‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Review Roundup: Humor Strengthens The God of Thunder
Thor: Ragnarok, the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, launched on November 3. Fans will recall how Thor, portrayed by Chris Hemsworth, is also a fixture in the Avengers films, and fellow teammate Hulk, portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, accompanied the Asgardian for his latest film. Moreover, series stalwarts Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba reprise their roles, with newcomer Cate Blanchett joining the cast as the villainess Hela.
Ragnarok’s initial trailer seemed to indicate it would diverge somewhat from its two predecessors in terms of tone, and reviews for the film attest to how this was a wise change on Marvel’s part. Hemsworth’s performance, in particular, has been praised for the humor he infuses into his character.
THOR: RAGNAROK REVIEW ROUNDUP
“Still, there’s plenty to like here. Waititi, his cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe (‘Blue Jasmine’), and his production designer Dan Hennah take their cues from pop art-influenced comic book adaptations of the ‘60s and ‘70s like TV’s ‘Batman,’ “Logan’s Run,’ ‘Flash Gordon’ and ‘The Black Hole,’ filling the screen with kitschy costumes, furniture, artifacts and machinery envisioned in the tiled, knobby style of the late, great illustrator Jack Kirby, and presenting it all in oversaturated color. The disco-drug-trip gaudiness is a welcome change of pace from superhero cinema’s default bled-by-leeches look. At one point, Thor even gripes about the red-and-white patterning of the capital city’s interiors, as well he should: they’re hideous. Mark Mothersbaugh, the onetime Devo co-founder and composer who scored four Wes Anderson films, creates a retro-synth soundtrack suited to the era of science fiction cinema in which characters wore jumpsuits. This is a close-but-no-cigar movie, but so enjoyable for the most part, and so modest in its aims, that its disappointments aren’t devastating. I’d watch the first 90 minutes again anytime.”
–Matt Zoller Seitz, rogerebert.com
“Mr. Hemsworth looks happier and far more relaxed in ‘Ragnarok’ than he did in the previous Thor vehicles, which is perhaps Mr. Waititi’s truest achievement here. For a guy who looks chiseled by Michelangelo, Mr. Hemsworth can be a surprisingly agile physical performer, capable of real bounce, and he clearly likes ricocheting off walls as much as he does ceding center stage to the other actors. These include Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, who, after an unpromising entrance, develops into a real character with emotion and an all-too-brief flashback filled with fury, beauty, liquid motion and mythological mystery.”
–Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“As you’ve probably gathered by now, the whole movie is a grab-bag of insanity so off-the-chain hilarious that you stick with it even when the convoluted plot goes haywire. Hemsworth and Ruffalo, doing double duty as the raging Hulk and his mild-mannered alter ego, are frenemies to die for; the latter’s transformation from beast to Bruce Banner is a doozy. And you have a treat in store from Tessa Thompson (HBO’s Westworld) as Valkyrie, a bounty hunter who can kick Thor’s ass when she’s not flirting with him. The whole cast is aces, including Waititi, who contributes a killer cameo as a trash-talking rock pile named Korg. Granted, there are probably more monsters and CGI battles and explosions than the movie needs. But the movie keeps this Thor party hopping like it’s 1999 and Ragnarok will never come. Good times.”
–Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“It may sound as if the movie is only for 13-year-old boys, or the Marvel faithful, but it isn’t. In these times of heightened stress and anxiety, ‘Ragnarok’ — a word from Norse mythology that refers to both the end of the old world and the rebirth of a better, new one — could not come at a more opportune time. It’s a movie that, to put it in terms that the film’s screenwriters might appreciate, is Thor-ly needed.”
–Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post