Thor, stripped of his famed hammer Mjolnir, finds himself stranded on the edge of the galaxy. There he must assemble a team of fellow heroes to rescue Asgard from the clutches of Hela, goddess of death, and prevent Ragnarok, the annihilation of his home.
“The Thor films have, up until now, been quite bland both visually and in terms of story”
Thor Ragnarok is an excellent film, it has to be said. Director Taika Watiti has really excelled here. The Thor films have, up until now, been quite bland both visually and in terms of story – the first was a simple story done well but ultimately lacked the ambition of other MCU entries, while the second is generally accepted to be the worst MCU entry to date alongside Iron Man 2. Thor Ragnarok, then, with its kaleidoscopic visuals, entertaining ensemble cast and hilarious dialogue, quite easily surpasses both of its predecessors.
This film, as many expected given Taika Watiti’s comedic pedigree (if you haven’t seen What We Do In The Shadows, you really are missing out), is UTTERLY HILARIOUS. For me personally at least, every single joke landed – and there were a lot of them. In fact, this may rival Ant-Man as the closest the MCU has come to an actual comedy. The laughs are shared amongst the cast too, with the new additions fitting very well.
The biggest new addition comes in the form of main villain Hela, the goddess of death, portrayed excellently by Cate Blanchett. She is equal parts terrifying and, somewhat surprisingly, funny, providing a genuine threat to Thor and his “Revengers”. My only complaint is her minimal screentime, which limits her from being considered a truly great MCU villain of the likes of Loki or Vulture.
“Every single line to come out of his mouth is pure comedic gold”
The other new additions are also solid, in particular Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, with decent arcs over the course of the runtime even if they are slightly underdeveloped. My favourite addition personally would easily be Korg, voiced by director Taika Watiti – every single line to come out of his mouth is pure comedic gold. These characters not only work well individually but really mesh well as an ensemble too, with dynamics such as those between Valkyrie and Hulk, Hela and Karl Urban’s Skurge, and of course Thor and Loki, working incredibly well throughout the runtime, really strengthening all characters involved and augmenting both the comedy and the action sequences.
“Excellent portrayals of both characters”
The familiar faces are equally brilliant, especially Thor himself and the Hulk. Both Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo continue their excellent portrayals of both characters, with it clear that they along with everyone else had an absolute blast making this film.
“The CGI is excellent too”
Thor Ragnarok is also highly impressive visually – unlike its dark, monotonal predecessors it is full of colour, with the planet of Sakaar particularly impressive in this regard. The CGI is excellent too, with the Hulk in particular looking better than he ever has before. The visuals couple with the comedy to augment the already excellent action; though Thor’s gladiatorial fight with Hulk is easily the standout moment from a “this is badass” perspective, the film is bookended by two sequences, both involving a perfectly chosen (and hilariously appropriate) Led Zeppelin song, which are near flawless.
“The story itself is very simple”
This is by no means a flawless film however. Though the comedy is brilliant, it does sometimes get in the way of the plot, leaving the pacing of the film a bit wobbly at times. The story itself is very simple too, and though it does have a big impact on the MCU going forward they perhaps could have been more ambitious with it. You also get the feeling that certain characters could have done with more screentime – I have already mentioned Hela, but Idris Elba’s Heimdall and Tom Hiddlestone’s Loki could also fall into this category.
Ultimately however, these flaws are minimal – the kind you only notice a day later because during the film you were just having too much fun. Fun is perhaps the perfect word to describe this film – you just enjoy every second of it. It isn’t a powerhouse on the level of Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Avengers Assemble, but that doesn’t stop Thor Ragnarok from being a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
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Image Courtesy of Marvelcinematicuniverse.