Thor: Ragnarok – defying Marvel tropes

In Thor: Ragnarok, the “God of Thunder from Down Under” resurfaces from his notable absence since Avengers: Age of Ultron, smashing the box office and hammering home the comedy in a film that embodies all the characteristics of a great Marvel spectacle.

As we start to get to the core of Marvel’s third phase in the MCU, we might expect the films to become more serious, dark or gritty, especially with infinity stones to find and the looming threat of Thanos becoming a more immediate issue. However, this is not the case. While Thor: Ragnarok does have moments of emotional poignancy, what really elevates the film from its previous instalments is its comedy aspect, one that transforms the film into a fun, visually impressive spectacle and the titular character into a witty, warm and all round more entertaining protagonist.

Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013) are in no way bad films, however they are arguably some of the weakest in the MCU and watching Ragnarok you can see how director Taika Watiti has given Thor the Winter Soldier treatment, retaining the heart of the character while also giving him a new lease of life. Ragnarok is filled with adrenaline fuelled action sequences, vibrant colours and sidesteps any expectations we might have had after the two previous Thor films.

The plot of the movie is mostly in two halves. On one side we have the glooming threat of Ragnarok, the Asgardian armageddon that threatens the planet and its entire species, spearheaded by the Goddess of Death, Hela, who also happens to be Thor and Loki’s sister. On the other side we follow Thor in his capture on Sakaar, fighting to get back to Asgard to prevent the extinction of his race, while being held hostage by the immoral and indulgent Grandmaster, who likes to watch his prisoners fight to the death in a WWE gladiator style spectacle.

This story is one of adventure, fun and vibrancy, introducing new character interactions and a soundtrack reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy, matching the quirky and entertaining nature of the film. There is no standout performance because each actor brings their all to the characters, in particular Cate Blanchett makes a riveting villain and as always Tom Hiddleston is a compelling and immoral Loki. Seeing a film that really exploits the best qualities of its characters while also taking care to develop them is something that is refreshing to see even as we reach the last phase of the MCU and is a testament to its growth.

Any overuse of comedy is, in my eyes, forgiven by the sheer amount of enjoyability I had watching this film. Watiti manages to intertwine the action and comedy so they compliment rather than undermine each other, creating a film that at one moment will tug a little at your heart strings and have you laughing out loud the next. Thor: Ragnorok is an incredibly fun, exciting and fresh experience and I would so bold as to say, one of the best Marvel films yet.

Lucy Carr

(Image courtesy of Den of Geek)