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“Thor: Ragnarok” is Marvel’s funniest film to date

If there’s one black mark on Marvel’s resume to date, it’s that they’ve yet to really get the Thor franchise right. He’s worked as part of the group in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but in solo outings Thor and Thor: Ragnarok, he’s been the blandest character of the lot. Aside from Hulk, he’s essentially been the read headed stepchild of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, feature player wise. On Friday, the MCU gets an unexpected jolt of comedy from the God of Thunder when Thor: Ragnarok opens. Not only is this the best of the Thor trilogy by far, it’s also one of Marvel’s better overall works. You’ll see a ranking later on in the piece, but if you’re a fan of the lighter MCU works, this will be completely up your alley.

The film is the third in the Thor series for Marvel. After an opening where he comedically escapes a foe, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Asgard, which is being run by Loki (Tom Hiddleston), under the disguise of being their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Their problems grow, however, when their sister Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of Death arrives, bringing with her the apocalyptic event Ragnarok. She sends them off world, to a far off planet, where Thor is imprisoned and forced to compete in a gladiatorial contest against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), his former Avengers ally, all for the fun of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Thor must fight his way through it all, though not without a ton of jokes in the process. Taika Waititi directs a script from Craig Kyle, Eric Pearson, and Christopher Yost. The supporting cast here includes Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, and more, plus Waititi himself and a cameo from Benedict Cumberbatch. Cinematography is by Javier Aguirresarobe, while the score is from Mark Mothersbaugh.

Folks, this movie is hilarious. It already seemed like a winner considering how it was teaming up Thor with Hulk, but the fact that Waititi fuels this with laughter is a stroke of comedic genius. Letting Goldblum go to town as well results in some great moments, including one of the funniest post credits scenes in the MCU yet. The whole tone just works. When it becomes more of an action outing, it’s a bit more generic, though still livelier than previous Thor flicks. The movie is supremely entertaining. Marvel fans, whether you’ve been into Thor so far, should dig on it in a big way. Trust me, you’re in for a treat with this one.

Here is how I would rank all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe titles to date:

17. Thor: The Dark World
16. The Incredible Hulk
15. Iron Man 2
14. Thor
13. Iron Man 3
12. Avengers: Age of Ultron
11. Captain America: The First Avenger
10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
9. Ant-Man
8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
7. Doctor Strange
6. Thor: Ragnarok
5. Guardians of the Galaxy
4. The Avengers
3. Captain America: Civil War
2. Iron Man
1. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Don’t count out Thor: Ragnarok from contending for awards. If Oscar takes a shine to this Marvel project, it likely will be in the technical categories, but Disney could launch a full court press. Campaigns in Best Picture, Best Director (for Waititi), Best Actor (for Hemsworth), Best Supporting Actor (for Goldblum), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Kyle, Pearson, and Yost), Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects. The major categories are out of the question, though Goldblum in Supporting Actor would be wonderful. The techs, though? Those are potentially up for grabs.

Starting tomorrow, audiences can watch the God of Thunder become the God of Comedy when Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters. If you’ve been fond of Thor before in his solo outings, then you’ll really like this, since it’s a cut above. As you can see in the ranking I included, it’s managed to nearly crack the top five for the MCU overall. This should be a huge hit, both at the box office and just in general with audience love. Make sure you see it, as it’s one of the most purely enjoyable films of the fall so far. Plus, you know, Hulk smashes too…

Be sure to check out Thor: Ragnarok, in theaters everywhere this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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