The next time someone tells you that Marvel’s films are all the same, remember Thor: Ragnarok. Not only does it celebrate Thor co-creator Jack Kirby’s innovative and imaginative style, but it also wears its comic book roots proudly on its sleeve. This film is exactly what the medium first was: fun.
Grabbing you from the get-go is director Taika Waititi’s psychedelic colours, impressive visuals and fast-paced narrative all complemented by Mark Mothersbaugh’s eclectic and booming soundtrack. Heavily stylised and unique, this all feels like it could’ve been pulled from the 1970s, acting as a shiny, neon reminder of era.
You’re obviously aware of the basic premise: Thor is on the other side of the universe, gets a haircut, fights against the Hulk in a gladiatorial contest, and needs to get back to Asgard before Hela destroys it. Naturally, there are a couple of twists and turns in between – including the appearances of characters from the previous movies, as well as a notable cameo from another Marvel superhero.
While the actual plot of the film is rather thin, Waititi hits every beat as he keeps the film entertaining, over the top, and sidesplittingly funny. It could be argued that the previous Thor films had better overall storylines, but this is by far the most entertaining of the lot. We’re finally given a reason to root for the lead character, while the humorous leaning lends well to lead Chris Hemsworth’s deadpan delivery and excellent comedic timing.
One of the film’s biggest strengths, however, is the introduction of the new characters: Korg, Valkyrie, Skurge, and Grandmaster. While Korg and Grandmaster are more for comedic relief and effect, Karl Urban’s Skurge and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie became pivotal characters to the plot. Skurge, in particular, takes an interesting turn and isn’t quite what he seems.
While Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Hemsworth’s Thor provide the bulk of the laugh-a-minute dynamic of the film, the true scene stealer is, once again, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. He plays his role to perfection and when you think he’s about to turn over a new leaf, he reverts to his mischievous ways. His first appearance in the film is classic Loki and his arc is equally as important as Thor and Hela’s.
At the end of the day, Thor: Ragnarok proves that Space Marvel is the best type of Marvel film. When it gets outrageous, it’s at its best and shows that comic book movies can be over the top without turning into Batman & Robin. We’re spoilt for entertainment here, as this film becomes another welcome addition to the MCU and a breath-taking popcorn movie overall.