Thor Ragnarok Review

Ryan McKenzie, Writer

“Thor: Ragnarok” is the 17th installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is one of the best in the universe so far. When it comes to judging films, I have a saying: “The characters are the story. Everything else is a small detail.” This film lives up to that motto. The central characters of this movie are Thor, Loki, Hela, Hulk, Valkyrie, the Grandmaster, Skurge and Korg.

Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of Thor in this film is his best in the MCU thus far. He portrays him in a much more comical manner. The writer, Eric Pearson, and Hemsworth embrace the silliness and craziness of Thor and his world, which paid off. As ever, Loki is his old self in this film: constantly being a thorn in Thor’s side, which actor Tom Hiddleston does best, yet disappointing at the same time since they barely do anything new with the character.

The main antagonist of the film, Hela, played by Cate Blanchett, is a good villain, but like Marvel villains such as Ronan the Accuser (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), YellowJacket (“Ant-man”), Ultron (“Avengers Age of Ultron”) and others, her character is under-developed and not given enough screen time. She is better than a lot of other villains of the MCU due to her menacing nature, and great action sequences but she is still not great.

Hulk, portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, is a show-stealer in this film. Since the events of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Bruce Banner has been Hulk on the planet Sakaar, fighting in a gladiator arena. The persona of Bruce Banner hasn’t really changed much; he is still just Banner, but Hulk has developed more of a personality than just an unintelligent monster who smashes puny gods. He has gotten smarter (to the level of intelligence of a five-year-old) and has developed the personality of a brash, spoiled and narcissistic child. His character is one of the big highlights of this film for me due to his awesome action sequences and funny moments.

Valkyrie, portrayed by Tessa Thompson, is a new addition to the Thor franchise and MCU. She was an Asgardian warrior who was defeated by Hela years ago and now resides on Sakaar, drinking her pain away and working for the Grandmaster. This creates a nemesis dynamic between Hela and Valkyrie, which wasn’t explored at all, which I found disappointing, but her dynamic and chemistry with Thor and Hulk really made her shine. Other than that, I found the character not as developed as as she could’ve been. The Grandmaster, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, was a huge comedic element of this film. Almost every line made me laugh, even though it was just Jeff Goldblum acting like Galactic-dictator Jeff Goldblum.

The rest of the characters are sidekicks: Heimdall, who was still cool as ever, Skurge, who had some funny moments but ended up being quite bland, Odin, with a role in the story that takes the MCU in a new direction and the arc of the Thor films to somewhat of a conclusion, and my favorite side character, Korg, who ended up being my favorite in the MCU to date with his lovable personality and great sense of humor. Korg, in my opinion, was written perfectly.

Overall, this film has some great characters. Thor, Hulk, the Grandmaster and Hela take the cake for me, while I find Valkyrie and Loki a bit disappointing. Korg is life. Sakaar is a wacky, weird and fun setting in the MCU, and Asgard is given better justice than in previous Thor films. This is by far the funniest film in the MCU to date, and director Taika Waititi changes the franchise in a big way that is comparable to the “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Hydra twist. I give “Thor: Ragnarok” 8 out of 10 shirtless “Jurassic Park” Jeff Goldblums.