The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

| April 24, 2019

For better or worse, a generation is now growing up with the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and whatever that says about the direction of Western Civilization will be left to history depending largely on who writes it.  Avengers: Endgame brings the hammer down on this series on April 27th, so for the next few weeks I am going to take a look back at the films that have built a massive phenomenon.  Are they any good?  Let’s take a look . . .

Image result for Thor Ragnarok

Being the best-looking actor in Hollywood has its drawbacks. For one thing, good looks can sometimes sour the perception that beneath that flawless kissed-by-the-angels punim lies a competent and very talented actor.  This was the fate of Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Rock Hudson and, in recent years, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Into that fold comes Chris Hemsworth whose golden looks, deep voice and bulky frame made him almost inevitable to play the God of Thunder.

Yet, there’s a slight to his acting abilities that I think is cured by Thor: Ragnarok.  He is a very adept comedian, which is helped by the fact that this is a very funny comedy.  Yes, comedy.  I complained endlessly about the original Thor because it seemed to be a movie that never really came together.  No one seemed to understand the character in any meaningful way and so his first outing felt like jumble of stuff rather than an actual movie.  Plus, it was basically humorless.

I can’t say that about Thor: Ragnarök which is so hokey and jokey that it seems to wear a squirting flower on its lapel.  I actually mean that as a compliment.  Often these movies get so covered up in dark and damning portents of doom that they forgot that the audience came to be entertained.  That’s not at issue here.  Director Taika Watiti recalls a very 80s aesthetic to tell this story of how Thor manages to get himself imprisoned on the planet Sakaar where he is thrown into a gladiatorial battle with Hulk while the villain Hela heads to Asgard to reduce it to splinters.

This is a very funny movie.  Light of tone, light on the characters but not so oppressively jokey that you can’t get involved.  That approach allows Hemsworth to finally lighten up, and when he does, he turns in one of the most effective comic performances that I’ve seen in years – who knew?!  He’s never been so relaxed.  He’s never given a better performance.  Here is proof that he’s more than just the winner of the genetic lottery.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
Filed in: Uncategorized