Four years after his last solo film, the Norse god Thor returns to the big screen in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Currently sitting comfortably at 97% with 30 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, most critics agree that this lighter, less brooding take on the character and his mythos is far superior to the two previous entries in the Thor series and finally gives the character a personality.
That’s not to say the film’s perfect, however. While it’s been praised for its humor, a few critics pondered if there actually might be too many jokes in the action-packed romp.
Loosely borrowing from the Norse doomsday myth, “Thor: Ragnarok” finds the hero banished to a distant planet and forced to fight gladiator battles against his “friend from work,” the Hulk, essentially giving fans a “planet Hulk” movie despite Marvel repeatedly denying that fans would see the popular storyline in a film. At the same time, the thunder god must try to return to his home world of Asgard to prevent the goddess of death, Hela, from destroying his home and killing everyone in it.
“Thor: Ragnarok” smashes into theaters Nov. 3. Here’s what the critics are saying:
“Like Thor’s two previous solo outings, this one is pretty much skippable, although it’s not without its pleasures — most notably, the fact that Thor’s not so solo this time around, with cameos/co-starring opportunities for the Hulk, Doctor Strange and a few leftover bits of Tony Stark’s wardrobe (including a retro Duran Duran T-shirt that’s good for a laugh). And while it’s not saying much, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is easily the best of the three Thor movies — or maybe I just think so because its screenwriters and I finally seem to agree on one thing: The Thor movies are preposterous…Irreverent almost to the point of camp, that approach fits comfortably within the wheelhouse of Kiwi director Taika Waititi.”
“‘Thor’ movies have always looked cool in terms of eye-popping locales, but Waititi takes it to the next level: Everything on Sakaar is like a trippy 1960s Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Thor comic book come to life, while the more fantastic environments are akin to Led Zeppelin putting a Frank Frazetta painting to song…’Ragnarok’ is also the closest The House That Iron Man Built has come to a pure comedy. The ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movies, ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ and even ‘Ant-Man’ struck an enjoyable balance between the absurd and the serious that ‘Ragnarok’ just doesn’t quite nail.”
“‘Ragnarok’ is basically a Joke Delivery System — and on that score, it works. The movie is fun. Taika Waititi was mostly the right director for the job. Chris Hemsworth is hilarious. Tessa Thompson is going to be a star. And while ‘Ragnarok’s’ story is an aimless mess, you won’t stop laughing.”
“‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is a goofy, kitschy- but- fun romp and the most purely entertaining of the three Thor movies, marked by its distinctive designs, ’80s synth score, and assemblage of spirited characters. It’s carried by the excellent chemistry between Thor, Hulk, and Valkyrie, who give humanity to a visual effects-heavy spectacle that finally makes good on Thor’s title of God of Thunder. But it’s also a film fragmented by its clear preference for its B storyline (Sakaar) over its A storyline (Asgard). ‘Thor: Ragnarok’s’ desire to go for the gag also hurts the movie in a few key serious moments that deserved to pack more punch than they did.”
“Undoubtedly the best of the character’s three films, it’s more confident than the others, more kaleidoscopically colourful, and more eye-catching in its design. It has more coherent fight sequences and more impressive digital effects than its predecessors did. And while it takes its hero’s story to surprising new places, it has an endearing reverence for his comic-book roots: he keeps calling himself ‘The Mighty Thor,’ because that used to be the title of his monthly comic. More importantly, this sequel, or threequel, establishes its blond leading man as somebody who’s fun to hang around with for two hours.”
“‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is [Taika Waititi’s] first Hollywood feature, but what he’s done with ‘Ragnarok’ doesn’t just boil down to adding new characters or throwing in extra comedy. Instead, it’s an enthusiastic, hilarious reboot of the idea of what a Marvel movie can actually be, resulting in an effervescent, delightfully self-aware ride that was the most fun I’d had in a superhero movie in years.”
“It basically throws up its hands at its own ridiculousness and plays it all for laughs – and it gets them. The price of this irreverence is the possibility of taking anything that happens all that seriously – even the potential destruction of the Norse gods’ home (that’s not a spoiler either: it’s the title of the movie).”
“Is there anything to criticize? Of course. There’s some sleight drags in the pacing that are entirely excusable based on the service they give to the characters…There’s some world-building lore and backstory that fails to answer the complicated questions that the film asks, probably because it just wasn’t nearly as much fun as everything else happening on screen. But to say that there’s ten minutes that could’ve been cut, that’s a pretty mild criticism.”