Taika Waititi has proven to be a capable and innovative director. His medium of choice is comedy, and he paints the canvas with it masterfully. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) is full of Waititi’s style, and he brings the comedy out of the entire cast. This film is a blast and yet, while this style almost works completely, there are still some issues. Nevertheless, there is no doubt this is the best Thor film of the three.
Thor: Ragnarok let’s Waititi’s comedic style shine
Ragnarok wants you to know right away that it’s not like the other films. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is locked in a cage and is narrating his situation to an unknown listener. The reveal of his cellmate is funny, but he’s suddenly dropped and dangling by a long chain in front of a fiery demon named Surtur (Clancy Brown). The two begin to converse about the end of Asgard, but this serious dialogue is disrupted when Thor’s chains cause him to rotate and lose eye contact with the creature. The scene definitely establishes the tone the film will take; a much more fun, humorous version of the God of Thunder.
The comedy isn’t just from Thor, though. His interactions with Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Hulk and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) demonstrate the wealth of comedic talent in this film. The Grandmaster is Goldblum at his most wacky and awkward – and it is amazing. When Thor and Hulk finally get to their gladiator battle highlight in the trailers, Loki and the Grandmaster get to add their comedic moments in some great ways. The look on Loki’s face when Hulk shows up will reward any longtime fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is full of great comedic moments and some decent action. One surprise character was Korg (Waititi) who gets some great lines in the film. He’s a gladiator who fills Thor in on the Grandmaster’s games. If there is a moment where a funny line can fit, it’s likely that Korg will be the one to say it.
There are some issues with the film. Hela (Cate Blanchett) isn’t a bad villain. However, she isn’t a compelling villain either, despite Blanchett’s efforts and talent. She suffers from the “destroy it all” cliché motive that many of the Marvel villains have been written. Red Skull, Ego, Ronan, and Obadiah Stane – just to name a few – are all forgettable and bland. Loki is by far the most interesting of the villains, and, while he is a pleasant addition to this film, his presence detracts from Hela. There is also a few issues in the third act. The specifics will be avoided here, as it’s too early to discuss spoilers. There is definitely a deus ex machina moment that helps a character at a key moment. It’s not as bad as some of the other third act issues, but it’s definitely not as strong as the rest of the film.
Despite some of the issues, Thor: Ragnarok is a lot of fun and one of the strongest entries in the MCU. While it’s not as important story-wise as some of the Captain America films or the Avengers, this film is a pure joy to watch. Ragnarok earns the Must See rating.