‘Thor: Ragnarok:’ Best of the three Thor films

Thunderous Applause

Pierce Turner

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Since Iron Man in 2008, Marvel Studios has been known for making superhero movies that aren’t afraid to joke around with their characters. The funniest of these movies is debateable, but Marvel never leaned so hard into comedy that it became parody, until now. Indeed, Thor: Ragnarok is officially a superhero comedy film, but is that a bad move for the studio, or a natural step for the genre?

Ragnarok picks up two years after Avengers: Age of Ultron with our hero (Chris Hemsworth) searching the cosmos for answers about the Infinity Stones. He’s caught in a bit of a pickle and catches viewers up by telling his sad story to a skeleton. This should give you an idea of what kind of movie we are dealing with. He returns to Asgard and is unsurprised to find that his brother, Loki, is not only still alive, but impersonating Odin on the throne. This is the first of many times throughout the film that something bad happens to Thor and he can barely muster a concerned frown.

To be fair, it makes sense that Thor is sick of Loki’s shenanigans after his first two movies and The Avengers. Tom Hiddleston fits comfortably back into his role as the cheeky and sarcastic God of Mischief, but he becomes the punchline to the joke that Thor is just tired of him. Unlike the first two Thor films, however, Loki doesn’t stand out so much only because now that he has such a strong competing cast.

Cate Blanchett’s Hela is one of the new best Marvel villains. Marvel Studios.

Thor and Loki discover that Hela, The Goddess of Death, has returned to claim Asgard, and she is the only character not joking around. She means business and promptly destroys Thor’s hammer in their first encounter before leaving the brothers stranded on the remote planet, Sakaar. There, they meet the warrior Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), The Grand Master (Jeff Goldblum), and discover The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). From here, the party literally begins with fireworks and bright colors even outdoing both Guardians of the Galaxy films. Thor is taken from one inherently hilarious situation to the next and the other characters enjoy watching him squirm with the audience.

All of these characters are played for laughs, despite two of them knowing how to kick ass. Valkyrie’s first scene has her falling on her face, drunk, though she quickly shows that she is to be one of the most respected characters around by murdering everyone around. Goldblum quickly gets into character as…himself. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, I think every movie would be improved by a Jeff Goldblum character who rules a planet and has giant holograms of himself.

It’s always awkward seeing your friend naked. Marvel Studios.

Like both Avengers movies, The Hulk stands out as comedy gold, but this time more than ever. He now speaks in almost complete sentences and enjoys talking down to Thor as the second strongest Avenger. The two fight in a gladiatorial match making one of the best fight scenes in any Marvel movie yet. However, my favorite scene in the movie simply has the two spending time together in a bedroom and talking. NO, not like that, though, we finally get to see someone’s reaction to seeing Hulk naked. This is a genuinely funny relationship that I can’t wait to see more of in Avengers: Infinity War next year.

Ragnarok finds time for a joke in every scene. At times, the film becomes a parody of Marvel movies, specifically making fun of scenes in Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Fans of the MCU will find this stuff hilarious. The question is, does it go too far and leave behind what made Marvel movies great in the first place? Captain America: Civil War is the most serious Marvel film yet, though it found time to have fun with its characters. The Falcon and Winter Soldier’s strenuous relationship made every scene with them hysterical, and characters like Ant-Man and Spider-Man arrived on the scene with plenty of jokes. Ultimately, though, Civil War successfully lands on a serious note in the end.

Even Thor himself is having more laughs this time. Marvel Studios.

With Ragnarok, the jokes sometimes get in the way of the characters having a meaningful reaction or emotional payoff. There’s a scene where a side character literally makes a joke about how upset Thor should be having lost his hammer, and Thor is just like, “Yup.” Still, Ragnarok made me giggle uncontrollably in my seat and I can’t complain about how funny Thor’s character has become.

Thor: Ragnarok stands as the funniest Marvel movie yet and easily the best of the three Thor films. Sometimes, it can be a little too goofy and miss the emotional impact previous MCU films, but there’s no denying its excellence. It ends up as just another reason why Marvel is truly the best at superhero films. And naked Hulk jokes.

4/5 Sails

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