Movie Review | Thor: Ragnarok
Movie Summary: Imprisoned, the almighty 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 civilisation. (IMDb)
Taika Waititi’s latest film, and first of potentially multiple entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a strange beast, full of fantastic moments, but no truly great scenes or sequences. While it’s one of the funniest films of the last few years, it’s also one of the most superficial.
One of the main issues with the other MCU films of 2017 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming – was the tendency to go for the joke or lighter moment rather than anything truly affecting. Thor: Ragnarok takes this problem and - appropriately - dials it up to eleven.
The earlier MCU films were light in tone, but still had their moments of deeper emotion and sincerity, which is what Ragnarok is lacking. This film is funnier than both of the films preceding it, which is quite the compliment, but lacks that vital element of heart to make it memorable.
That is a pretty major flaw, but is also the only real problem with the film. Yes, Cate Blanchett’s Hela is a little more underwhelming than hoped for, but the MCU films have always been about the heroes and their stories rather than their adversaries.
Thor: Ragnarok is an absolutely gorgeous film, full of colour and light, with enough action taking place of Earth that the visual design is really allowed to go crazy, surpassing even both Guardians of the Galaxy films – although still falling a little short of Doctor Strange’s otherworldly sights.
Speaking of the good Doctor, his cameo is a great example of more MCU world-building, present for one scene that doesn’t feel forced while giving Stephen Strange his first contact with one of the Avengers – Cumberbatch and Hemsworth already display great chemistry together.
Saying that, Chris Hemsworth finally gets a chance to truly shine and works brilliantly with whoever he happens to be sharing the screen with at any given moment: the antagonism with Hela, the feisty flirting with Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, or the welcome return of his sibling rivalry with Loki.
The latter two are given great moments as well, which audiences have come to expect from Hiddleston’s trickster god, but may be pleasantly surprised by Valkyrie. Thompson is a lot of fun to watch and a great addition to Thor’s supporting cast – it will be interesting to see her meet Lady Sif.
It will primarily be interesting because of Sif’s absence from the film – explained by the studio as having been sent away from Asgard by Loki – as a lot of characters from the earlier films are killed off quickly here. Suitable for the end of the world scenario, but a little disappointing that characters who have been around since 2011 are dispatched with such little fanfare.
They are replaced by (appropriately) smashing the Planet Hulk story-line from the comics into Thor’s story, not only allowing the big green guy to join in the fun, but Korg and Miek too. Amusingly, Korg is voiced by Waititi himself and is arguably the funniest character in the entire film.
By the time the credits roll, Ragnarok has done a version of its mythological story, wiping clear the old world of Thor’s story and creating a new one going forward. How the next two Avengers films affect the situation will be very interesting, especially taking into account what the leaked Avengers: Infinity War footage from San Diego Comic Con revealed about Thor’s introduction to that story.
Ignoring what’s to come for now, all that’s left to be said is that Thor: Ragnarok is an incredibly funny film with some truly amazing comedic performances from everyone involved, stunning looks, a fantastic score – and Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song – and great action that will keep you entertained throughout, but might not make much of a lasting impression.