“Thor: Ragnarok” is the third film in the “Thor” franchise and brings the Son of Odin back to Asgard. This time, he must join forces to save the people from Hela, the Goddess of Death, and Ragnarok, an event that marks Asgard’s apocalypse.
The first two films, though fun, had a very serious problem: Thor is too serious. Though well balanced between humor, romance, and action, his Shakespearean epic tones sounded totally disconnected with the Marvel Universe. But the truth is that nobody cared about what was happening with Asgard and the nine realms, much less for the romance between Thor and Jane Foster. This becomes very clear in this third film, when the resolutions of the previous films are made in a few dialogues that feel completely superficial.
Granted autonomy, director Taika Waititi avoids evading this epic tone in his first film with the “Thor” franchise and puts all his humorous characteristics in scene. The exaggerated humor gives an almost satirical touch but at no time is uncomfortable. On the contrary, besides funny, it is refreshing for the franchise. Moreover, however poignant, moments of tension are also present and do not let the film fall into a rampant comedy. Put it all together with the 80s colors of the movies, and we have a great homage to comic book illustrator Jack Kirby’s style.
Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the franchise, looks happier and more relaxed in “Ragnarok” than in any of Thor’s previous appearances. What’s so great about “Ragnarok” is that it takes everything we know and everything that has been established about Thor and it dismantles it. His hammer—gone. His macho sense of right and wrong—play it for comedy. But with his struggles with his brother and father, the family dynamic is kept intact.
A triumph of the film is the two impressive female characters as the villain, Hela, and a potential hero in Valkyrie. Both Cate Blanchett, as Hela, the Goddess of Death, and Tessa Thompson, as Valkyrie stand out in the male-dominated arena. Valkyrie is the smartest and most adept person in the room at any time, and when her nobility comes to light, she is as renegade a fighter as there can ever be.
“Thor: Ragnarok” overall is both the most interesting and the most comic-booky of the Marvel movies so far, maybe more so than the two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. In times when the formula is the most discussed point in a superhero movie, “Thor: Ragnarok” introduces a new strategy from Marvel Studios, which is to give its directors autonomy.
If the biggest problem with Marvel movies was once a lack of boldness, Waititi tries to bring something new without tarnishing the essence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The result is that like “Guardians Vol. 2”—an amusing, charming, quirky, and slightly whimsical story with eye-popping visuals and a dynamic score.
“Thor Ragnarok” opened last Friday, November 3.