‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is the God of Thunder’s most electrifying installment

By Jacob Tiranno | November 6th, 2017

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) sports a new cut in Thor: Ragnarok. Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

It’s been nearly a decade since “Iron Man” debuted on the big screen, launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and changing the world of movies as we know it.


Since that time, comic book fans have seen two Avenger films, an Iron Man trilogy, a Captain America trilogy and as of Friday, the third movie in the Thor franchise, “Thor: Ragnarok.”


The new movie follows the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth), who learns his sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), is coming to take reign over Asgard. Unfortunately, he’s being held prisoner on the other side of the universe, and he is seeking the help of an old friend to escape.  


This latest installment is easily the most electrifying film of the trilogy. It’s high-energy, offers a memorable female villain and serves as a hilarious comedy.


That’s right, a comedy! As I’m sure you’ve picked up from the trailers, this Thor movie is changing the direction of the series, and that may be one of its strongest qualities.


The film subtlety reboots the character and the franchise. It strays away from the past two films which had darker tones and a very serious God of Thunder.


“Thor: Ragnarok,” however, jokes about the absurdity of superheroes and cleverly pokes at the idea that all superhero movies need to be dark and gritty *cough* Zack Snyder *cough.*


The drastic change in direction comes from the help of director Taika Waititi. The New Zealand filmmaker is best known for his smaller comedies, such as “Boy,” “What We Do in the Shadows” and last year’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” a movie that made my Top Ten of 2016 list.


Thor has been falling by the wayside as more and more Marvel characters have been getting their time in the spotlight, but Waititi’s style of comedy was exactly what this franchise needed to bring the son of Odin back to the forefront.


Surprisingly, Hemsworth works far better as the charming comedian than the stone-faced hero. Now, don’t get me wrong, when he needs to drop the hammer, it’s no laughing matter. But it’s the moments in between the action that really allow the actor to shine.


The lighter, comedic tone also allows the more emotional moments to hit harder. For example, in a few heavy exchanges between Thor and his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), you can feel the tone change. The mood becomes somber, and it forces the audience to recognize the scene’s significance. It also helps that the two actors, Hiddleston and Hemsworth, have developed a fantastic chemistry since initially working together in 2011.


While on the subject of performances, Blanchett needs to be addressed. Not only does she take on the role of the first female villain in the MCU, but she manages to make the Goddess of Death unforgettable.


One major criticism that the MCU has been subjected to has been their lack of quality villains (Ultron, Ronan the Accuser, Whiplash and “The Mandarin” come to mind), but Blanchett shows it’s possible to create a memorable villain with a confident performance and a well-written character.


“Thor: Ragnarok” is not only the best Thor of the movies series, but it is one of the best films out of the MCU. It’s hard to talk about what makes this installment a stronger achievement without revealing some spoilers, so I’ll do my best to be discreet as possible (but if you’re entirely against knowing anything, it’s time to stop reading).


While this movie is a great and fun time, the ending kind of leaves the audience at a place of defeat. I won’t go into details, but I can’t help but make the connection to “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.”


Like the best movie in the Star Wars franchise, the characters from “Thor: Ragnarok” are left with plenty of obstacles in their path. Thor has gone through some dramatic changes, both psychically and emotionally, and the ending of “Thor: Ragnarok” implies that there are some severe challenges in the road ahead.


Still, I had an amazing time during this 130-minute film, and I’m ready to join Thor on any adventure he takes on.


3.5 out of 4 stars


P.S. In case you haven’t read yet, there are two scenes after the movie. One is mid-credits and another after all credits have rolled.

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