Genre: Action, Adventure, Comic, Science Fiction, Superhero.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Hopkins.
Year Of Release: 2017
Certificate: 12A (UK)
Runtime: 120 Minutes
Director: Taiki Waititi
Writer(s): Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Synopsis: “Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.” IMDB
Thor has been one of the more underperforming characters in solo films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I have never thought they were bad films particularly, but they just were never at the heights of other solo ventures or even team-up films like Avengers: Age Of Ultron or Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Thor always felt kind of underdeveloped so when Ragnorak details started coming out it felt like they were finally utilising what Thor could be. I will say Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t break the trusted Marvel formula, but what it does do is stretch the comedy to Taiki’s preference which is a great addition.
17 films in, can Marve deliver another hit, or is the dreaded “superhero fatigue” you see on social media truly a thing. I can say that Marvel Studios have delivered another big hit in their ever-growing universe, and this is by far the best Thor film to date. Taiki Waititi’s approach to the character was a breath of fresh air, while the film is comedic heavy it also manages to deliver some big hitting dramatic moments. The story is rather basic, but the squeeze in a lot of fun within the basic framework, they do a wonderful job of intertwining established characters with the new members to the point it feels like they have been involved in the franchise for years. They do well to use existing MCU plot points but bring in their own to shake up the Marvel formula a bit in a way Doctor Strange also did, but the film owes a fair bit of respect to films that have lead up to this in recent years like Strange, GOTG Vol.2 and Ant-Man which are all formulaic but take it into their own hands.
Thor: Ragnarok is one of the most visually stunning films to date in regards to visual effects, the grandeur delivered in some of the scenes is breathtaking. There is a specifically beautiful shot (pictured below) that comes during a flashback to Hela’s backstory, it feels like it was ripped straight from Norse Mythology it’s a piece of renaissance (I think, I’m not an art lover, you know the one’s likes of Da Vinci or Michelangelo) artwork. However, not all the visuals hit at times some of the effects were a little underwhelming, Hulk just doesn’t look as good as he used to, his in film appearance is much better than the trailer version though. For the most part, the visuals are stellar with spectacular shots too like the one above and the opening with Thor and Surtur, while Surtur himself has a few lackluster scenes which are saved by surroundings.
One thing you can say is uniform across the MCU to date is the casting, and Thor: Ragnarok is not an exception to that rule, the cast is superb as always. Returning Hemsworth is charming, mesmerising and a down right bad ass as the titular Thor, Hiddleston returns as Loki, who is arguably one of the best villains throughout the Marvel films even is his villainy takes a back seat to a more “good” (loosely) guy role which he kills as he always does. Hemsworth and Hiddleston have one of the best on-screen broken brotherly dynamics I have seen on the big screen in many years, who also goes hand-in-hand with Thor and Hulk’s chemistry which hits new heights this time around. It’s not only the returning cast that deserve credit the vastly talented Cate Blanchett joins the franchise as Hela who is incredibly villainous that Blanchett really brings something special to, Hela is one of the better villains the MCU has seen Blanchett does a great job in making you despise Hela but also feel for her in a way similar to how you felt about Loki early on. Along with Blanchett, Tess Thomson joins the MCU as Valyrie, who seamlessly fits straight into the world she feels like she has been a staple since Thor (2011) she blends right into which is a testament to Thomson she’s able to blend in and stand out, she’s a very welcomed addition to the team. Does Jeff Goldblum even need talking about? I mean can he ever not be charming and a delight to watch? He’s incredible as always, Grandmaster is a charming madman, the stand-out addition to the cast is Taiki Waititi himself, voice and mocapping Korg who is one of the funniest and most relatable rock aliens you’ll ever see, also keep your eyes peeled for some epic cameos in the Thor stage production.
Overall, Thor: Ragnarok is a wonderful addition to the MCU, there is equal comedy as there is dramatic stakes, going in I was a little worried it would just be comedy, but Waititi has a great combination of the two. There is a incredible blend of characters and story, with neither taking the back seat to the other, the film helps advance us towards Avengers: Infinity War while simultaneously giving us a brilliant standalone film too. Ragnarok is the Action-Comedy “road movie” Ruffalo said it would be, but at its heart, it is still very much a comic film that capitalises on the wonderful world that’s been buit to this point with Waititi’s touches to make it truly unique. It is easily the best of the Thor trilogy, and wouldn’t be surprised if it broke into many peoples top 5 MCU films and expect to see it in top 5s the end of the year.