This fall, Marvel added yet another blockbuster hit under its name. Thor Ragnarok is Marvel’s third addition to the previously stand alone Thor series. With a lively cast, colorful scenery, and light-hearted humor, Thor Ragnarok is an enjoyable and entertaining experience for audiences of all ages. In this installment, the producers have taken more of a comedic approach to the dialogue and characters standing out from the previous two Thor movies. While this style may be too over the top at times, Marvel is a brand that does not take itself too seriously when it comes to drama and grit, so this trend remains consistent with past works.
The main reasons why this comedic approach works is due to the characters, cinematography, and the set. Much like in the Marvel hit, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor Ragnarok took full advantage of the 80’s themed setting of the planet Thor is stranded on. The Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum, has made the barren garbage dump of a planet into a thriving party-throwing, gladiator-loving community. While the outside looks like a dump, the interior rooms of the main citadel look straight out of the 80’s with a feeling that brings you back to classic comedy movies such as Austin Powers. The movie has serious dialogue set inside of these rooms, creating the perfect atmosphere for comedic relief later on. An example of this is when Thor wakes up from his first battle with Hulk and he realizes the serious situation he is in due to Hulk not wanting to leave. But the tension of the situation is immediately relieved after. To further pursue this style, Thor has taken away the bleakness of the color palette from the previous movies and and instead, sided with a vibrant set of tones. This makes the movie bright, eye catching, and the little details easy to follow. From the bright ship chases to the vibrant fight scenes, everything in Thor Ragnarok is vibrant and cheeky.
In addition to the variety of settings, Thor Ragnarok also has a variety of characters. From the constant comedic relief of Korg, the rocky alien gladiator, all the way to Hela whose thirst for power is constantly driving her to kill. In the middle there is Thor who, at most points, is cracking jokes but will have times of focus and seriousness when his home is in danger. This spectrum from the serious, to the light-hearted, and all the characters in between, create an entertaining story that keeps the audience enticed and interested. Although the comedy is interesting, at times, it can take away from the seriousness of the moment.
Throughout the movie, the audience constantly finds a comedic side to most characters. But there is always a point where it goes to the point of not making sense. An example is the very first scene with Thor and Surtur, the god of fire. In this scene, Thor is spinning in his chains while Surtur is explaining his evil plan to destroy Asgard and cause Ragnarok. While it is a funny scene, it makes no sense that Surtur would sit there and stop his explanation to wait for Thor to keep cracking jokes. Instead, the dialogue should have matched with the seriousness of the moment. It misleads the audience into taking Surtur as a mere vehicle for comic relief, when in reality he ends up becoming a major plot point as an antagonist. This jump in character development is very strange to me.
However, a new character that Marvel surprising did well was Karl Urban’s Skurge. For the most part, Skurge is very serious and his subplot was very interesting. Against his own morals, he sided with Hela as her executioner. Urban’s conflicted facial expressions revealed a lot about his character and his struggle to reconcile his morals with his actions. In the end, he chooses to side with Asgard and sacrifices himself in repentance for his initial actions. Skurge is definitely one of the most poignant characters because Marvel held back any unnecessary comedy.
Overall, Thor Ragnarok was a fun and entertaining experience. The comedy was executed well and the new characters were a breath of fresh air. The mix between the two, while at times over the top, created a movie that I would recommend for anyone wanting to experience something fast-paced and exhilarating.