Thor Ragnarök: Best Avenger Film Yet?

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Ragnarök features a more clean-cut Thor than audiences have ever seen before.

Gloria Han, Maroon-News Staff

Captain America was always my favorite Avenger: attractive, moral and courageous – what’s not to like? It certainly doesn’t hurt that the character is played by Chris Evans. Yet, I must admit that ever since the most recent Marvel installment, my feelings have wavered. It’s not that I like Captain America any less, but that I’m starting to like Thor more. Whoever your favorite Avenger is, I think you’ll find a special place for the god of thunder in your heart after watching Thor: Ragnarök

The film opens with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) imprisoned under the fire demon Surtur, during his unsuccessful search for the Infinity Stones. Surtur reveals that Thor’s father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is no longer on Asgard, and that the realm will be destroyed in the coming and prophesied Ragnarök. After defeating Surtur, Thor claims his crown, believing he has prevented Ragnarök, only to find that the anticipated doom has come in the form of the formidable Hella (Cate Blanchett). She sends Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) flying to the other side of the universe, where Thor finds himself once again imprisoned, with the addition of gladiatorial combat. 

While most Marvel movies flourish with a combination of action and humor, Thor: Ragnarök takes laughter to another level, with the help of a spot-on screenplay and direction by Taika Waititi. Waititi extends his gift of comedic genius and eccentricity (as seen in What We Do in the Shadows, which I highly recommend) to the film, drastically changing the tone and progression of the franchise for the better. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it works. There is no dearth of exciting, action-packed scenes either. 

Thor’s character undergoes a complete makeover in the film, with new hair and a new personality. Nothing was ever wrong with Thor, but he never quite stuck out, despite being a Norse god. In fact, Loki seemed to own more votes in popularity among fans. I was taken off-guard watching 2016’s Ghostbusters remake, because frankly, Hemsworth was hilarious. Thankfully for us all, Thor: Ragnarök wisely capitalizes on his comedic talents, allowing him to showcase them in his best-known role. Hemsworth proves that he deserves more of our respect. 

Overall, there was a plethora of great characters. Hella, portrayed by the versatile Cate Blanchett, is a striking and fearsome goddess of death. Unprecedentedly interfering with Thor’s magical hammer, she shines in a world where villainesses are all too scarce. Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) also stands out as a strongly-written female character: tough, independent and charismatic, and much more likeable as the plot progresses. Similar to Thor, Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) undergoes a bit of a character transformation from a thoughtless, uncontrollable beast to a sensitive, misunderstood being. The legendary Jeff Goldblum also appears, more or less as himself. 

The only complaint I have is that the film was predictable in many ways, but it doesn’t detract from it very much. The positives far outweigh the negatives. At the moment of this writing, Thor: Ragnarök has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score (93 percent) in Marvel film history. I’m not sure it’s the company’s absolute best film, but it undoubtedly entertains. It’s also a nice relief from the moral complexities, division and high stakes presented in Captain America: Civil War. One thing for sure is that the movie has set the bar high, and we only have a couple more months to see if Black Panther reaches it. Until then, don’t miss out on the chance to see a clean-cut Chris Hemsworth!

Contact Gloria Han at [email protected]