Dont worry, this is spoiler free.
The Mighty God of Thunder has reappeared in theaters and is back to his typically heroic ways. Except that he isn’t. While some people view Thor as the stale Avenger with the least amount of character development or impactful moments throughout the various solo movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is a belief I feel couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let’s just think of some of the major things that have happened during Thor’s solo outings. In the first movie, Thor was banished from Asgard, lost his powers, and was a mortal man on Earth for much of the film’s runtime battling his brother, Loki. In the second movie, he was mostly on Asgard reluctantly teaming up with his brother, a dark force overtook his girlfriend, and his mother was killed. And by only seeing a trailer of Thor: Ragnarok, you already know that Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, is destroyed.
Who in the MCU has experienced that much grief?!?! Captain America’s shield is perfectly intact. Tony Stark has a fairly comfortable life. Peter Parker is still worrying about Biology classes. Needless to say, Thor is a far more complex character than we give him credit for and director Taika Waititi explores this greatly in Thor: Ragnarok.
The opening sequence starts off in a way that lets you know from the jump that this Thor outing will be one unlike the others in terms of tone. Thor begins a narration of his current position with “You’re probably wondering how I got here…” not unlike a sitcom or commercial, and his comedic presence is immediately felt. It is not forced comedy either; the audience and myself were genuinely chuckling at what was being said.
This feeling maintained throughout the movie and was present in most of the characters whether it be Loki, new character Korg, or the Hulk. Keeping in line with the other films, Thor spends time on various planets, which include Earth and Asgard, but mostly is situated in Sakaar. After some extremely impactful moments in the beginning of the film, Thor ends up on the Planet as a captive, his captor being a character named Valkyrie a character with a big role in the rest of the film.
There he meets the Grandmaster (a hilarious Jeff Goldblum) who gives him the opportunity to fight for his freedom against his champion. Thor accepts and it turns out the champion is the Hulk. Don’t worry guys, they still throw down and it is worth the price of admission to witness.
After their showdown, the film slows down in pace considerably. There is a lot more dialogue and characters are realized far more deeply in terms of their motivations and their relevance in this story. The film is better because of it. I won’t go into much detail in attempts to avoid spoilers but the Hulk in particular benefits a lot during this time as well as Valkyrie.
Eventually, Thor and Company make their way to Asgard to battle the villain, Hela. It seems like a predictable path from here on out like most superhero movies but there are a fair amount of twists and turns that make it unique. Hela, as the villain, is great and one of the best in the MCU to this point. Her motivations are clear and understandable and she is certainly ruthless in her actions. She is far and away the greatest threat Thor has faced in his solo movies and it feels that way from the moment she appears on screen.
All in all, this is the best Thor movie without a doubt and it is in the upper echelon of movies in the MCU, which is filled with many great ones. It is a fun, energetic, mostly fast-paced adventure that has elements for both comic fanatics and casual moviegoers to enjoy. It also contains a significant amount of pivotal moments that provide emotional weight and keep this film from being an action comedy. A couple of things are especially extreme and will have far-reaching effects on Thor and the MCU past this movie.
There were some things I did dislike in Ragnarok, such as the unnecessary inclusion of some characters, storylines that weren’t completely realized, and a desire for a bit more screen time for our villain. However, these minor complaints do not take away from the satisfaction of the overall product. Thor: Ragnarok is a great film that gives our hero his biggest challenge yet while also managing to create a fun and funny experience for the viewer that will help all of us appreciate the God of Thunder a little bit more.