The standalone Thor movies have been pretty polarizing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor: The First Thor was pretty good, but most of the fans that I know rank Thor: The Dark World on the absolute bottom of the MCU list. Personally, I didn’t hate it, but I did find it kinda lackluster when compared to the rest of the pantheon of fantastic comic book films we’ve seen so far. And let’s face it… With 17 movies in the MCU now, (SEVENTEEN!!) there has to be a clunker or two, right?
Enter Thor: Ragnarok. Helmed by Flight of the Conchords & What We Do in the Shadows director Taika Waititi, it’s the first MCU film that lets Chris Hemsworth really go all in on this version of the God of Thunder. It’s also CRAZY funny, which is not really a surprise if you’re familiar at all with Taika Waititi’s work.
Quick Sidebar: If you haven’t seen What We Do in the Shadows or Hunt for the Wilderpeople, check them out as soon as you have a chance. They’re wonderful.
Like most of the MCU movies these days, it does take for granted that you’ve seen the previous entries in the series. Notably, the first two Thor standalones, as well as the two Avengers movies. At the end of Age of Ultron, Thor heads off to find the Infinity Stones & Hulk takes off in a Quinjet bound for space, while Cap & Iron Man head into Civil War. Odin is missing after the events of The Dark World, while Loki has taken his place after faking his death. Finally, Doctor Strange has taken up residence at the Sanctum Santorum in New York City. This is where we begin at the opening of Ragnarok.
Now, I’m going to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but I am going off of the assumption that you’ve seen the first trailer at the very least.
Thor finds himself hammerless & stranded on a garbage planet, alongside The Hulk, Loki, and Valkyrie. They team up to defend Asgard against Hela, the Goddess of Death, and to prevent “Ragnarok,” the prophesied destruction of their home. Hijinks ensue.
All in all, it’s an absolutely delightful movie. From the very first moments to the final post-credit stinger, it’s both hilariously funny and action packed. Any movie that uses Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” not once, but TWICE during fight scenes is all right by me. Watching Thor & Hulk battle it out is always a good time, and the addition of all the new characters makes it even better.
Taika Waititi provides the voice of Korg, who is one of my favorite of those new characters, while Dredd alum Karl Urban takes the role of Skurge. Jeff Goldblum portrays The Grandmaster, brother to Benicio Del Toro’s character The Collector in the Guardians movies, Tessa Thompson plays Valkyrie, and Cate Blanchett is Hela, the Goddess of Death.
Everything about this movie was good for me. Seeing Thor make his way without his hammer, Hulk being able to talk, both Hela & Valkyrie being absolute badasses… Man, it was just really great. There’s one part of a chase scene where the line “it’s my birthday” is shouted, and I laugh EVERY time I think about it.
Jeff Goldblum absolutely nails it as The Grandmaster, while Cate Blanchett’s Hela owns every scene she’s in. It’s truly fantastic watching them work, and it’s clear that they really love what they’re doing.
Go see this movie. Even if you’re a little burnt out on Superhero movies, or the MCU, or you didn’t like the first two Thor flicks, go see it. You’ll laugh, and I am pretty sure you’ll like it almost as much as I did.