So up until about a year ago if you asked me about the character Thor I'd go off on a several-minute rant about exactly why I despised him in the comics as well as the MCU. He was too straight-faced, he got caught in really stupid traps, he put others in danger because he was too trusting. It was like someone gave a credulous three year old lightning powers and a hammer.
I've been relaxing about Thor in comics for a while - Squirrel Girl was largely instrumental there - but I'd maintained my apathetic-to-actively-aggressive attitude toward the MCU Thor. The Thor films seemed tedious and overly earnest, the character was inflexibly THOR, confused Asguardian who doesn't understand you silly hu-mans.
Ragnarok fixed that for me. Thor gets to be really silly. Thor gets to talk about his ridiculous history with Loki. Thor puts his foot in his mouth talking to people who are equally godlike and immortal. Thor experiences consequences.
I loved what Ragnarok did for the character of Thor and I actually appreciated Loki's opportunities for growth as well.
The rest of the film, well, that wasn't stupendous. Almost everything involving Hela was tedious and frustrating to sit through, the time on Sakkar seemed to drag on and I actually didn't like the Grandmaster character at all (not as in he's a bad guy and you're not supposed to like him, as in he wasn't even fun to watch and the "whee I'm so zany" writing seemed really forced) though the post-credits scene was pretty great. The "save my people because Asgard is my people, not a place" thing was actually a decent motivation and they pulled it off well.
I also liked the other gladiators and enjoyed watching them but they were perhaps a bit too silly. They weren't awful, just maybe a bit misused or overdone? "Fuck off, ghost" is a great line but "Oh, my god, the hammer pulled you off?" is maybe taking the jokes a bit too far.
The movie as a whole wasn't really that fantastic (it did look great), which is a shame because Taika Waititi is fucking fantastic and I want him to make so many more movies, but it did loads to rehabilitate the character of Thor for me and I'm really glad for that.
- Alli Kirkham