Marvel continues to domineer the super-hero movie market with this year’s autumn release, “Thor: Ragnarok.” Since Anthony and Joe Russo’s treacherous “Captain America: Civil War,” Marvel fans have itched to learn the fate of that movie’s missing characters, Thor and the Hulk. This movie satisfies those super-cravings. “Ragnarok” kicks off humorously and, like most other Marvel movies, that humor reemerges throughout the plot (think Captain America’s fowl language comment from “Avengers: Age of Ultron”). Considering the tone of Marvel’s preceding films such as Scott Derrickson’s “Doctor Strange,” and Jon Watts’ vibrant, yet sneakily menacing “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” director Taika Waititi’s double motif of the ominous and the lighthearted marches right along with Marvel’s modus operandi.
Upon another victorious return to Asgard, Thor finds his home clouded by a looming threat. The movie hangs on the Norse tail of “Ragnarok,” the end days of Asgard, resulting in the death of the gods. Thor, with the help of Loki, Heimdall, and others, vows to prevent his kingdom’s reckoning, but finds himself banished to a universal wasteland run by a wacky overlord. Along the way, Thor encounters Hulk, who arrived at the same place via a S.H.I.E.L.D. Quinjet (with which the Hulk went AWOL in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), and enlists his help. Together, the two Avengers attempt to find their way back to Asgard and save its people.
While Marvel plugs right along with the production of this movie, it easily shakes the obligatory feeling experienced in Thor’s previous two standalone movies. As always, the comic book company’s ability to weave the plots of its movies demonstrates creative skill and meticulous attention to detail. Marvel boasts much craftsmanship and resourcefulness, and the crowning of Taika Waititi, a small-time, indie director, as the king of this film-set demonstrates bravado, considering the New Zealander’s résumé. Despite how “Ragnarok” doesn’t stray away from Marvel’s typical approach, Waititi leaves his own vibe on the film, most notably with the small character of Skurge, whose foolishness initially relegates him to simple comic relief. As the plot thickens and then closes, however, he serves a larger-than-expected purpose. This character arc, along with a transformation for Thor himself, validates Waititi’s ability to authenticate his work. As one who usually enjoys Marvel movies, I left satisfied. Hats off to Taika Waititi, whose work may now deservingly draw a larger crowd.
Jack McPherson is a junior studying history and politics.