The latest Marvel movie to arrive this November is the delightful “Thor: Ragnarok,” directed by Taika Waititi. The third entry in the series of Thor movies follows the god of thunder himself (Chris Hemsworth) as he tries to escape a gladiatorial contest and prevent the goddess of death, Hela (Cate Blanchett), from destroying his homeworld of Asgard. Thor also bumps into his old friend Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and his mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), in this lighthearted space opera.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is Marvel’s funniest movie, and this is in large part because of the director, Taika Waititi, whose previous films include comedies “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.” Waititi brings a specifically silly and improvisational tone to the film which sets it apart from other more comedy-driven entries like “Guardian of the Galaxy.” It seems like this movie gives unprecedented freedom to its director to put an original stamp on the franchise, breaking from the sameness that makes some of the other MCU movies feel tedious and unmemorable. Waititi also plays the movie’s funniest character: a creature made of rocks named Korg. Every character has their moments of humor–even Thor– a previously dull, hulking hero with no personality. Highlights include Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster, delivering the most Jeff Goldblum-esque performance imaginable, and the now permanently-transformed Hulk, who is trapped on the planet Sakaar as a battle contender.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is entertaining and colorful from beginning to end. Some audiences may take issue with how this movie takes very little seriously; there are few moments of pathos or gravity that play out before another joke is delivered. But others will find “Thor” a refreshing break in the never-ending superhero saga, a movie that remembers what comic book stories can be: fun.