Thor: Ragnarok Reviews Suggest We've Reached Peak MCU

Is it the funniest Marvel movie yet? How's the action? Where does Cate Blanchett's Hela rank in the Marvel villain pantheon?

by | October 19, 2017 | Comments

(Photo by Marvel Entertainment)

No longer limited by the confines of social media postings, critics are unleashing their full reviews of Thor: Ragnarok today and the buzz continues to be very strong. Could this be the best-reviewed entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet? Is it at least the funniest? The current champion of the former category is still the first installment, 2008’s Iron Man, with its 94% Tomatometer score.

Within a couple hours of the review embargo being lifted, though, Ragnarok sits at a very impressive 97%! Of course, things could change by the time the movie’s released on November 3 and more reactions have been published. For now, here’s a breakdown of the first wave of praise and criticism of the latest MCU blockbuster:

Is this the best Marvel movie yet?

It just might – might! – be the greatest Marvel movie.
David Jenkins, Little White Lies

It’s not even a question that Thor: Ragnarok is the best of the Thor movies and it’s certainly up there as far as the best in the MCU.
Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Is this the funniest Marvel movie yet?

Unquestionably [the] funniest big-screen Marvel adventure…it’s a triumph.
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

Marvel’s funniest superhero movie…Thor: Ragnarok never goes too long before landing another fresh punchline.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire

Funnier than all other Marvel movies to date and has a specific tone that might throw off some fans.
Kyle Anderson, Nerdist

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed this hard during another Marvel movie and there are a lot of funny moments in other Marvel movies.
Mike Ryan, Uproxx

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Is Cate Blanchett the best MCU villain so far?

She adds a delicious sense of scene-chewing malevolence to the mix. Hela is an incredibly powerful villain, capable of separating Thor from his hammer — but she also takes obvious, compelling delight in being as evil as she can at any given moment…given Ragnarok’s overall tone, it plays as a celebration, as if Hela is intentionally trying to one-up every villain in the universe.
Bryan Bishop, The Verge

Blanchett walks away with the movie; verbally, she plays like Dame Diana Rigg channeling both Joan Crawford and Eve Arden, and her physical slink (in one of Marvel Comics’ most wonderfully baroque costumes) calls to mind the sexy evil robot from Metropolis.
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

Blanchett faces her own gladiatorial battle: with the curse of the squandered Marvel villains. She wins by dint of blazing charisma but she is underused, reduced to oozing malignantly around Asgard and spearing victims.
Kevin Harley, Total Film

She’s underutilized for the duration of the movie; Waititi falls short of giving this first-rate actress anything substantial to do with the role. It’s no secret that Marvel has a long-running villain problem, and rather than solving it, Waititi finds another tangent.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire

Surely, there have to be other ways to play female evil than just “threat-threat-punchline,” “threat-threat-punchline.”
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

If there’s a weak link in the line-up it’s Blanchett’s Hela. While undeniably striking as Alice Cooper’s stroppy sister, she’s one-note.
James Dyer, Empire

How awesome is Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie?

[She’s] a warrior, serving up an impressive side of emotion with her meaty action scenes. Her hard drinking and scrapper lifestyle make her more relatable and fun than, may the sisterhood forgive me, the goody two-shoes Wonder Woman.
Rachel Weber, Total Film

[She’s] the film’s key scene-stealer.
Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

It’s clear in every scene she’s in that she’s the biggest badass in the room, even standing next to the massive Hemsworth, and the digital behemoth that is Hulk.
Kyle Anderson, Nerdist

The stand-out supporting player isn’t any of the fellas, but Tessa Thompson as a Valkyrie…the Marvel universe needs to see more of her. She’s a star.
– Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Who else steals the movie?

Goldblum is actually the best thing about the movie, since he openly mocks the film’s underlying silliness.
Peter Debruge, Variety

Urban looks like he’s having a blast, and he really makes one of Marvel’s most over-the-top character designs work for him.
– Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Doing some of the best ‘hand acting’ since Jurassic Park, Goldblum is mesmeric in every single scene he’s in and when he’s not on screen, you will find yourself wishing he were.
– Linda Marric, HeyUGuys

You’d happily watch a feature length spin-off focusing on every single side player. We’ll be first in line for the Korg movie.
– David Jenkins, Little White Lies

How Is Chris Hemsworth as Thor this time around?

The relatively laidback angle on all the murderous spree-ing gives Chris Hemsworth a chance to find the comic groove beneath the title character’s beefcake godliness. He does it expertly, and the self-mocking humor is all the more welcome given Thor’s essential blandness.
Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

This is top to bottom Hemsworth’s movie, and in his fifth time playing Thor, is at his very peak.
– Kyle Anderson, Nerdist

This time, he’s in on the joke, his overconfidence leading the way as if he’s absorbed some degree of Iron Man’s charisma and filtered it through his own theatricality.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

How about Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk?

Hulk, as performed by Mark Ruffalo with a great vocal Lou Ferrigno impersonation, is the most comic-book Hulk of any Marvel movie to date.
Luke Y. Thompson, Wizard

Ruffalo delights equally as Bruce Banner: an inspired straight man in too-tight trousers.
James Dyer, Empire

How is the action?

[Ragnarok] feels a little light on action, even with the centerpiece Hulk versus Thor sequence.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Marvel has delivered something that isn’t an action movie leavened with humour, but a full-bore comedy using blockbuster spectacle as a backdrop for gags.
James Dyer, Empire

Waititi’s handling of action is just fine, perhaps better than that of the Russo brothers, who fatally succumbed to the temptations of stutter-vision.
Luke Y. Thompson, Wizard

Are there any other problems?

The disjointed first act rushes its emotional beats.
Kelli Weston, The Skinny

Ragnarok’s story is an aimless mess.
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

It does have its drawbacks, particularly when it comes to the more serious drama the narrative offers.
Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

When the film shifts gears into traditional Marvel mode, it prompts a twinge of regret, because no fight sequence can live up to the eccentricity that runs through the rest of the film.
Bryan Bishop, The Verge

Thor: Ragnarok opens in theaters on Friday, November 3.

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