Hardwood and Hollywood

Thor Ragnarok is Witty and Weird

 

Chris Hemsworth Thor Ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok (Marvel)

Thor, the God of Thunder, is back in Thor Ragnarok and we finally get to see what he was up to during Captain America: Civil War. Taika Waititi lends his quirky sense of humor to the latest installment in the MCU, taking the reins as director and also lending his voice to the character of Korg. This time around, Thor and Loki end up on the garbage planet Sakaar, where they must escape the clutches of the Grandmaster in order to head back to Asgard and save their home from Hela, the Goddess of Death. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are back, and they’re joined by Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Hopkins, Karl Urban, and the lovely Cate Blanchett.

Visually, this film is filled with candy colors that pop, adding to the fun, comedic tone. It’s an aesthetically pleasing film, and the CGI is used well most of the time, especially with Hulk, but sometimes it’s overkill.

The script, along with the improvisations, work for the most part; however, there is still a story to tell. It doesn’t feel like a sitcom the way Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 did. At the heart of the flick is the story that the power you need is inside of you all along. It’s an old story that doesn’t get old if it’s told the right way. While not a fresh idea, Waititi makes it interesting. It’s also a fast-paced movie, with only a few scenes that hold some dramatic weight, mostly with Odin, but even he cracks a joke.

Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” along with all the somewhat arcade-like beats throughout the film are quite pleasant to hear. They do make the action more fun, but there’s also consequences. Thor does suffer from battle wounds, and we do see him in genuinely vulnerable scenarios, as Hela is more than a handful.

The cast does a terrific job all around, especially with the comedic style that Waititi brings. Chris Hemsworth grows as Thor, as he learns more about his powers, including the fact that he is not the “God of Hammers.” Tom Hiddleston’s Loki matures a bit more in this film as well, and shares some scenes with Thor that are hilarious, and also touching. Tessa Thompson, as Valkyrie, does a fine job as former defender of Asgard turned drunk scrapper. She gives us another badass female warrior character, and she has enough swagger to set herself apart from the rest.

Cate Blanchett plays the main protagonist, Hela, and although she isn’t given too much to do besides exposition dialogue, Blanchett is wonderfully sinister when she’s onscreen. On the other hand, there’s Korg, voiced by Waititi, who steals every scene with his odd little remarks. Then there’s Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/ Hulk, who flexes his comedic talents rather well. Finally, there’s Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. All I can say is that he is vintage Goldblum, and he does not disappoint.

Thor Ragnarok is the best standalone Thor movie, but is it the best Marvel movie? Nope. If you’re into Marvel movies, it’s very entertaining, and has a few solid dramatic moments that keep it from being entirely a comedy. The relationship between Thor and Loki continues to be hilarious and somewhat touching as well. Out of all the MCU movies so far, this might be the one where the hero loses the most; and it’s definitely more than just his hammer. Thor learns about what is really important after he is stripped away of what he is used to.

Grade: B+

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Mike Bitanga

Staff Writer/ Senior Editor at Hardwood and Hollywood
Mike spends most his time and money on movies because of his strong belief that there's more truth in fiction. In the past, he's written for the Patch and Culture Mob news websites, particularly for the arts/entertainment and sports sections. He's also a published author, and an aspiring screenwriter. Show some love or call him out: https://twitter.com/MikeBeetang

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