Chris Helmsworth’s portrayal of Marvel’s God of Thunder has changed dramatically since his debut in 2011. Thor Odinson was slightly self-absorbed, not really caring about the problems of the other realms. Following his feud with his brother Loki and his subsequent romance with Jane Foster, Thor began his transformation from being an all-powerful god into an intelligent individual who sought to protect those that needed protection. Yes, his godlike powers and Mjolnir made him an ideal Avenger, but Thor’s development into being much more than that was interesting to witness.
When we last saw Thor, he told Tony Stark that he was going to seek answers regarding the Infinity Stones after seeing various visions in his sleep. While he doesn’t necessarily uncover information regarding their importance in what’s to come, the first end credit scene does a good job setting up the next Avengers movie.
Marvel’s cinematic universe has been the pinnacle of superhero movies for the past decade, but the films have always had a recurring problem: its villains. Luckily, Ragnarok does not fall into that category, as Hela the Goddess of Death is more than a worthy adversary for the Asgardian. Her wraith and deadly personality were enough to make even my skin crawl, while she wrecked havoc upon the realm. Her inclusion in the film also presented eye-opening backstory regarding Odin and the kingdom of Asgard. In the comics, Thanos’ true love was Hela so it remains to be seen whether her demise will pose any future consequences for Thor.
As we move toward the ultimate superhero mashup of Infinity War, more and more Marvel movies are presenting smaller superhero collaborations. We saw Spider-Man swinging through New York with Iron Man and the Falcon testing the limits of Ant-Man. In Ragnarok, we finally get what everyone was wishing for: a Thor and Hulk team-up. Last we saw of Bruce Banner, he was flying away in a Quinjet amid the destruction of Sokovia in Age of Ultron. Many have pegged Ragnarok as a pseudo-Planet Hulk film, because we learn that the green giant has found refuge on the war-torn world of Sakaar. The evolution, and subsequent de-evolution, of the Hulk remains one of my favorite ongoing Marvel story lines. Watching Thor try to find the man beneath the monster is a bit poetic, as Thor had to find himself beneath the god.
Aside from the brilliance of Mark Ruffalo, the rest of the supporting cast was phenomenal. Marvel should make the executive decision of somehow including Loki in every movie, because Tom Hiddleston continues to be one of my all-time favorite actors in the MCU. Cate Blanchett turns in a devastatingly perfect performance of the Goddess of Death, Tessa Thompson played a hard, slightly drunken, warrior in Valkyrie, and Jeff Goldblum is always an absolute treasure to see onscreen. But the person (or alien?) that absolutely stole the show whenever he (it?) was onscreen was none other than the director himself Taika Waititi as Korg. This sentient rock being was somehow the best comic relief in an already hilarious film. Every word spoken broke a smile and laugh from me. I was hoping the end of the film would say “Korg will return in Avengers Infinity War”, but alas only Thor. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for more of the Kronan warrior.
Thor Ragnarok sits as one of the best Marvel movies to date. The humor of it never overtook the severity of the situation, on the contrary, it was the perfect balance. Helmsworth had arguably his best performance as the God of Thunder, and continues to show that he can be as beloved as Stark or Steve Rogers. And while we may never see a solo Hulk film, finally taking the time to dive into Banner’s internal struggles with the monster was sorely needed. As we inch closer to the reckoning of Infinity War and possibly the demise of some of these characters, Ragnarok at least gave us one (last?) adventure that any Thor fan will be proud of.
Final Score: 8.75/10