Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok

Last year’s Civil War took my crown as my favourite Marvel film but Thor: Ragnrarok is attempting to kick that door down…

The story:

The Asgardian civilization comes under threat yet again from the powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett). Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) become embroiled in the defensive quest to prevent an evil prophecy from coming true; the Ragnarok. Whilst attempting to save his homeland, Thor becomes imprisoned on planet Sakaar where his only opportunity of freedom is by defeating The Grandmaster’s winning warrior, who turns out to be Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)

Thoughts:

17 – yes, 17 Marvel films have been released and we haven’t even hit the 10 year mark yet. It’s safe to say that the audience are pretty used to seeing the same structure. However, now the Marvel characters & storylines are more developed, this allows for the fun to commence and Taika Waititi definitely delivers that. The New Zealander was a surprise directorial choice with his repertoire boasting nothing as ambitious as an Marvel movie; however he has altered the railway line in such a positive direction. This isn’t just another plain clothed action show; this is a bold and outrageous flirtation that has dared to go where no other Marvel film has stretched towards.

The third instalment in the franchise is set after the events of ‘Age of Ultron’ where I felt Thor kind of blended in with the background. In Ragnrarok, no time is wasted putting him on his rightful pedestal as the opening scenes bounce between a sarcastic flurry of interruptions with the demon Surtur (Clancy Brown); to a clever, witty showdown with brother Loki. In these first few scenes, there is already more comedy than in the entirety of some of  the other films, but Waititi doesn’t let it overwhelm the depth of the plot.

Featuring themes of genocide and emotional pain, there are several weighty driving forces that complete the film; however I wouldn’t suggest it touches the heartstrings. There is a loss of an integral character but the way it was executed felt rushed to me so it’s significance was downplayed. A few little things such as this didn’t make me emotionally connect to the film. Compare this to say Iron Man 3 and this becomes one of the films disadvantages. However this is one of few, and the advantages massively outweigh it.

After being spit out from the Bi-frost mid travel, Thor and Loki become entrapped with Sakaar – a junkyard planet of visual beauty. One of my favourite scenes was Thor traveling through a rollercoaster VR introducing ‘The Grandmaster’ (Jeff Goldbum) with a background tune of Willy Wonka’s Pure Imagination; it was an absolute perfect parallel! (I will rave about the performances later)  Thor then becomes a gladiatorial opponent against the Grandmaster’s star warrior – The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) This segment of the movie is what projects it’s brilliance. The eccentric dalliance between the two showcases a love/hate relationship as if they were brothers and/or best friends. We see Hulk more responsive than ever and he challenges Thor on all levels when they share the screen.

The comedy was gold. It fluctuated between nonsensical bitching, to straight out insults, to secret sex jokes, to Thor having the image of Hulks penis sketched on his brain. Yes – Waititi really pushed it that fa; but I’m so glad he did.  Unfortunately my cinema was quite devoid of feelings but I happily laughed all the way through. Not forgetting about the action; there was plenty of fight to please. ‘Thor – God of Thunder’ isn’t just a title anymore, it is now a thing. What I mean by that, is that he became the God of Thunder. His unstoppable Mjolnir was finally stopped, so it was down to him to deliver the thunder within and yes sir, he did. Waititi has raised Thor’s game, showing him off as a prized possession that is individually special and has fulfilled his magnificent potential.

With black locks, piercing eyes, and the ability to throw hundreds of daggers, Hela appeared as one of the most exciting villains to appear in the recent Marvel movies. Her demeanour and seemingly increased aggressiveness compared to what we’ve seen, really got me intrigued to start. However, the common downfall with all of these films occurred; her role fell flat. Amongst the brilliant chaos, she slowly became lost within the plot. It’s a shame because her intensity could have carried her far, however I think I actually prefer it this way? If Waititi had focused his efforts elsewhere, then other parts would have suffered and the other parts are so brilliant on their own anyway.

Right, let’s talk performances shall we! It seems a few opportunities in comedy have served Chris Hemsworth as he comfortably pushed Thor to his limits. Tom Hiddleston, as always, delivered Loki like no one else could. Mark Ruffalo brought more life to Hulk than I have ever seen and I loved being able to attach more to his character. Although the role fell flat, Cate Blanchett did not. It felt strange at first to watch her in something so different; but she’s exquisite at holding herself to a role.

A real star of the show is now doubt Jeff Goldblum; this part was made for him. His quirky and smutty ‘Grandmaster’ is literally Goldblum in disguise (excuse the pun) A character I wasn’t expecting to like so much was the new addition of Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie. She isn’t a stereotypical, female protagonist and I think that’s what I like. She is verging on alcoholism, which is a surprising inclusion, but her rebellious nature wins over the audience (and Thor)

Conclusion:

Thor:Ragnarok is no doubt one of the best additions to the Marvel universe. Taika Waititi has forged a superhero masterpiece but why is it so good? Simply because it dared to be different. When would you ever dream of seeing Hulk’s bare arse or Thor joking about masturbation on the big screen? There’s even a few swear words chucked in the there for good measure.

The transition from previous storylines worked ok. I felt like Loki did just jump out of nowhere with no explanation but maybe  will see this in Infinity War. The villainous side of the story could have been strengthened, and yes – more Loki is always wanted; but overall it’s a great film. Tip – There are a few famous cameos toward the start that you need to look out for and this will only increase your viewing pleasure. A stylish, hilarious re-working of Marvel magic that you need to see if you are a fan.

4 out of 5 locks of luscious Thor hair

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