In our spoiler-free THOR: RAGNAROK review we find the Norse End of Days is full of laughs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. THOR: RAGNAROK opens with our Asgardian hero in captivity by the giant looming demon Surtur, which leads to major laughs! And that sets the tone very quickly for this third installment of the THOR stand-alone films which opens November 3rd. THOR: DARK WORLD may have been too dark, so this time around we are given a comedy to rival Guardians Of The Galaxy in humor, and that speaks volumes. Continue reading for our full THOR: RAGNAROK review.
The Mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself searching for his dad, Odin. On his way he ends up in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), in a not so civil war. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization. This total destruction is called Ragnarok. Along the way Thor encounters Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and the ever-troublesome Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
The quirky nature of THOR: RAGNORAK is brought to life by director Taika Waititi. He balances huge action scenes with moments of relatable interaction giving each character much more dimension. As been highlighted in all the trailers, Thor and Hulk start off in battle with each other to the enjoyment of the arena full of spectators who are all cheering for the big green guy. From here the film turns into a buddy movie which forces Hulk to have more personality and more vocabulary than we’ve ever seen from him before.
Cate Blanchett is wicked as Thor’s long-lost older sister who rivals his powers as evident when she single-handily crushes his mighty hammer into dust. Without his weapon of choice where does that leave our hero? For one thing, in a partnership with Loki, his mischievous half-brother. While having many humorous moments in past Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Tom Hiddleston is careful about not over-playing his part. He says so much with a side-glance or just a smirk. There is a great scene where he and Thor meet with another Marvel hero, which I won’t reveal here, but it is a very strange side venture.
Jeff Goldblum joins the cast as Mr. Fun or as he’s called here, The Grandmaster. He’s the one the one that originally pits Thor against the Hulk to entertain the people of his trash planet. This role is not much of a stretch for him as he plays this character in a very Goldblum-esque way with just a little more flamboyance. Still, he’s as enjoyable to watch as when he played Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park.
A new addition to the cast of characters was that of Valkyrie. If you’re familiar with Classical Music, you may have heard of Wagner’s most well-known piece of music, “Ride of the Valkyries.” The piece comes from Wagner’s Ring Cycle, depicting the battle cry of eight Valkyrie sisters as they transport fallen heroes to Valhalla. Tessa Thompson plays Valkyrie, a fallen sister who found a new groove as a bounty hunter. While she may have been one-too many characters added to the story, it felt like Marvel needed to bring in a female to the cast. I would have liked to have seen her join Thor earlier on and give Loki more of a backseat.
THOR: RAGNAROK’s soundtrack stems from Waititi’s initial pitch, in which he used Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” The full version plays for a key action sequence. The inclusion of the song with a strong 70’s vibe as played in the trailer definitely helped sell it to audiences as a potential Guardians Of Galaxy-type film. And I would say it worked. On top of that, composer Mark Mothersbaugh (former Devo frontman) reaches back to those 80’s roots with synthesizers and drum sets. It rocks.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe set their tone from the beginning with 2008’s IRON MAN. As serious and heavy as stories have been in their comic book form, the films always had a “let’s just have fun with it” while still giving respect to their source material. THOR: RAGNAROCK may have tried to be more humorous than it should, but it worked. I just hope Thor returns to his natural self in next summer’s hero collective, INFINITY WAR, or he might get lost among Ant-Man, Spider-Man and the Guardians. THOR: RAGNAROCK is a departure from the series for better or worse, but either way you will have a great time!