'Thor: Ragnarok' review: Humor saves the day

Of all the major characters of the Marvel multiverse, Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, is perhaps the one who has the hardest time figuring out who he really is.

Identity crisis

In Kenneth Branagh's Thor (2011), he is portrayed as a hoity-toity royal, a god caught in the middle of a standard superhero plot with Shakespearean intentions. In Alan Taylor's Thor: The Dark World (2013), he's a hopeless romantic whose mission is to save his girl while saving the world.

The seemingly perfect superhero has developed a sense of humor while fighting alongside his other super-powered teammates in the many Avengers films and their various spin-offs, paving the way for the character to be treated with enough irreverence to be fun even without the spectacle.

Screengrab from YouTube/Marvel Entertainment

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok is perhaps the character's most entertaining outing yet.

The film's plot doesn't really aim for uniqueness since it is still adamantly about superheroes defeating super villains. The saving-the-world scenario has a roundabout way of going about its predictable conclusion, with Thor being spirited away to a planet lorded by The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), a peculiar being who stages fights for his own personal pleasure. This opens the film to opportunities to frolic out of its predestined mold and fully embrace the preposterousness that seems to be the ultimate direction of Marvel's never-ending thread of superhero films. 

 

 

Hilarious contempt

It helps that Thor starts out with an identity crisis.

This becomes the basis of the film's pronounced comedy. The superhero is essentially unable to fathom his role in the universe. When he finally finds his ailing father (Anthony Hopkins), he also finds out that he has an evil sister (Cate Blanchett) and that he isn't the rightful heir to his Midgardian throne. When he brandishes his royalty in front of his captor, he is further embarrassed and treated with even less respect.

Photo from Walt Disney Company

Essentially, Waititi treats the superhero with hilarious contempt, which proves to be the film's grandest asset.

Photo from Walt Disney Company

Thor loses his hammer, his godhood, his blonde locks, and his status as an Avenger. Thor: Ragnarok is akin to a situational comedy, a series of smartly written sketches that draws humor from the various misfortunes of a character who finds himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Draped with lively colors and strange settings that overindulge in absurdity, the film refuses to be dull under the weight of a genre that tries too hard for relevance amid criticism of being redundant and formulaic.

Satisfied with its silliness

Photo from Walt Disney Company

Thor: Ragnarok is satisfied with its aimless silliness.

At the end of the day, it is just one of the many pit stops in the Marvel multiverse's quest for finality. All it can do is to make that journey as fun and painless as possible. – Rappler.com

 

Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.