Taika Waititi turned a Marvel movie into a cheese-filled neon-blasted 80s action comedy from whence the Thor franchise will never return. This is the new route; Thor has found the road which best suits his inner Chris Hemsworth and he shall traverse it evermore.
Cate Blanchet has never been more gorgeous and it is distracting. She vamps. Tom Hiddleston’s dark prince charms pale next to her goddessness. This is good, because it puts him in his place and in the mood to actually become helpful. This leads to some old fashioned bro-downs and Loki being a trickster, but in more of a scallywag way. Like a fun pirate or a lawyer, and much less murderous. Anthony Hopkins playing Loki in the beginning of the movie is obvi having more fun than playing Odin ever was. All Odin (Loki in disguise) wants to do is eat grapes and watch his favorite play featuring Matt Damon, Sam Neill, and Luke Hemsworth. And who wouldn’t want that? I shall call this troupe “Emote Asgard”, and we better see them in every one of the future Thor movies.
All of the parts with Chris and Tom are the tops. The connection that these actors have and the chemistry that they have developed makes their scenes the deepest felt and the most addicting.
Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie given her timeline is the eldest and most experienced of the “hero” squad. Thankfully she is treated with the respect that her badass self deserves, especially by Thor. She is a compatriot and warrior. Who, yeah, has become a drinker given her circumstances over the last however many years that she has been stuck on trash planet, but this only points to her being a sane Asgardian in a crazy world. The success of Ragnarok hopefully means that we will get more Tessa, which could never be a bad thing.
Mark Ruffalo turns out to be a sweet baby owl that eventually hatches from his Hulk cocoon. Before then, it is all “Hulk smash you, play with Hulk, no lies, I like and trust Valkyrie, you guys can all stuff it.” Banner pops out after an undisclosed amount of time (given that trash planet time is a bit wobbly) and it becomes “Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Wtf?!” as Thor has to herd his adorable baby birdedness through danger to get home. Well, home the roundabout way.
Jeff Goldblum is as advertised: Jeff Goldblum. He is the fun kind of evil mastermind, overthrown by too many darn goodie two shoes getting together.
Speaking of fun evilness, Karl Urban is a delight as the new gatekeeper back in Asgard, showing all the ladies his stuff. Where is previous gatekeeper Heimdall/Idris Elba? Well, he’s in hiding from Loki at first, then Hela, all while rocking a new Robin Hood look and some kind of psychic link with Thor. He helps the Asgardians, does a lot of covert good, and basically has the kingdom’s back.
Cate’s Hela is chillin’ being Queen and killing folks, when the heros pop in after escaping trash planet. The most redeeming part of Hela’s character apart from the fact that her brutalness was used by her Odin father and then thrown away, is that she has a puppy. It’s probably more gigantic undead wolf than dog, but it is still a puppy, and that makes her way too likable. It’s Shakespearean, how conflicted of a character that Hela is. She is the most dangerous being ever, but she wants to be loved and accepted. Asgard is a land built on blood and violence, which moved on to a narrative utopia where no such past existed. That releasing the Ragnarok curse vanquished Hela along with Asgard is super fitting. First of all, the fire monster was voiced by Clancy Brown, Hell yes. And the two creatures of destruction ripping each other into non existence along with the world underneath them has the heftiness of right and balance. The ragtag band saved the people, which is what really matters, and now they have a new chance to start over. Probably in Norway.
The vibe is all hope and renewal until they get to Earth to see a big spaceship blocking the way. This path to the end of trouble just led to a lot more trouble.
Verdict: This was everything I could have hoped. Taika Waititi + Dash of Shakespeare’s best + A really good Hard Rock Show + Some D&D + Shit ton of Easter Eggs + Style from an 80s noir arcade apocalypse + Lady power with stabbing + Chris Hemsworth being hilarious = Ragnarok