Thor Ragnarok Review

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The third movie focusing on Thor is here, and unlike the last two, this one is aiming to be highly praised.

Story

Thor Ragnarok is the third movie to feature Thor as the main character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the first one to not have the focus of the movie take place on Earth – instead the greater majority of screen time is spent in other places of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Following the events of Avengers Age of Ultron, Thor is on a quest to prevent Ragnarok which he saw while trying to find answers on the Infinity Stones. Ragnarok being the end of Asgard, and Thor believes he has prevented Ragnarok from occurring until Hela is released and begins to wreak havoc on Asgard and in the process throwing Thor into space where he lands on the planet of Sakaar.

This is where most of the movie takes place, and the big events unfold. On Sakaar, Thor is taken as a prisoner by Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) forced to fight in Contest of Champions, where he is put up against the champion of the games, Hulk. Since the events of Age of Ultron, Hulk has managed to prevent himself from turning back to Bruce Banner and has been living his dream of being able to destroy opponents the Grand Master throws at him. Along with Hulk, a member of the Asgardian Valkyrie (protectors of Asgard thought to be wiped out) also lives on the planet as a scrapper. Loki is also on the planet after landing there himself, though he befriends the Grand Master and is not required to play in the Contest of Champions. It is up to Thor to find a way off the planet of Sakaar, hopefully band a team together that can help him get back to Asgard and stop Hela from taking over.

While the movie does go from place to place and have a lot going on, it is still impressively easy to follow. The film even has multiple plots that are going on, and it gives an equal amount of time to all of them, from Thor trying to prevent Ragnarok, the explanation of Hulk, the relationship between Thor and Loki, and then Hela’s torment of Asgard. It all gets the time it needs to bring about the problem and none of the plot lines feel rushed or forgotten throughout the film. The way the plot progresses is amazingly smooth as well, with scenes paced perfectly so they don’t overstay their welcome. Near the beginning of the movie Thor finds out that Loki has been posing as Odin, and when Thor joins the scene, he understands what is going on right away, deals with the problem, and they are off on the next plot thread of finding Odin.

The humor in this movie is on point. While not every joke lands, it is a fair estimate to say there will be more hits than misses for nearly every crowd going to see this movie. There is something for everyone, whether it’s in your face jokes, subtle humor, background aesthetic gags, or puns. This movie goes full range with comedy. The first two Thor movies I did not remember as being as comedic as this one, but it was a very welcome change that the movie grabs onto and embraces in a good way. Nearly every character gets a good laugh in, and the movie even throws some unexpected turns in that will have you bursting into laughter at the unpredictability of the movie.


Acting

This movie has some big names attached to its cast with Cate Blanchett as Hela, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Taika Waititi as Korg. On top of that, you have Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk from previous movies. New or old cast members, everyone blows their performance out of the water on this one.

While it should be a given, Chris Hemsworth as Thor continues to be the perfect casting for Thor. In this movie, it shows that he has a love for this character and the part as he knocks every scene he is in out of the water. He touches the emotions for the movie perfectly and plays the overly cocky God of Thunder exactly how we want to see him on the big screen nailing every line he is given. We have Tom Hiddleston who continues to play the Loki we love and hate at the same time. His performance is on par with what you have come to expect with him as Loki.

When it comes to the new members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe though the big two that pull off performances that need applause are Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Taika Waititi as Korg. Let’s start with Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, who is the best female protagonist the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten so far. Tessa brings this new character to life and I want to see her appear in future films for sure as she plays the emotionally heavy character of Valkyrie. She manages to grasp the emotions of the character in every scene, and even during the aloof scenes she stays true to character. Whether she is fighting, drinking, or being friendly with Hulk she feels like the same person the whole movie keeping her same attitude.

Then for Taika Waititi, even though he only voices Korg, the timing of his lines and the tone deadpan way he tells jokes brings this character to the forefront of the movie very quickly. Easily having some of my favorite lines in the movie, he comes off as a serious character with a heavy dose of sarcasm in his voice. While trying to describe his character it almost feels like Drax from the first Guardians of the Galaxy, but he understands the jokes he makes and even laughs at his own quips in the movie, adding to his character.


Character Development

Character development in this movie mostly focuses on Thor and Loki, with Valkyrie and Hulk getting a little bit of their own in the process. After the events of the previous two Thor movies and the first Avengers movie, Thor and Loki do not have a great relationship with each other, though Thor gives Loki every chance possible to redeem himself. After the events of Thor Dark World, Thor is now realizing there is no hope for getting the brother he knew before back. They get some good development in the movie through this, with Loki especially getting the idea to not only think of himself throughout the entire film.

Most of the movie focuses on Thor as he must deal with the fact that he has lost his trusty hammer Mjölnir. Without Mjölnir, Thor seems himself as powerless and must come to terms with the fact his trusty hammer is gone and that he needs to find a way to be Thor without it. This leads to some great action scenes and even a couple laughs as Thor grows into the God of Thunder he is.

Surprisingly, we see quite a bit of development from Hulk and Bruce Banner in this movie. With Hulk staying in his form for the last two years and fighting Banner for control, he finally loses it in the movie and turns back to Bruce Banner where his character gets the most development out of all the previous movies. Hulk has been fighting the entire time from losing control and turning back into Bruce, who he hates, and manages to fight it off for two whole years keeping Bruce locked away. When Bruce does gain control again, he is more fearful of turning into the Hulk than ever, feeling that should the Hulk take control again, Bruce will never come back.

This brings a new thought to his character, as before we would see Bruce trying to keep himself from becoming the Hulk in fear of hurting people, but now he is afraid of turning into the Hulk because he may never come back. On the flip side, Hulk has always felt contained inside Bruce and when he has a chance to take control he fights desperately to stay that way. Hulk hates turning back to Bruce, and it’s made clear in this movie that Hulk wants to just stay himself and no longer be the trump card in missions of the Avengers anymore. We never have seen this side of the Hulk/Bruce relationship before, where they now both fear each other and who has control of their body. This is something that I hope is explored in further movies featuring the Hulk.


Effects

This is by far the most beautiful Marvel movie to date, and that’s with Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in mind. The team who made the sets and worlds for this movie took a note from the vibrant colors used in both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, and transferred it to this movie seamlessly bringing these new planets in the movie to life. Even with the CG being very heavily used in this movie, it looks great and feels as real as can be on the screen.

Everything in this movie is a sight to see, and I can’t wait to see it again to catch the visuals I missed the first time. Just the world of Sakaar alone is very detailed as a planet full of different alien species who have been outcast and found their new home (even though not all of them want to be there). Every place is distinct and easy to tell apart from other locations in the movie, and characters all have their distinct looks that make them easy to pick out from one another as well. The level of detail that went into this movie is astounding and deserves a good note of recognition.

Then with the Hulk being in this movie, and mostly as the Hulk and not Bruce Banner, the detail put into this shows, as this is the best Hulk has ever looked in a movie and I can’t imagine it will get any better than here. Overall the level of detail put into all the CGI characters in this movie is great, with Korg being another character who almost looks entirely real in this movie with the effects used. The way he and the Hulk move show that a level of detail was put into how these characters would move in this world with their bulkier builds and it feels like they have true weight to them that transfers to everything they do in the movie. It’s the perfect example of CGI done right.

I will say the RealD 3D did not add much to this movie though. With the movie taking place on other worlds, it didn’t use the 3D to its fullest. Movies revolving around space and exploration are the best for the RealD 3D experience, but this movie was lackluster in that department. If you plan to see this movie, a regular showing will do you fine unless you are a huge fan of wearing 3D glasses while at the theater or at home.


Enjoyment

This movie is exactly what I want from future movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has a great cast of characters, introduces new characters to the world that grow on you throughout the movie, introduces new development for the characters we knew before, and is extremely entertaining. Throughout the entire movie there isn’t a dull scene or a part of the movie that feel out of place, keeping you enthralled in this world from start to finish. While the previous two Thor movies did not get very much praise, this one is sure to be making the top Marvel movies lists in the future.

Everything from the plot, the subplots, the characters, the effects, and even the jokes will be highly remembered in this movie and it will take a lot to top this movie in a future installment of Thor. The previous Thor movies lacked on characters and tried to be too dark, and these problems were fixed in this movie by a landslide that will get high praise from fans of Marvel and movies in general. Even for people who have not been keeping up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe or even the previous Thor movies, this movie is easy to jump into and enjoy as long as you understand the basic concepts of Thor and Hulk. The movie does a good job of explaining what is happening without too much exposition to convey the plot to the audience.


Final Thoughts

I went into Thor Ragnarok with high expectations, as it had basically everything I wanted in it. A buddy story between Hulk and Thor, building on the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, and loosely basing a subplot of the movie on the Planet Hulk storyline I loved from the comics. This movie took my already high expectations and blew them out of the water in such glorious fashion I can’t wait to go back to the theater when it releases and see it again. Thor Ragnarok is going to be easily making it onto my Top 5 Marvel movies list, and is most definitely in the running for one of my top 5 movies of the year. This movie hits every note it aims to hit and then some.

In terms of surprising me, this movie is up there with the original Iron Man and the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. While I didn’t have high expectations for those movies, they both blew me away and made me want to see more, and Thor Ragnarok has now done the same for me for the Thor series of movies. After this film, I can say I will be deeply disappointed if we don’t get a 4th Thor movie or at the very least another Hulk/Thor focused movie.

If you are on the fence about seeing this movie, stop and go see this movie. If the trailer even began to pique your interest, or you have enjoyed previous Marvel movies then this movie is made for you. That isn’t to say that general moviegoing audience won’t get the same enjoyment out of this movie as it is still an easy to follow movie for all audiences to enjoy.