Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studio Pictures released “Thor: Ragnarok” to theaters nationwide Friday, marking the third entry in the “Thor” trilogy, starring Chris Hemsworth as the god of thunder, Thor.
Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins both reprise their roles as Loki and Odin, respectively. This installment also stars two newcomers to the series – Cate Blanchett as Hela, the goddess of death, and Tessa Thompson as the superheroine Valkyrie. Prior to the worldwide release, “Thor: Ragnarok” received much critical praise, and, after seeing this film, it is clear why.
“Thor: Ragnarok” sees the titular hero try to stop Hela from destroying their home of Asgard. Hemsworth delivered his best performance as Thor to date, clearly understanding the campy nature that comes with playing a Norse god who is also a superhero. He adds a certain bit of charm that not many actors could, playing a character who is superbly talented at dispatching villains, in spite of the fact that he can also be a bit of a bumbling idiot at times.
Conversely, Cate Blanchett plays a hammy yet elegantly evil Hela, a comedically self-aggrandizing “Maleficent” type. Blanchett’s Hela is a force to be reckoned with, and she provides a nice foil for Thor’s character development.
Though most people would assume his film is a standard, paint-by-numbers action blockbuster, first-time Marvel director Taika Waititi uses moments of comedy to make the movie stand out. Waititi himself plays the lovable Korg, who will definitely be remembered as a fan favorite long after the movie has run its course.
Interactions between Thor and the Hulk and Bruce Banner also make for an interesting dynamic, making the movie feel, at times, more like a buddy cop action flick than a Marvel superhero film.The production staff seemed to realize the on-screen version of Thor was always meant to be a comedic character, more of a Star-Lord than a Steve Rogers.
Jeff Goldblum also provides a standout performance as the Grandmaster, a hedonistic Elder of the Universe and organizer of the Contest of Champions. Goldblum adds his unique voice to this character and truly brings him to life in a way only he could. As another antagonist, the Grandmaster provides a threat from a distance, contrasting the physical threat posed by Hela. These two work perfectly in tandem to show Thor’s growth mentally, as he must concoct a plan to escape the Grandmaster and find the strength to defeat Hela.
The ending of this film is exactly the type of fun escapism one has come to expect from a Marvel superhero movie by now. For the final fight, Waititi chose Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” for the final battle between Hela and her forces and Thor and his team, taking another page from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” playbook by using a classic rock song in the soundtrack.
It’s hard to argue that this film was anything but a homerun for the “Thor” series, and a desperately needed one, at that. Waititi brought life to the least interesting member of The Avengers in a superhero movie that will not be soon forgotten.