In Thor: Ragnarok, Kiwi director and MCU newcomer Taika Waititi breathes new life into the Norse God, resulting in one of Marvel’s best instalments to date.
Highly anticipating the MCU’s newest release Thor: Love and Thunder, or just seen it and can’t get enough of everyone’s favourite Norse God? Well, you’re in the right place, as over here at Loud and Clear Reviews we’re ready to deep-dive back into Thor: Ragnarok, a film that is undoubtedly synonymous with Thor coming into his own. Thor: Ragnarok follows the titular character (played by Chris Hemsworth) and his array of misfit pals as they must race against time to save Asgard from Ragnarok and the callous villain Hela (Cate Blanchett).
Marvel films have often been commended for their perfect balance of action, emotion, and humour, but in Thor’s two previous solo films, particularly Thor: The Dark World, the latter was certainly lacking. Nevertheless, if Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness is the MCU’s horror film, then Thor: Ragnarok is undoubtedly the comedy. This is owed largely to Kiwi director Taika Waititi, best known for titles such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows. Waititi breathes new life into Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, who aids Waititi’s vision with perfect comedy timing and a charming innocence incongruous to his macho physique.
However, Thor: Ragnarok’s success can’t all be credited to Chris Hemsworth’s enthusiastic embodiment of this revolutionised Thor. In his battle against Hela, Thor is far from alone. Ragnarok sees the return of The Hulk/Bruce Banner, who are played charmingly by Mark Ruffalo. As we see Thor evolve on screen, Hulk has appeared to have gone through changes between films after being stuck in his beast form for some time. The results have given him the ability to speak (kind of), and he has a much more defined personality than we’ve ever seen before. Despite his size, these additions to his characterisation liken Hulk to a big, green, toddler who can supply his own series of laughs for the audience. His childlikeness can also be seen in Banner, who like a Bambi on ice, stumbles confusedly around the planet Sakaar.
Ragnarok also introduces MCU newcomer Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) whose past trauma has reduced her to being a raging alcoholic who finds pleasure only in capturing fighters for The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Nevertheless, Ragnarok supplies a redemption arc of Valkyrie’s own, and she soon proves herself to not only be one of the MCU’s most fiercely powerful women, but a fan favourite. And when we’re on the topic of fan favourites, we can’t forget about Korg, a loveable bundle of rocks played by Waititi himself, who seems to be waiting around every corner to supply some more comic relief. Rumour has it that Korg plays a bigger role in Thor: Love and Thunder, and all we’re saying is, those rumours better be true.
Despite Waititi bringing his signature jovial flare to Ragnarok, it’s not all about the comedy. The stakes in Ragnarok are higher than they’ve ever been for Thor, and although the Norse God may have been considered a take-him-or-leave-him kind of Avenger in his previous films, he more than proves himself here. Facing the threat of his world’s destruction, he must look inward to find the strength to make the right choices and unleash a new power that will aid him in doing so. Guided by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and stripped of his luscious golden locks and beloved hammer Mjölnir, we see a different type of Thor, who in battle is stronger and gritter than ever.
Which brings us to Thor: Ragnarok’s weakest leak – Hela. Her inclusion to the narrative feels like a formality, and every time the story careens off to catch up with her antics, we’re left twiddling our thumbs hoping for Thor’s return. This is not a reflection of Cate Blanchett’s performance, as she brings a devilish and mighty air to the goddess of death Hela, but her inclusion just seems tonally out of place amongst all of Ragnarok’s other elements. This is perhaps where we hope Waititi can improve on in Love and Thunder, as although the comedy is gladly received, the narratives of Marvel movies must be spurred on by a high-stakes threat to everything the heroes know and love. In Ragnarok, we know the destruction of Thor’s world was upon him, yet we were much more satisfied watching a pile of rocks tell an illusioned Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to ‘piss off.’
Despite its flaws and that terrible CGI dog (we don’t want to talk about it, OK!), Thor: Ragnarok has not only earnt itself the title of one of the best MCU films released thus far, but also as a vibrant, action- packed comedy that could make even anti-MCU audiences chuckle.
Thor: Ragnarok is now available to watch on Disney Plus.