In celebration of Taika Waititi’s birthday, let’s sit down and go through why his Thor: Ragnarok was the best film in the Thor franchise. From an outsider’s perspective, Ragnarok looks nothing like the previous Thor movies. And you would be correct. The Thor films have always have a slightly darker and grimmer tinge to them, and frankly, a little boring. For the God of Thunder, his films have always come across a little stiff and slow-moving.
Let’s be honest, for both Thor films, the only interesting aspect of both was Loki’s presence. Tom Hiddleston gave such an amazing performance each time as the trickster god that it solidified him as not only one of Marvel’s best villains, but one of the MCU’s most look forward to characters. Loki himself was meant to die in Thor: The Dark World, but due to his popularity the death was recanted and thank the Allfather for that. Can you imagine a character like Loki dying in a film so lackluster that even the main villain of the film disliked his role in it?
And now that there has been some good distance between now and Thor: The Dark World (and Thor 1), we can all admit there was just far too much filler footage with Jane and Darcy. What was probably meant as a means to ground a character like a god and an Asgardian, only served to annoy audiences and cause myself to fast forward through their scenes whenever I’m rewatching the Thor movies.
All of that suddenly stopped. Thor: Ragnarok’s trailer alone was so beautiful and deserved multiple rewatches. Chris Hemsworth was a good enough actor, but I truthfully never felt he stood out in the MCU despite being the strongest Avenger. I now see that he needed someone like Taika Waititi to give him room and encouragement to give us the Thor we never knew we needed.
From the first scene where Thor is giving u a voice-over recap of what he’s been doing since last seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron, we knew this was a different tone than what we have seen before. From heckling Surtur (as opposed to his normal brooding), to the epic music of Led Zeppelin playing, it was a high-energy, fun way to start the movie off.
As opposed to the first Thors, which primarily took place on Earth and Asgard, we jump around slightly in Ragnarok. And everyone is sharper than we’ve seen. From Anthony Hopkins playing Loki playing Odin, to Dr. Strange’s brief cameo, to sometimes the sheer ridiculousness of everything, we know we’re watching a different movie than we have seen before. And let’s not mention the absolute gem that is Jeff Goldblum, who gave Ragnarok material gold.
From an outside view, Thor: Ragnarok seems like it could have been a campy version of what we’ve gotten in the past, but no. You would be wrong. Despite all the bright colors and comedic gold, there’s a lot of issues going on here that are probably masked by the lighthearted moments; much like what we saw in Deadpool 2. We have the death of Thor’s father Odin, where he acknowledges his love for both Thor and Loki. With their father’s death, we see them both contend with their estrange sister Hela, who though evil, sheds light on how she had simply done her father’s biding. And when he decided to turn a new leaf, he simply cast her aside.
We also have Thor and Loki working with each other. This isn’t the reluctant way we saw in The Dark World, no they’re genuinely working together. Loki even warns Thor against contending with the Grandmaster’s champion, knowing anyone who has gone before them met an ill fate. And even though Loki has a brief moment of his old trickery, as Thor states “you could be more”. And we see at the end, Loki is the one bringing the ship to save the Asgardians. Even though he always felt they had their backs turned on him, he saved them regardless and we could see a look of utter hopelessness when Thor states to Loki earlier in the film that they’d probably never see each other after their current mission.
We also see a glimpse of Valkyrie’s past and how the painful memory of battling Hela and losing everyone has led her to become removed from life and a heavy drinker. I really appreciated that Taika decided not to make Valkyrie a romantic interest of Thor’s, though; there was definitely chemistry. Instead, Thor looked up to Valkyrie and her military status; even Loki in awe of what that meant to Asgardian culture. We all stan fans of a strong woman.
Either way, Taika gave us an amazing Thor film that for me, was certainly my favorite. In the past, we have seen Thor’s power essentially be centered to his hammer and when that is destroyed, we were all left wondering what he was going to do. But, Taika showed us how powerful Thor really is – he’s the God of Thunder and his power comes from within him. I became completely invested in Thor’s character and that interest bled into Infinity War, where he became one of the best story-lines the film had to offer.
Happy Birthday Taika Waititi!
A girl with too many fandoms to count.