‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Movie Review: Three’s a charm for Marvel’s God of Thunder

*Minor Spoilers Ahead*

It is no secret that the “Thor” franchise hasn’t performed quite as well as “Iron Man” or “Captain America” series. Known for its dark color scheme and more grim backdrop, the Marvel sub-franchise has tapped “What We Do In The Shadows” director Taika Waititi to breath new fresh air in the series.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in ‘Thor: Raganarok’
Chris Hemsworth as Thor in ‘Thor: Raganarok’/Marvel Studios
The Kiwi filmmaker’s vision for “Thor: Ragnarok” seems to have renewed people’s interest in the God of Thunder, with his quirky sense of humor and vivid visual style -- reminiscent of Jack Kirby’s trippy comic book spreads. Aside from its aesthetics, there is also noticeable tone shift making Thor a lot less uptight-looking, perfectly encapsulating the levity the MCU films have always been known for.

The God of Thunder’s third solo outing will subject Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the rest of Asgard under its most dangerous and formidable foe in Hela (Cate Blanchett). As the Goddess of Death starts her take-over of the demigod’s home planet, he has to resort to his own capabilities, unfortunately, without the help of his trustee hammer, the Mjolnir, to save his kingdom and its people. Luckily, the Asgardian prince will find support from his newly recruited team made up of old Avengers pal Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), franchise newbie Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and even his conniving brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Cate Blanchett as Hela in ‘Thor: Raganarok’
Cate Blanchett as Hela in ‘Thor: Raganarok’/Marvel Studios
If anything, Waititi’s voice in “Thor: Ragnarok” seems to be front and center -- something that it is not really usual to hear from a Marvel movie. The risk have and that is the good thing in terms of changing things up and trying new ways of storytelling to keep fans interested. Hemsworth himself said that it was a conscious decision on his part to offer something fresh to Thor’s followers. But it was not all fun and games, the film still needed to play within the Marvel sandbox and contribute to the narrative arc that the franchise has been treading since 2008’s “Iron Man.” The result is a hero’s journey to self-rediscovery with a perfect mix of comedic genius and MCU tropes.

Despite valiant efforts to deviate from the norm, “Ragnarok” still suffers some of the franchise’s recurring problem, but its deemed acceptable due to the fact that folks behind it tried to course correct themselves via the movie. For instance, Marvel has always had villain problems, and while Hela is far from a multi-dimensional antagonist, she is a step-up from Thor’s old foes including the forgettable Malekith. Still, it would not have hurt for the film to shed a bit more of light regarding her motivations where people actually think twice if there is an angle that her actions can be justified. Good thing, Waititi took an unexpected route that will presumably have huge impacts on the franchise moving forward.

Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Tom Hiddleston as Loki in ‘Thor: Raganarok’/Marvel Studios
The threequel may be far-removed from the bigger MCU (Waititi shares that it was intentional), but it will have repercussions in next year’s much-anticipated “Avengers: Infinity War.” For starters, Odinson will be the link between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and their cosmic counterparts -- the Guardians of the Galaxy.

For Marvel’s most loyal supporters, “Thor: Ragnarok” is an exhilarating experience at the cinema -- with its callbacks that do not only serve Thor, but Hulk and even Loki, as well. As for the casual movie-going audience, the film still offers a great time, with its brand of humor that works for almost everyone.

Watch full trailer here:

— ALD, The Summit Express

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