Thor: Ragnarok Review: Thunder from Down Under

In the immortal words of Jean Grey in X-Men Apocalypse: “Everyone knows that the third movie is always the worst.”

The line is meant as a joke because this specific iteration of Jean Grey appears in a third movie that was also, surprise! the worst of its trilogy. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the third movie is always the worst, especially when it comes to superhero flicks.

Iron Man 3? Terrible. X-Men Last stand? One of the worst movies in history. Spiderman 3? I’m sorry that movie doesn’t exist, let’s move right along. No one would have been surprised if the third Thor movie, the ugly duckling series of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, followed the same fate.

Enter Taika Waititi.

thor ragnarok

The Story

“From Marvel Studios comes “Thor: Ragnarok,” the God of Thunder’s exciting new adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, filled with action, humor, drama, and spectacle. In the story, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first, he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk!”

New Zealand director Taika Waititi gets the band back together, with Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston, and bringing in Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, and Cate Blanchet.

The Best

The Directing.

Thor: Ragnarok is a movie that in the hands of a less capable director, would have been a mess. Did you see that storyline from the movie’s press release? Yeah, this script goes in several different directions in such quick succession it’ll render you dizzy. It goes comedy, action, comedy, drama, intergalactic gladiator action, comedy again, but all woven with such a deft hand the transitions are seamless. Taika Waititi is a director with a style very much his own, which involves offbeat humor and earnest storytelling, and he made a complicated story seem simple, a tired franchise feel like a breath of fresh air.

I can’t imagine this movie made by anyone else, which is apt; arguably the best movies of the MCU, after all, are director-led (James Gunn with Guardians of the Galaxy, the Russo Brothers with Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

The Worst

Being overly critical by nature, it’s rare that I struggle to find a low point, and yet here we are. There’s genuinely not one thing I can outright say was terrible about this movie. There were small moments that I didn’t care for, but where they truly bad? Not really, they were mostly script choices that didn’t hurt the movie overall.

Having consulted with friends of mine regarding this, one said that she thought the movie tried too hard to be funny and different and whimsical and that it felt like a Guardians sequel instead of a Thor sequel. I can see where she’s coming from because this is much more in line with the exploits of Guardians of the Galaxy than Thor: The Dark World (does anyone remember what that movie is even about? I can’t), but to me, and since I know the director’s previous work, this just feels wonderfully in line with his own style.

The Verdict

Well written, well directed, well scored, well acted, unrepentantly funny and genuinely fun, Thor: Ragnarok is everything you could want from a superhero movie, with an eccentricity that makes it stand out against its similar entertaining peers. It’s a Marvel movie at heart, colorful and lighthearted, with cameos and references to other chapters of the MCU story, but Taika Waititi infuses it with his special brand of quirky that makes it truly a joyous ride.

Both times I watched this, my theater was filled to the brim with people who laughed throughout, and that’s the best verdict I can give.

My Rating: 8/10

Should You Go See It?

I want to give this one an unreserved yes because it’s genuinely such an entertaining movie that I have trouble seeing anyone disliking it, but in reality, if you don’t like action or special effects, this is not the movie for you. If, however, superhero romps are your cup of tea, then Thor: Ragnarok is one of the best of the year and you should definitely give it a shot.

And if big superhero movies aren’t your thing, but you’re itching for a weird comedy, then check my favorite Taika Waititi movie, a tiny budget New Zealand vampire comedy, and an incredibly funny cult classic.

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Sara A.


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