“Thor: Ragnarok” Sees A Hero Gain His Defining Movie In The MCU

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8.3 Overall Score

Robert Downey Jr‘s Iron Man has it’s defining movie. The 2008 movie brought Tony Stark to the big screen and set a new course for comic book movies for years to come. Arguably, Chris Evans‘ Captain America has two of them (2014’s The Winter Soldier and 2016’s Civil War). You can even consider them to be the best of the MCU. Within that, there’s Thor (Chris Hemsworth), an integral part of the “big three” when it comes to characters that kick started what would be ten years of stories. It’s not that 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World are inherently bad, it’s just that they were lacking something that the other standalone movies had. Iron Man and Captain America had their staying power. We needed to see Chris Hemsworth in the way that he is allowed to be in the Avengers movies.

Thor: Ragnarok, the third installment in Thor’s arch gives the character that signature movie that fans can point. It allows Hemsworth to shine both from a humorous and serious aspect. Director Taika Waititi gave this Thor franchise a more abundant, colorful tone. Since the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Marvel audiences should be familiar with this formula. While Ragnarok does take some pieces from that, it molds it into the story line that has been set in motion for Thor and the characters of Asgard. A strength of Ragnarok is that it assumes that you are familiar with the story arch. Tom Hiddleston is still great at being the mischievous Loki and you really get to see how Thor and Loki’s relationship has grown throughout this universe. There’s an obvious apprehension of trust, but they are still brothers.

Ragnarok felt more episodic and balances many genres that did not feel overwhelming. Many moments were like improv – letting the characters take jokes to a natural place. The character that is a pleasant surprise and will be a favorite is Korg, the Kronan race gladiator. (voiced by Waititi) The more conversational tone made the movie easy to identify with. There were some instances where the jokes ran on a bit long, but for the most part, the tonal shifts balanced each other out.

Not only is this Thor’s story, it’s part buddy cop and assemble movie as well. The action sequences are gorgeous to watch and and are appeasing from the sense that they play with speed and look. Different camera angels – some even have that stained glass effect. New heroes are added in where they have their own moments. Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) returns continuing his story from 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. While we may not get a standalone Hulk movie anytime soon, Waititi does a good job in giving the character time where it also feels like his movie within a Thor movie. Thor and Hulk has been through a lot and you can really see their relationship develop into a real friendship. This is a twist on the Planet Hulk story line that works. Tessa Thompson‘s Valkyrie not only is a strong female from a fighting standpoint, there’s something in her personality that furthers to destroy this illusion of a “perfect” Asgard.

The new ingredients to the franchise in reference to Hela (Cate Blanchett) and the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) really make their mark in different ways. The problem with previous Thor movies was that the villains would often get overpowered by the charm of Loki. They seemed like the mid-boss that did not pose much threat. Hela is very much the personification of the reckoning of Asgard’s checkered and menacing past. Blanchett does a very good job in her portrayal of Hela, but one of the main criticisms of Marvel villains is that they have bite entering the story and not so much as you progress. Hela’s ambitions were spoken, but not seen. Jeff Goldblum does a great job in inserting his brand of awkward humor into the movie. You can add these bigger name actors/actresses within the universe and have them fit.

Thor finally gets his moment in a beautifully shot, action-comedy. Chris Hemsworth is the personification of the character much like Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans are. Things in the MCU are going to get a whole lot darker with the Infinity War movies starting in 2018. Ragnarok allows Marvel to give you a different type of movie where the MCU needs to constantly reinvent itself to stay fresh. If you’ve been longing for the days to relive seeing your favorite hero on a Saturday morning, this is the movie for you.

Main Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios

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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Writer | Photographer | Beast

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