WARNING: Spoilers ahead
This is the best Thor movie yet. Period.
To recap, the plot in Thor: Ragnarok goes something like this: Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) been travelling around the galaxy, fighting wrongs and generally being badass, while unbeknownst to him, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is disguised as Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and ruling Asgard.
Thor returns to Asgard and discovers Loki’s deception, which leads him to his father, on Earth. Via Doctor Strange, of all people. When Odin dies, the Goddess of Death (and Thor’s sister), Hela (Cate Blanchett), is released from her prison. What follows is Thor and Loki’s quest to defeat her and stop ragnarok (the Norse version of the apocalypse, basically).
The brothers make a very Guardians of the Galaxy-esque pitstop along the way, on a planet ruled by a fella who calls himself the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and looks as if he stepped out of an eighties synth-pop music video. This is where Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) enter the story.
Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchett are super badass, by the way. Valkyrie is the MCU’s first openly bisexual character, which is pretty cool. She’s also the MCU’s first LGBTQ character and it’s about time already. The Director of Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi has a lengthy cameo (and kind of saves the day – part of it, at least) and Stan Lee has a few more lines that usual in his own cameo as an insane barber, which is really quite brilliant.
Thor: Ragnarok is everything that I wanted out of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but didn’t quite get. It was funny and ridiculous without being too over the top but also slick and poignant. The whole film is characterised by a completely joyful and unpretentious kind of humour, which is the best kind, especially when we’re surrounded by so much dry sarcasm in our comedy these days.
The Guardian, whilst being very complimentary about the movie, dismissed the plot as somewhat inconsequential. I’m not sure that’s fair but I will say that it felt very much like a prelude to the next Avengers movie. Thor’s hammer has been destroyed but his control over his powers is now stronger than ever.
Plus, he’s new reigning Asgard and Loki, as usual, has something up his sleeve (he was definitely eyeing up that powerful looking blue cube at the end), although for now he appears to be sticking to his brother’s side. I love when the two of them work together.
This is the most fleshed out and lengthy performance as Hulk that we’ve ever seen from Mark Ruffalo. Getting full lines and conversation out of the big guy is a real treat, and it gives a certain amount of insight in the potential for Hulk to have a more prominent role alongside Bruce Banner and his science-bromance with Tony Stark (of which I dearly want to see more in the future).
Oh, and the Matt Damon cameo that I dismissed as unlikely rumours with no substance? Yeah, no, that’s an actual thing that actually happens. It might be the weakest point of the movie but the joke still lands and involves some of the best intentional ‘bad acting’ that I’ve seen in a while.
Good Will Hunting will forever remain one of my all-time favourite movies but nothing beats Matt Damon doing comedy (if you don’t know what I mean, watching The Martian will fill in the gaps in your cinematic education quite nicely).
I can further confirm that Tom Hiddleston is still one of the best things to happen to Marvel, as is Benedict Cumberbatch’s wonderful Doctor Strange and Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Strange’s cameo is a little out of place in the movie but totally awesome. And it sets up his appearance in Avengers: Infinity War quite nicely.