While the character Thor was successful in terms of audience's appreciation, the fact remained that many fans never gravitated towards Thor's solo films. That all changed last November when Thor: Ragnarok hit theaters worldwide. With the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and their journeys in the cosmic realm of the MCU, the brass at Marvel decided to have Thor and Hulk enter the colorful and comedic section of the universe. While the change of direction with Thor in his solo-adventures turned the corner in terms of audience appreciation, fans of the original material before might be left disappointed.
In case you missed it, I already reviewed Thor: Ragnarok on this site already and if you are interested, you can check out the review for that film here. While I have been a fan of the first two outings of Thor, I can agree with many fans that his solo films are amongst the weakest in the MCU. There is no faulting Hemsworth for his film but more on the conflicting directions, character development choices, and tonal shifts within his adventures. With Marvel struggling to capitalize on the Thor property, the decided to give him another change of direction, shifting away from the mystical aspect of his stories and more towards the oddity aspect of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. How conveniently Thor fits in to this side of the MCU is a nice breathe of fresh air for the character.
Hemsworth does another incredible job at playing the role of Hulk alongside Ruffalo and Hiddleston. While Loki does play a prominent role in Ragnarok, Hiddleston is not overused like in Thor: The Dark World. Loki is used sparingly and effectively. The use of the Loki character in this film might be the best run for Hiddleston since being the main villain in The Avengers. Buffalo coming back as Hulk after a two-year hiatus was a sight for sore eyes. I still wonder if Ruffalo's run as the Hulk is so good because he's used very well or if he seriously is that good. I wish we would get more films with Ruffalo as the Hulk but sadly that probably won't happen with Universal still owning distribution rights over the character.
The biggest difference between Thor's previous films and Ragnarok is the amount of comedy on screen. The Thor franchise has never shied away from comedy but the amount that is in Thor: Ragnarok is definitely a change in the franchise. As mentioned above, Guardians of the Galaxy had a huge influence on this film and Marvel used this film as an opportunity to capitalize on the want for more films like Guardians. That decision was a financially successful one with Ragnarok being the highest grossing solo film for Thor domestically and worldwide.
While I thoroughly enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok and laughed all the way through the movies, I do miss the original interpretation of Thor. I miss MCU trying to convert Thor's solo stories into their version of Game of Thrones. Sadly, that directional failure along with audience reactions forced Marvel to course correct and lead us to where we are. While I enjoy Thor: Ragnarok for what it is and believe the film to be one of the best in the MCU, I am still left wondering "What If?".