As we get older, there are times we look back on our lives and see things that we don’t always remember with joy. Some people look back on these things and never speak of them while others will try to chase those thoughts away with a drink. Both of these situations come up within Thor: Ragnarok.
The first is with Odin, who is played by Sir Anthony Hopkins. It seems that he employs a revisionist history when it comes to his past. He completely covers up the existence of his eldest child, Cate Blanchett’s Hela. It isn’t until we find him in this film that he explains to Thor and Loki about her existence. The second is Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie. As a woman who feels like she has lost everything, she moved herself far away from that loss and drinks to forget.
What happens when we can no longer hide or run from our past? What does that do to our family and communities? Thor: Ragnarok does have these questions at its core. Centering around the return of Hela and what it means for Odin, Thor, and Asgard in general, Thor: Ragnarok is more in line with the Guardians of the Galaxy than the previous Thor films in tone and color palate. It’s bright and colorful, and has more jokes thrown in than previous Thor films.
Returning for Thor: Ragnarok along with Sir Anthony Hopkins is Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk. The new cast that is introduced in this film, besides Cate Blanchett’s Hela and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, are Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster and Karl Urban as Skurge.
Each actor puts in a performance that draws you into their characters. The standouts, though, are Cate Blanchett’s Hela and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie. Blanchett chews every scene she is in, giving off the menace and contempt for her father in ways that only she can. Thompson, however, plays a different type of character but puts in a performance that is just as mesmerizing. Not only does she play off Hulk and Thor well, she is able to convincingly play someone who is trying to hide their past.
Thor: Ragnarok’s tone is more of Guardians of the Galaxy than any previous Thor film we’ve seen. The films that have come before were more Shakespearean and serious, yet this installment sets the stage for a comedic and bright tone, reminiscent of the humor laced throughout Guardians of the Galaxy. The color palette is so much brighter than the previous films and it will take older comic readers back to the art of Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson, who are both well-known for their vibrant comic book designs.
Along with the color palette, there is a large jump in the comedic styling of the film. Previous Thor films used human characters as the base of the comedy and left the Asgardians to be more serious characters. In this film, there is little human interaction and the comedic moments come mostly from the things that Thor says or does himself. While some might view this as a good change for Thor, I felt that this was out of the established character. Though being more comedic would make sense as he’s spent a lot of time on earth after Thor: The Dark World, he had not been on earth since the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. So, taking the comedy as far as they did feel out-of-place.
Another comparison that can be made to Guardians of the Galaxy is the use of licensed music. While Thor only used Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” as compared to a full soundtrack worth of music, the use of Immigrant Song was perfect and accented the scenes it was in perfectly. I also found myself to be a huge fan of the action. Both the one on one fights and the massive brawls that occur look beautiful and help evolve not only Thor’s character but the rest of the cast as well.
Brighter and funnier than past Thor films, Thor: Ragnarok breaks Thor past what you thought could be with him and moves on to something else. While I thought the comedy was too much in spots, overall it was a good step for the character. I think it will hit more with a younger crowd and if you can look past the comedy, I think fans of the other Thor films will enjoy the arcs of the characters. I definitely recommend this as a must-watch for people who not only enjoy comic book films but sci-fi films as well.