Action, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchette, Chris Hemsworth, Comedy, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Superhero movies, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson, Thor: Ragnarok, Tom Hiddleston
If you took the crazy ’80s sci-fi opera of Flash Gordon, the self serious epicness of Highlander, and the brilliant comedic mind of director Taika Waititi, then you get Thor: Ragnarok, one of the craziest and must gleefully weird movies that Marvel has ever made. The third installment strips away the world of the Thor franchise, fueling Taika Waititi’s genius world building and attention to detail to create a gloriously silly and fun space adventure. The film works because of Waititi’s style, which while overtly comedic, is completely imaginative in each sequence and location.
When the villainous Hela (Cate Blanchette) threatens Asgard, the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is jettisoned to the far reaches of space and forced to fight his way back to save his people. At this point, Hemsworth has embraced the comedic elements of the character, and made the character in on the joke of his own inherent goofiness. Appearances by Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/ The Incredible Hulk and Tom Hiddelston as Loki add additional comedic banter, and while the film’s characters have strong emotional ties that are built up by previous films, Ragnarok‘s goal is to entertain, and the comedy here comes first.
It’s many of the film’s new characters that add the most, and none more so than Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster, the leader of a gladiatorial combat society. Goldblum is absorbed in the film’s ridiculous nature, and while his performance may not differ very much from his offscreen persona, he’s one the best parts of the film. The addition of Tessa Thompson as an ally of Thor’s is also a strength of the film, as Thompson instantly fits in with the previously established banter between the characters. While the character of Hela is not a very complex one, it’s improved by Blanchette’s very theatrical performance.
Thor: Ragnarok could easily be criticized for it’s formulaic story, or it’s lack of consistent character beats, but what Taika Waititi recognizes is the type of film this is suppose to be. It’s a Saturday morning cartoon, continuously bringing ingenuity and adventure to the screen and never letting the audience take a moment to breathe. It’s a fun, weird, and consistently memorable film that ranks among the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and perhaps one of the best the genre has ever offered. Grade: A