The God of Thunder’s return to the big screen strikes a timely balance between gravitas, humor, and big, dumb fun.
This article contains spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok.
Is it ever okay to laugh at death?
This was the question stuck in my mind as I waited for the obligatory Marvel end-of-credits scene after Thor: Ragnarok. Many people/aliens/gods die in the thunder god’s return to the big screen—and I laughed a lot.
Right from its opening scene, Ragnarok is a colorful, campy sendup of the superhero genre, even as its storyline and thematic elements are decidedly morbid. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) greets the audience in voiceover from a cage in the hellish domain of the fire demon Surtur. He’s chatty and smug, joking about Surtur’s appearance before the expected CGI-infused battle begins. This scene sets the tone for the remainder of the film: Even in the midst of hell itself, this is all meant to be a good time.
New Zealand director Taika Waititi’s previous two films, What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, were strong, smart comedies with similarly dark humor about issues of mortality. Shadows is a mockumentary following the undead escapades of a group of vampires living as flatmates. Wilderpeople is essentially a remake of Pixar’s Up, as both stories depict a cantankerous man’s journey of grief following the tragic death of a spirited spouse as he hikes around a jungle with an unwelcome boy.
Following suit, much of the plot (and the humor) in Ragnarok centers on the deaths of individuals and how people respond in the wake of death. Death is even personified in the goddess of death, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the elder sister of Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who appears after the sudden loss of their father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Hela is a formidable opponent, and it’s taken all of …
Source: Christianity Today Most Read