Thor: Ragnarok slaps a rad new coat of paint on the God of Thunder’s world as he faces off against Goddess of Death, Hela, alongside characters like Valkyrie and Hulk. Social media reactions to the film positioned it as the best Thor movie and easily one of the funniest superhero films. And full reviews, which started coming in on Thursday, seem mostly to agree.
io9’s Germain Lussier had a glowing take on the film’s humor.
Thor: Ragnarok is the funniest Marvel movie to date. In fact, it may be the funniest superhero movie ever. From the first scene until the very last, it’s a non-stop cavalcade of jokes wrapped around an epic, sweeping space adventure. The whole thing will make you absolutely giddy.
Lussier was quick to say that the focus on comedy means other elements people have come to enjoy from other Marvel films are sidelined or neglected, but the film is good in spite of these shortcomings.
The Guardian’s Steve Rose had similar thoughts on the film, explaining that much of the film feels familiar, but its humor allows it to overcome this pitfall.
There are a great many corners cut, plot holes papered over, and laws of physics bent out of recognition in this movie, to be honest. And if you’ve sat through the past dozen recent Marvel movies, you’ll find the core elements very familiar – a rag-tag team of heroes (Thor unimaginatively dubs them “the Revengers”), an all-powerful antagonist, an impending apocalypse, and a set of essentially unkillable characters. Added to which, the liberal use of CGI and green screen makes for a visual flimsiness. Even the scenes set in “Norway” look fake.
But Thor: Ragnarok gets away with all of this because it’s so winningly, unpretentiously funny.
The Telegraph’s Robbie Collins also noted the familiarity of Ragnarok but came away with a slightly different angle on it.
The better Marvel films are so much fun not because of what happens in them, but because of the ways their stars, directors and craftsfolk find to wow and innovate within the series’ now tightly circumscribed formal limits. (Ask any 12-year-old and they’d tell you the same.) Thor: Ragnarok is a model case.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Sheri Linden went in hard on what separates this Thor movie from the previous ones, referencing the performances in the film.
With Taika Waititi at the helm, the clash-of-worlds CGI extravaganza blasts free of the previous installment’s leaden Dark World. Giant fire monsters in stygian underworlds notwithstanding, even the story’s central bad guys are silly fun, hammed to the hilt by Cate Blanchett [who plays Hela] and Jeff Goldblum [who plays the Grandmaster].
The relatively laidback angle on all the murderous spree-ing gives Chris Hemsworth a chance to find the comic groove beneath the title character’s beefcake godliness. He does it expertly, and the self-mocking humor is all the more welcome given Thor’s essential blandness. Even Anthony Hopkins’ high-ground patriarch [Odin] feels a tad looser, while Tom Hiddleston offers more of the seething sarcasm that makes Loki, with his ever-shifting allegiances, the best thing to happen to bad hair in the new millennium.
Brock Wilbur of Polygon wrote that Thor gets a big personality upgrade in Ragnarok, and that the film manages to have some depth amidst the one-liners flying left and right.
…this is the most likable and interesting Thor has ever been. Hemsworth is given the chance to do what Hemsworth should have always been given the chance to do: be funny. But the script also makes sure that even the funniest one-liners Thor uses against Hulk or Loki are based on a development of their relationships that is often borderline painful when you realize what’s actually being said.
Wilbur goes on to mention that Thor isn’t the only one who benefits from Ragnarok, adding that “Doctor Strange is better here than in his own origin adventure movie.”
Peter Debruge of Variety, meanwhile, had more cynical thoughts on the film and what it represents in the grand Marvel Cinematic Universe scheme of things.
Goldblum is actually the best thing about the movie, since he openly mocks the film’s underlying silliness — a pursuit in which he is ably assisted by Tessa Thompson, who plays a sarcastic, Han Solo-like renegade [Valkyrie] who first captures Thor, then later helps him to escape through the “Devil’s Anus.” Yes, that’s what the movie actually calls the gaping CG wormhole that connects Sakaar with “Ass-guard” (as the Grandmaster calls Asgard). Back in the day, audiences had to wait a few weeks for Mad magazine to skewer the latest self-important Hollywood blockbuster. These days, Marvel movies arrive as parodies of themselves. If only that were an indication of the genre’s own impending Ragnarok — a sign that the entire phenomenon is about to implode, only to be reborn as something more worthy of the audience’s time and intelligence.
If you were down on the glut of superhero content being pushed out right now, Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t look like it’ll be the movie for you. But for everyone else, the Taika Waititi-directed flick should be a fun ride that adds a heaping pile of personality to some generally uninteresting characters.
Thor: Ragnarok comes out in the US on November 3.