Matt at the Movies: 'Thor: Ragnarok' is the funniest (and most fun) Marvel movie yet
Marvel is now a whopping 17 movies deep into their shared cinematic universe. Since 2008, we've had some triumphs and we've had some duds. If you ask me, Thor has always been the weakest and the most boring Avenger of the entire ensemble. The first Thor turned to Sir Kenneth Branagh to underpin the Shakespearean themes in the Thor storyline. But I mean, the guy has a rainbow bridge on his home world...how Shakespearean can it be? The biggest feats of that film were 1. All the times the actors managed to say "rainbow bridge" with a straight face, and 2. Introducing the world to Tom Hiddleston's Loki, one of the best and most compelling anti-heroes in the MCU.
The sequel, Thor: The Dark World, felt basically like a two-hour distraction to keep fans happy between Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But in Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel finally allows this franchise to embrace its inherent silliness. Ragnarok transforms Thor into one of the freshest, most original, and hilarious franchises of the entire universe. And as a huge Guardians and Spider-Man fan, believe, me, I don't say that lightly.
Thor's overhaul is in large part due to director Taiki Waititi, a New Zealand comedy writer and director mostly known for 2014's vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows. Running contrary to the Star Wars franchise, in which Disney seemingly has zero qualms about firing directors if their voice doesn't exactly match what came before it, Waititi is allowed here to completely reboot Thor's entire character, taking him from a sullen and hotheaded jock to a lovable, wisecracking jock.
The change is much needed, and is bolstered by Chris Hemsworth's formidable comedic chops. He's essentially playing the same character as the affable buffon Kevin in the Ghostbusters reboot. You know, if Kevin could summon lightning and had a massive hammer that he swung around like a boomerang. But Hemsworth is just the tip of the iceberg here. Not only do we get another command performance from Hiddleston, they're both joined this time by fellow Avenger-outcast Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). It's a blast to see Hulk and Thor, two of the universe's most disparate characters, on what is essentially a buddy road trip film.
Really, though, it's the women that are the MVPs of Thor: Ragnarok. Cate Blanchett as Helo, the goddess of death, plays a villain that you actually want to see on screen more, and Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie is a force to be reckoned with. And thank goodness that neither of them play love interests. But it's Waititi himself who completely walks away with the movie as the voice of Korg, a Kronan with some of the best lines in the entire film. I'd see a spin-off with that character for sure. There's just so much fun and joy infused into this movie that it's impossible not to have a great time.
Ragnarok isn't all silliness, though. There's a very serious narrative undercurrent about outsiders trying to find a way home. The final few minutes are some of the most emotionally resonant, in certainly all three Thor films, if not in the entire MCU in general.
Thor: Ragnarok is in theaters now. Don't miss it! With my new MoviePass, I'm definitely going to see this one again.