‘Thor: Ragnarok’ destroys the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a way only director Taika Waititi could. This film is a colorful explosion of comic book goodness.
For MCU films, my bar is ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ and ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier.’ This fits in perfectly at number four as it grabs craziness from ‘Guardians,’ the quick wit from ‘Iron Man,’ and the scope of ‘Winter Soldier.’
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ will be hard to review without revealing a few spoilers. You have been warned, tread carefully from here.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is a made up of three acts: Earth, Sakaar, and Asgard. Jumping from one world to the next gave ‘Ragnarok’ a brisk pace, comparable to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1.’ At just over two hours longs, the film never drags.
It starts off with a battle between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Surtur (Clancy Brown), which is how every superhero should start, with a cold open like the James Bond films. Kickstart the movie with an epic action sequence to get the viewer’s heart pumping, and then it’s up to the director to keep you on an emotional rollercoaster to the end. ‘Ragnarok’ starts strong with plenty of action and jokes. Filmmaker Taika Waititi lets the camera roll, so it’s hard to tell what is improv compared to what’s scripted. Karl Urban said to Monkeys Fighting Robots there is enough extra footage out there to create another film.
With so many moving parts in the MCU, I forgot a prominent figure from the MCU was in the film. The interaction between Thor and this character is interesting because it is quite jarring. It also expands the scope of Earth and how the MCU fits together. If you are a comic book nerd, you might squeal a bit, but this is only the beginning of your nerd explosion.
At this point of the film, Waititi unleashes his colorful explosion. If Jack Kirby were alive, he would be very proud of all the costume designs and sets. With Sakaar brings the battle between Thor and Hulk. This is why you should pay extra to see this film in IMAX. The brawl takes the MCU to a new level and makes it hard to comprehend what the Russo Brothers can do to top it in ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’ As Thor and Hulk tear each other apart, the conversation between Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) is some brilliant verbal sparring.
A drunk Valkyrie is a welcome addition to the MCU, and Tessa Thompson puts Hemsworth and Hulk in the corner and commands her screen time.
Marvel also realized that no one cares about Bruce Banner, we all want to see the Hulk. The post-battle banter between Hulk and Thor is the best part of the film. I know I just said that no one cares Banner, but the situations Waititi puts Mark Ruffalo in are gut-busting comedy.
The second act is so over the top great it hurts the final act. When it’s time to get serious and take care of Hela (Cate Blanchett), Hemsworth, Ruffalo, and Thompson needed to step aside and let Idris Elba’s Heimdall take care of business. Heimdall plays a central figure in the final act and Elba brings a welcome change of pace.
Blanchett brings an angst to Hela that no one else could. Blanchett, Goldblum, and Elba put on an acting clinic amongst the ruckus of improv. The ruckus is fun, but you can tell the difference.
The final act has tremendous weight, but Waititi has a tough time switching gears from comedy to drama. It would have helped if he played it straight in the finale. With that said, the way the film ends leaves the door open to endless possibilities and has me very excited for ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’
P.S. There are two post-credits scenes. The first ties into ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ and the second is just plain fun.