Jeff Goldblum has never been more Jeff Goldblum and Tessa Thompson needs to be in every Marvel movie, ever.
Thor: Ragnarok marks the third Thor and seventeenth overall Marvel Cinematic Universe film, this time coming to us from director Taika Waititi (What We Do in The Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople). While we’ve seen the almighty God of thunder on the big screen several times in past Marvel outings, we’ve never seen him quite like this before.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been off-planet for quite some time now (hence the reason he didn’t appear in Civil War). He’s been traveling around the nine realms, fighting monsters and trying to promote peace. However, once he hears of a prophecy called Ragnarok — one that declares all of Asgard will be destroyed — he quickly decides that it’s time to head home.
Once there, he doesn’t exactly find the warm welcome he was hoping for. A new threat has emerged — an evil force known as Hela (Cate Blanchett) has come to completely obliterate Asgard. And right from the get-go, she proves herself a worthy opponent by shattering Thor’s almighty hammer without even breaking a sweat.
Unfortunately, Thor — as well as his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) — aren’t in Asgard very long to try and put a stop to her. Through a series of untimely circumstances, they find themselves abandoned and trapped on a strange, foreign planet that’s run by an eccentric figure known as the Grandmaster (Goldblum).
The Grandmaster, who is somehow even crazier than the reputation he’s given, forces his prisoners to fight in gladiator matches for his own amusement. Thor volunteers to fight, based on a promise that he’ll be set free if he’s able to defeat the Grandmaster’s grand champion.
This grand champion, however, is the champion for a reason. He’s also a familiar face to Thor and Loki — The Incredible Hulk. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) found himself trapped on this planet after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the Hulk has been locked in combat and destroying challengers one by one ever since.
Thor must then find a way to get through to Banner, escape this planet and head back to Asgard to save his planet and people before it’s too late.
If the premise to Thor: Ragnarok sounds like an overly serious or dramatic plot, don’t worry, it’s not. Waititi's films are and always have been comedies first and foremost, and Thor: Ragnarok is no exception. There’s no shortage of jokes for the entirety of the film, most of which land (especially those given by Waititi’s character of Korg) to full effect.
This comedy is also enthused into the story in a more effective way than it was in Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2. The jokes don’t feel as forced, seeing as they’re integrated into the story in a way that makes sense and feels natural.
However, the overabundance of comedy does come at a shortage of dramatic moments. Hela is murdering hundreds of people on Asgard, and the movie never allows this fact to really sink in. Whenever a serious moment is presented, there’s usually a joke not far behind. The result is that the film never let’s the gravity of the situation to sink in.
This is also quite a departure from the first Thor movie, in which director Kenneth Branagh was inspired to create in a Shakespearean-type of atmosphere. There’s very little of anything that even closely resembles the famous play-writer in Thor: Ragnarok. Thor is no longer the sharp, stern character as we’ve seen him in the past, he’s now the wisecracking jokester.
This does, however, allow Chris Hemsworth's comedic timing really come into play, giving him the chance to finally really make the character his own. The banter between him and Loki, as well as with the Hulk, gives off a buddy road-trip vibe.
Yet, the real standout of the film isn’t Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston or Mark Ruffalo. It’s Tessa Thompson (Creed) playing the character of Valkyrie. She portrays an unapologetic anti-hero, one who has a serious drinking problem due to events in her past. Her character arch is a well-crafted one — she’s easily the coolest and most likable character in the film and audiences are going to instantly want to see her given a larger role in the MCU.
Jeff Goldblum is in there as well, doing what Jeff Goldblum does best — being weird. His character is more or less playing into every Jeff Goldblum-ism one can think of, dialing it up to an eleven. If any other actor had been cast to play this role it would be annoying, yet given that it’s Goldblum and we all know the reputation the actor has, it’s so entertaining that you can’t take your eyes off him if you tried.
Thor: Ragnarok may not be the best film Marvel has ever put out — it follows a similar story structure that the studio has been known to adopt and will always go for the joke over anything that resembles something serious. However, these jokes are often funny, memorable and completely resembles Waititi’s directorial style. The movie embodies a cartoon that’s come to life in the best possible way, it’s a ton of fun to watch and takes the Thor franchise in a completely new direction.
Watch the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok here and let us know what you thought of the movie in the comments below. Also check out where this film ranked on the list of movies we're still excited for in 2017 by clicking here.
A Saturday morning cartoon come to life: 'Thor: Ragnarok' review7