In my opinion, the Thor movies are the worst of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. The first Thor was enjoyable but unimportant overall and boring by comparison to pretty much all the other origin stories in the MCU. The second Thor, Thor: The Dark World, is widely considered to be even worse. I personally like it, but not much. Overall, Thor just isn’t an interesting character to me. He doesn’t have the attitude of Tony Stark, the complexity of Bruce Banner, or the genuine likability of Steve Rogers. He’s just… Thor. I think this is why Loki is so necessary for the Thor movies. Loki is an interesting character and some of the best and most memorable moments from the first two Thor movies are scenes where Loki is involved.
This is exactly how I thought about the Thor films before seeing the first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that that trailer changed everything about my perception of Thor. Suddenly Thor was funny, and badass, and I was hyped for the movie. That hype, it turns out, was warranted.
Thor: Ragnarok is awesome. Pure and simple. It is awesome, action packed, and funny as hell. Honestly, at the end of the day, that’s what you should take away from this review. Go see Thor: Ragnarok. It’s a purely enjoyable time.
Of course, it is not without its flaws. It is super fast-paced to a fault, which sometimes is really appreciated but other times hurts the more emotional moments. I usually prefer a varied pace with movies, but Thor: Ragnarok is all action, all laughs, all the time… and when sad stuff DOES happen (Which it does. There is a lot of death in this one) it kind of flies by because well… there’s so many jokes and action sequences.
The movie also is hindered by you NEEDING to see some of the worst MCU movies ahead of time to really appreciate some plot points. This movie has an entire scene that would mean nothing if you haven’t seen Avengers: Age of Ultron. You should also probably have checked out Thor and Thor: The Dark World too, which I’ve already established I don’t really enjoy much either. (I mean they ARE still Marvel movies, so they are still pretty darn enjoyable… just not to the level of most other MCU movies.)
But other than those two major flaws, I have mostly great things to say about Thor: Ragnarok. The characters are all likable. For Loki and Hulk, this shouldn’t be a surprise. They are fan favorites for a reason. Jeff Goldblum basically plays Jeff Goldblum, so that’s a good time. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie is a drunken badass. Taika Waititi’s Korg is adorable. Karl Urban’s Executioner probably could have been improved if his arc was done over the last three movies instead of just this one, but I still think he did the character justice. Especially towards the end of the movie. I’m not saying he has an iconic scene straight from the comics, but… well… that’s basically what I’m saying. Oh, and I don’t think I need to preach the awesomeness that is Idris Elba, but he maintains his status.
And finally Cate Blanchett’s Hela is just a scary badass, and one of the better villains of the MCU so far. Of course this isn’t saying much, but I guess when you have as weak a character as Thor, it’s a blessing he seems to have such solid villains.
But that’s the thing, Thor is AMAZING in this. He’s clever and sarcastic and finally a likable, interesting character. Most of this is due to the very improv-based directing style of the movie, but another part is that Thor’s entire ego basically gets shattered towards the beginning of the film. He loses his hammer. It’s destroyed. This hammer is very clearly shown to be a big source of his fighting power in the beginning of the movie (in a pretty epic fight scene, by the way), and having him lose it leaves him feeling very weakened. Thor may talk a big game after this loss, but he’s rarely able to back up his words throughout the movie and you can see his character forming doubts about his abilities WITHOUT his trusty Mjolnir.
Suddenly, Thor isn’t a god. He’s someone who has fallen from grace and is trying to figure out what to do without the foundations he had been taking for granted. He goes through most of the movie without his power and on top of that, without any friends or family to help him. This makes for a character who has something to earn and something to prove, and with odds getting increasingly stacked against him, it’s a real treat for to see Thor to go through such a growth because of it. We’re not dealing with the cocky arrogant brute from Thor, we’re dealing with a wiser God who wants to better himself not for his ego, but for his people. He grows much nobler and learns a great deal about his own abilities and what his power and potential can truly mean, making some serious sacrifices along the way… which he doesn’t weep for. He simply stands by and accepts.
I won’t get into some of these sacrifices, but I will say that I appreciate the recent MCU movies and how very few of them lately 1. end on a happy note and 2. finish with a simple “Who’s stronger?” fight scene. Sure they end with fight scenes, but a lot of the recent MCU movies end with much more weight and ideals getting challenged than actual fists. Doctor Strange finishes with one character out-maneuvering another, risking his own existence in the process. Captain America: Civil War ends with a brutal beat down, but one that has some major sacrifices and friendships on the line. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has some major sacrifices. Spider-Man: Homecoming ends with Peter trying to save a life instead of trying to win a fight.
And Thor: Ragnarok has a similarly strong finish. It certainly left me speechless.
Finally, I need to touch on my favorite part of the movie, the shot composition. When you watch Thor: Ragnarok, do me a favor. Picture a dot or a small X in the center of the screen. Throughout the entire movie, the main item you should be paying attention to will almost always be smack centered in the screen. It’s amazingly consistent, and it makes for some gorgeous footage. Keep an eye out.
Oh a couple other things to look out for: Thor in the old comics used to carry a cane around and then turn into Thor when he smacked it on the ground. Totally happens in the movie. They also totally explain the Infinity Gauntlet showing up in Thor.
Anyway, please check out Thor: Ragnarok. I wouldn’t say it’s the best MCU movie yet, but it’s definitely in the top 10. Maybe even top 5. Certainly the best Thor movie by far.