By Frank Portillo
“Thor: Ragnarok” is not only the funniest Marvel movie to date, but is also one of the best at using its universe of characters. It’s a film that beautifully wraps up the trilogy,
It is hard not to describe “Ragnarok” as a comedy because of how much humor is involved. But the film also manages to be emotionally moving when the story demands it.
The humorous tone of the film is set up within the first minute and never lets up even as Thor Odinson, played wonderfully by Chris Hemsworth, catches the audience up to speed on his actions since last seen in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
What follows is his search for his missing father, a reunion with his brother Loki, and a conflict with the mysterious Hela, played by Cate Blanchett. Hela claims to be the Goddess of Death and proves to be formidable in her first appearance by easily killing off three major characters.
This may be Hemsworth’s best performance yet. His ability to be humorous and grieve shines more than the previous installments of the “Thor” trilogy.
While the tones of past “Thor” films have been relatively serious, with bits of comedy sprinkled throughout, “Ragnarok” capitalizes on what makes the superhero genre so appealing, which is its ability to be a fun, family-friendly ride.
The film mirrors the tone of superhero cartoon shows, which play up humor to engage with younger audiences instead of taking itself too seriously. The character interactions are funner in this film.
Fan-favorite Avenger The Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo, has a prominent role in the film. Though his name isn’t in the title, “Thor: Ragnarok” is the best Incredible Hulk movie so far.
Watching the two navigate the alien world of Sakaar are the most entertaining parts of the film. The writers took a huge leap with distinguishing the personalities of the Hulk and his vessel, Bruce Banner. Hulk has the personality of a giant child and loves to argue with Thor over who is the strongest Avenger.
On the flipside, Hulk has some of the most emotional moments in the film. When he comes across a hologram recording of Natasha Romanov, played by Scarlett Johansen, and who is Banner’s love interest, it evokes despair in the monstrous character as he shows his vulnerable side and thrashes around as he loses control to Banner.
Ruffalo’s screams of agony are heart wrenching. The wonderful portrayal opens the doors to explore the most interesting aspects of Banner in future films. The battle with his other side.
Another actor who shines in the movie is Tom Hiddleston as Thor’s adopted brother Loki. As the best established villain in the universe, the character is far more entertaining when fighting alongside his brother. Hemsworth and Hiddleston establish a powerful connection on screen and the two come to a complete story arc from where the characters started.
While on Earth, Thor and Loki are confronted by the Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, in a scene that was shown after the credits of the “Doctor Strange” movie. The interactions between the more prominent cast of characters sets the stage for “Avengers: Infinity War” next year.
In Sakaar, the audience is introduced to newcomers Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, and the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum. They are a welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Thompson plays a strong female warrior who joins the Revenger team, as Thor calls it, after being inspired to return to her role as protector of Asgard. She is phenomenal in her role as a damaged warrior who drinks all the time, and her introduction is one of the funniest character yet.
Goldblum fits into the film’s tone perfectly as Grandmaster: a cool, calm and collected, but evil, monarch.
There is hope that Blanchett’s character will return after she claims to be the Goddess of Death and her connection to Thanos, who is the antagonist of the next two “Avengers” films.
As always, the film was sprinkled with easter eggs to make eagle-eyed fans happy. The inclusion of the rock-character Korg is voiced by Waititi and is one of the funniest inclusions in the film. The Contest of Championships is mentioned, a Beta Ray Bill statue is briefly shown, a mention of Thor being a frog and Miek, who was a character from the “Planet Hulk” comic which served as an inspiration for the film.
Overall, the film is certainly in the top five Marvel films to date.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is rated PG-13.