Perhaps the most magnificent thing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that after seventeen films (with just three this year), each film still remains unique and creative in their own way. The best thing that there is to say about Thor: Ragnarok is that it is by far, unlike anything Marvel or any other studio has ever done before. Thor: Ragnarok is endlessly hilarious, visually stunning, and puts it’s brilliant cast to excellent use from its start to finish. The Thor franchise is a completely mixed bag as far as quality and consistency go, but Ragnarok takes the series beyond what the series or even the character is familiar with, and overall this works truly to its strength.
Ragnarok is hardly a perfect film, and it suffers from some structural story problems that lag for quite a bit, but the reason that it remains such a triumph is that it uses its absurdity to its strength. The film is one of the funniest productions that Marvel has ever produced, providing laughs from the start to the very end. On top of that, it’s visually spectacular, blending a visual creativity with a storytelling narrative that lights up each frame with brilliant color and spectacle. It’s even one of those rare films that are worth the 3D upgrade, just because Ragnarok offers so much visual eye-candy that looks absolutely stunning in 3D.
The faults of Thor: Ragnarok is that coming off the brilliant entries like Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel’s newest entry, Ragnarok does little to deliver the same complex story elements that our heroes battle in previous films. The plot is rather weak and its story elements suffer from being rushed or over-stuffed with action set pieces, that hardly ever take the time to slow down and explore anything complex. Ragnarok looks to set itself apart by obviously opting for something entirely different, which is what makes it so phenomenal and unique, but it certainly wouldn’t help for its purpose to explore perhaps a bit more that it has the ability to.
At times it seems that Thor: Ragnarok has learned from the mistakes made in the past by some of Marvel’s productions and their competitor at DC Comics, and that is taking its own mythology too seriously. Thor now ditches the serious and drab narrative and opts for its goofy and fun tone and drowns its story into a blend of hilarious comedy. In fact, its comedy is such a major element of the film, that without it, it is hard to imagine that Thor: Ragnarok would be nearly as good as it is. Marvel has some experience blending this kind of comedic narratives with grounded stories, as they’ve done in Guardians of the Galaxy, but Ragnarok takes that experience further than ever before.
The downside to this is that Ragnarok doesn’t carry as much emotional weight as most of the other Marvel films, which is something that even the comedic Guardians of the Galaxy films manage to achieve. However, this film does explore some wonderful dynamics between the characters, especially Thor and Loki. The dynamic between these two is one of the few recurring elements that run through the veins of the Marvel universe, and it is certainly fun to see that for the fourth time since Thor hit theaters in 2011, there’s still much creativity, not only with the Thor mythology but also with its phenomenal cast of characters, even if it is a bit inconsistent with its previous films.
Overall, Thor: Ragnarok is another fantastic addition to a Marvel Cinematic Universe that just continues to get stronger with each entry, yet we’re still left wondering how it sets the stage for Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. The latest Thor film leaves its mark on Marvel’s universe by being endlessly creative and ambitious and it’s a brilliant entry that will likely be long remembered for years to come. It hardly matters that Ragnarok is likely the least impactful movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because it’ll be long remembered as one of the most entertaining.
Thor: Ragnarok is now playing in theaters nationwide.