“Thor: Ragnarok” is the third installment in the Thor series and the seventeenth film overall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After reuniting, Thor and Loki learn that their sister and the Goddess of Death, Hela (played by Cate Blanchett), has returned to reclaim Asgard, all in the wake of an impending apocalypse called Ragnarök. In the wake of the chaos, Thor crash-lands on another planet, Sakaar, and is forced to compete in the Contest of Champions, where he encounters more than one familiar face who may help him on his adventure.
To say any particular actor stole the show would mean everyone was playing tug of war. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston reprise their roles as Thor and Loki, and they are as charismatic as ever. It was especially refreshing to see Loki in a more balanced role after the previous Thor film exercised his fan service status to blatant extents. Cate Blanchett is enjoying every moment being on screen, and her performance is so fun that you enjoy it with her. Mark Ruffalo’s reprise of the Hulk was apparent, but so is the return of other familiar faces, such as Heimdall and Valkyrie. Jeff Goldblum felt both out of place and perfect amongst the rest of the cast, as though he was playing to what most people’s perception of him as a person is awkward, but enjoyably so.
Other excellent traits of the film are the cinematography and the special effects. It is all shot so beautifully, whether it be to emphasize the environments or the way two characters interact. The special effects are also expertly utilized; the majority of the CGI is realistic, and the few instances where it is not still look good enough to keep it from being noticeable.
A divisive aspect of the film is its comedy. There have been criticisms about how the film is too humorous, which I can concede to on some level. This film exhibits a severe tonal shift from dark fantasy to sci-fi adventure. Personally, though, the humor did not take away anything from the overall experience. The jokes range from subtle and awkward to more obvious. For every joke that failed, there were at least three more that hit their mark.
What cements “Thor: Ragnarok” as an excellent film is the meaning behind Ragnarök and Asgard. In the previous films, Asgard is known as little more than an idyllic paradise, sheltered from outside forces. However, Hela reveals some shocking truths about the history of Asgard and Odin’s real reason behind banishing her. When the main characters confront this, they realize that Ragnarök may hold a deeper meaning beyond just being another apocalyptic force that will destroy their world. It serves as a compelling allegory for imperialism and where the line between revision and revolution lies.
The only main fault I can find with this movie is that there were some plot points I wish could have been explored further, such as Bruce Banner’s history on Sakaar and Thor and Loki’s interactions with Hela.
However, it also reflects that this film is so engrossing, it leaves you wanting to know more. Hopefully, future films will delve further into these issues, but until then, “Thor: Ragnarok” is a fun superhero film that is easily one of Marvel’s best.