While Marvel often uses humor as a vital instrument in their films, Thor: Ragnarok is by far the most comedic one. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously and, at one point, it seemed like a parody of the Norse superhero. Usually with these type of movies, there’s always a balance between funny and serious characters, but Ragnarok gives everyone a chance to crack a joke, especially the main characters.
Named after the apocalypse in ancient Norse mythology, fans expected the third installment of the Thor series to be darker than ever. And with both Thor and Hulk in the same movie, we anticipated a more dramatic Captain America: Civil War, but instead got a sillier Guardians of the Galaxy, and it fits. There are some superheroes that should be taken seriously, but Thor isn’t one of them. Ragnarok does have its fair share of death and destruction, but the filmmakers managed to include a joke with almost every situation. While some may argue that it takes away from the drama, by also adding beautifully shot action scenes, the result is extremely entertaining.
The cast is one of the best things about this movie. While no Marvel ensemble yet could beat that of Civil War, which introduced new characters like Spider-Man and Black Panther, Ragnarok was able to surprise us throughout with both new and familiar faces.
While attempting to be more serious in the previous films didn’t work quite well for him, Chris Hemsworth gives his best Thor performance yet as the goofy big headed God of Thunder. In Ragnarok, you finally get to see both the actor and the character unleash their full potential. The Hulk is less of a monster here, and more of a big dummy who shouldn’t go near the rabbits. He speaks a lot in this one, and although he’s really funny, it’ll be hard to see him as the threat he once was. Thor and Hulk together had sort of a Dumb and Dumber type of relationship, only with superpowers -which doesn’t change that much when the Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner, played by Mark Ruffalo. Tom Hiddleston is back as the mischievous Loki, and yet again his behavior begs the question of “Okay… so is he good or bad?” Cate Blanchett plays the antagonist Hela, Goddess of Death, and makes for one of the most challenging villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Jeff Goldblum gives a quirky and hilarious performance as the Grandmaster, who throws an enslaved Thor into an arena to fight as a gladiator, where he meets the Hulk and is forced to challenge him despite being very excited to see him.
The funniest thing about Thor: Ragnarok is how it takes the superhero/mythology phenomena and blends it with mundane situations that we could easily relate to, like how Banner was annoyed at Thor for thinking he only wanted him around for his Hulk powers. You rarely see superheroes act and speak like normal people do, but Ragnarok takes two of Marvel’s most powerful characters and makes them more human. For that, we can credit Taika Waititi, the director of the film, who’s known for using this type of humor in his work. He also voices Korg, one of the minor characters, who steals every scene he’s in with his New Zealand accent and kindhearted personality, which is a bit ironic since he’s a monster made out of rocks.
There are two routes filmmakers often take when making a superhero movie. One of them is the dark gritty route, where Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy is a perfect example. The other is the more comedic making-fun-of-themselves route, where filmmakers make it very clear that they’re aware of how silly the premise is. The MCU usually finds a balance between the two, but with recent movies, it seems they’ve settled for the latter route. Despite some misplaced humor in some of their other movies, it seems like a good call, and with Thor: Ragnarok, they’ve nailed it!