I’ve been waiting to see this one for a little while now and to start with, this is a great film to watch in the cinema, especially with a large crowd which, even after a few weeks of being out, my cinema had. As great a ride as it was, it wasn’t without its flaws.
Marvel has had a shaky time with Thor, his films have been released to a mixed response but the characters are still very much beloved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Third time round the studio decided to hire Taika Waititi to direct Ragnarok, the brilliant New Zealander who directed films like What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. And Waititi definitely brought his humorous style of filmmaking with him. When a director as unique and original as Waititi comes along, you expect a different flavour of film and Ragnarok definitely feels like Waititi in the dialogue department. However, it doesn’t really do anything different with Marvel’s formula of storytelling, despite poking fun at it throughout.
There’s signs that Marvel are changing their ways; female characters aren’t love interests (and are allowed to be villains), Earth doesn’t have to play a significant role, the film has some weird and wacky design elements and the old cast is out for a new take on the god of thunder. However, the story is just another case of the big bad being bad and the hero needs to stop the big bad in the final act. There’s a lot of fun to be had in between the setup and the conclusion but ultimately this is another film that follows the basic tropes of what Marvel has already perfected many a time. Spider-Man: Homecoming looked to be the start of a different kind of Marvel film but ultimately we’ve gone a step backwards with Ragnarok. If I hadn’t enjoyed the comedy and characters so much then I might have disliked this one a lot more.
This film really does rest on its characters backs. Chris Hemsworth proving once again he’s a comic to be reckoned with, with his brilliant timing and almost Monty Python esque Thor. Tom Hiddleston kills it as Loki again although that was always to be expected. Cate Blanchett hams it up in a good way as Hela and although the villain is better than most of the bad guys Marvel has put on the big screen, she still didn’t feel iconic enough to be classed as a truly great antagonist. Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie was a very cool addition to the cast, she’s a drunk and a badass, it’s a fun combination. Mark Ruffalo returns with a more developed version of The Hulk and Jeff Goldblum essentially plays himself and it’s a much-welcomed addition to the franchise.
The middle act of the film is primarily set on the planet Sakaar, a junkyard planet with weird and wonderful characters and some odd and medieval cultures. This section of the film is the best, it’s a love letter to artist Jack Kirby and also features some great synth scores. This should have been the film in my opinion, with Hela maybe left to make an impact in the future and the crazy adventures of Thor, Hulk and Valkyrie the main show.
I feel like I’m criticising a film I enjoyed watching, so if nothing else, Thor: Ragnarok is a Saturday morning cartoon come to life complete with some cartoon-y CGI. It’s a fun ride, it’s got a lot of humour but the story just might feel a little familiar after sitting through seventeen entries in the franchise. Mix it up Marvel, we’re going to watch a film with your name on it either way. However, the characters endure and are a joy to watch together as well as being very funny. I’m rating Thor: Ragnarok a 3.5/5.
What did you think of the film, the best Thor of the bunch or the worst? Let me know in the comments below.
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