now, beyond that, the movie is superb popcorn entertainment. Also, I should state that I’m way more of a fan of the first two “Thor” films than most and yet even I think that “Ragnarok” is the best one yet. Despite ignoring some of the drama that could have been mined, the fact that the movie leans more into the humor is a benefit to the film overall.
Hemsworth has proven that he has pretty good comedic chops in other films such as 2016’s “Ghostbuster”. Here, he takes full advantage of that and he seems to be having way more of a good time here than in any of the other films. Director Taika Waititi stated that he wanted Thor to have more in common with Jack Burton from “Big Trouble in Little China” this time out and I think that is the best comparison for how Thor is in this movie.
Aside from Hemsworth, though, the other cast members also add something great to the overall film. Hiddleston is always dependable as Loki and every scene he is in, especially the ones with Thor, are definite highlights. It was just good seeing the continuation of these two characters’ stories and how it resolves itself by the film’s climax.
The main villain of this piece, though, is definitely Blanchett as the psychotic goddess of death, Hela. She is absolutely magnetic in all of her scenes and Hela may actually be one of the better villains in the MCU. I know that’s not saying much considering the MCU’s penchant for shortchanging their villains, but Blanchett has plenty to do here and it was a treat to see what she brought to the table.
Other supporting characters are fantastic as well, but I’ll hold off and let you meet them for yourselves, including Korg, a being made entirely of rock. Still, I must point out Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. All I can say is that he is the most Jeff Goldblum that he has ever been and it totally works!
Finally, this is still an action film and what an action film it is. There are several action set pieces that deliver fantastic thrills and visuals, including ship fights, sword fights and plenty of brawls including our favorite god of thunder. The only thing this movie promised us was that it would be spectacular fun. On that note they definitely succeeded, but they have also given us what is undoubtedly the best film in the “Thor” franchise.