Did you think “This movie needs more abs…” when you were watching Guardians of the Galaxy? Then the new Marvel Cinematic Universe installment and third Thor film will be right up your alley.
From director Taika Waititi, who also helmed the hilarious and under-seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople last year, Thor: Ragnarok is a lot funnier than it probably should be, given that the subject of the film is about pretty sad things (genocide, parents dying, etc.). The “ragnarok” in question refers to the predicted total destruction of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) home planet Asgard, but as is wont to happen in sci-fi and fantasy, prophecies are tricky creatures.
Moviegoers know the drill when it comes to the MCU by now. There’s the larger story about the Avengers and the Infinity Stones and archvillain Thanos, but we get to have more screentime with Thor and his missing friend and fellow Avenger, The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). As mentioned, the proceedings are peppered with humor from the very beginning, even as our heroes are in grave danger. There’s also the fantastic spectacle we’ve come to expect, but even the bigger battles feel much more personal than usual. There’s no Iron Man to show us the birds-eye view, so we’re largely on the ground as Thor & Co. battle mostly human-sized foes.
With Waititi, who also voices a comic-relief character that might replace Groot as your favorite non-human inanimate object come to life, we get a fresh voice in this long and complicated multi-film narrative. It’s a compliment to compare it to the levity of Guardians Vol. 1, but it has its own infusion of humor and tone. Hemsworth gets to show off his sculpted chest and abs befitting a god, but he also gets to show off his comedy chops (as does hilarious supporting player Jeff Goldblum). Heck, even Ruffalo gets to have some comedic moments. Cate Blanchett is almost chewing the scenery as long-lost sister to Thor and Loki, but her role as the Goddess of Death brings some peril to the proceedings and raises the stakes appropriately for our heroes. She’s a cautionary tale of sorts, what happens when ambition for power and glory dwarfs reason and fairness. This isn’t uncommon in this universe, and we should expect to see more of these themes in future films.
There’s easter eggs aplenty, and lots of setup for the next installments to come in between the comedy and action moments. Watching these Marvel films is a bit like tuning into your favorite weekly TV show: you are excited to see it, but you know you won’t get much resolution with each episode. We’re along for their ride, especially with an installment that’s clearly having a hoot.
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Eric Pearson and Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost (screenplay), Stan Lee & Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby (based on the Marvel comic book by)
Runtime: 2h 10mins
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Main Image Credit: Courtesy Marvel Studios