Popcorn Picks Review: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is Marvel’s best yet


Photo credit/ Anne Marie Fox

Credit to Marvel Studios

Bethany Wade, Photography Editor

After the lukewarm response to the first two Thor films, no one expected “Ragnarok” to be great. Then, Marvel decided to prove everyone wrong.

“Thor: Ragnarok” takes place sometime after the battle of Sokovia in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” reintroducing us to the Norse god Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth. Asgard is in danger of desolation from the goddess of death Hela, played by Cate Blanchett. Thor has lost his magic hammer and has been captured on a planet on the other side of the universe. With the odds against him, he plans his escape to save his homeland.

The success of “Guardians of the Galaxy” in 2014 clearly influenced this film, as the comedic styling reflects “Guardians.” The previous Thor films had minor quips but were serious in tone compared to Thor’s role in the Avengers films. The mythological references dealing with Thor are complicated, and often brought down the other films. By turning the film into a comedy, it makes it easier to enjoy, even if the technical side of this world is hard to understand.

Hemsworth is at his peak in this film. His performance of the character thus far has been all over the place, offering inconsistent performances. In this film, he combines his comedic chops with his powerful action hero stance, building the perfect version of Thor that audiences deserve. Audiences see Thor at his most human, thanks to Hemsworth’s stunning performance.

One of the most surprising yet disappointing casting choices is Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. Goldblum, most famous for playing the charismatic Dr. Ian Malcolm in “Jurassic Park,” brings none of that with him in this performance. In a film that focuses on the humor more than the plot, one of the funniest action actors of all time chooses to not be funny. Goldblum, do better next time.

Cate Blanchett as Hela is a stunning performance. Her fiery portrayal as the goddess of death is above average Marvel villain standards. Her character falls into the traditional disposable villain format that Marvel creates, which is a shame because she would be a fun villain to see again.

The screenplay itself is great. Eric Pearson, a writer whose only credits prior to this were Marvel shorts, excels in creating an enjoyable sequel for a hero that’s known to be boring. The plot could use some help though. Even though the stakes are raised to a new level, none of the characters seem to reflect that. It’s hard to build suspense in the audience when the conflict doesn’t feel serious.

Director Taika Waititi uses this to his advantage, creating a unique blend of action and comedy that hasn’t been seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet. His willingness to be daring and go for the riskier shot pays off in multiple occasions. He allows for the film to be fun and light hearted, but take a serious turn when needed.

With the new location of the alien planet Sakaar, the CGI is bigger and brighter than ever, and the verdict is still out on whether that’s a good thing or not. This film gives us our cleanest looking Hulk yet, but it also creates some of the worst CGI fight scenes in the MCU to date.

This is the most enjoyable Thor film to date, and the highest rated so far according to Rotten Tomatoes. But when the last film offered audiences a complicated scientific explanation for one of the Infinity Stones, it’s not hard to beat that. With this film, Thor has the comedy down. Next time, they need to work on a better plot.

Rating: Four out of five kernels.

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Twitter: @BethanyWadeTWW