Thor Ragna-Rocks


Thor: Ragnarok Review


Runtime: 130mins | Director: Taika Waititi | Rating: 5 Stars

Whether you’re a Marvel nerd (like me) who keeps up to date on even the most mundane of comic-related news, or simply a ‘casual viewer’, it’s fair to say almost everyone found the Thor films the weakest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Up until now, that is.

Thor: Ragnarok has taken all the best elements of the Cinematic Universe and rolled them into one, and this is primarily down to the eccentric genius of Taika Waititi, the director. Anyone who has come across him before or has watched any form of an interview with him will know how quirky he is, and this was exactly the injection of insanity the Thor films needed.

To any die-hard fans’ delight, the film merges both the Ragnarok and Planet Hulk storylines – Thor (Chris Hemsworth), after finding himself enslaved on a planet called, Sakaar, is forced into Gladiatorial combat with none other than The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) under the instruction of the planet’s insane dictator, The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). After battling, then making-up, Thor forms an alliance with Hulk and attempts to get back to Asgard to defend it from the Goddess of Death, Hela (Cate Blanchett), who is threatening to destroy everything. This takes Thor, us and his motely crew nicknamed ‘The Revengers’ on his most thrilling cosmic mission yet.

*SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IN, BE WARNED*

After seeing Thor: Ragnarok, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it is now my favourite Marvel film. The reason for this being that it combined the comedic insanity of Guardians of the Galaxy with the beautiful visuals of Dr Strange and then added a fantastic soundtrack (which I was immediately sold on once Led Zeppelin’s, ‘Immigrant Song’ started playing whilst Thor beat Surtur, an enormous fiery demon to a pulp) along with some of the best fight scenes that have ever been created in the Marvel Universe yet – potentially only rivalled by the infamous ‘airport scene’ in Captain America: Civil War.

Ragnarok’s biggest success without a shadow of a doubt, however, is the fact it is simply hilarious - I couldn’t stop laughing the whole way through. This was a much needed and very refreshing change from the previous two films which, frankly, were fairly dull and unengaging. Rather than attempting to do the same old generic superhero film we have become accustomed to, Waititi instead made a comedy film which also happens to be a superhero film – an important difference.

This was a big risk by Marvel taking such a radical change in tone from the previous Thor films, but it couldn’t have paid off more. Attempting to put such a comedic spin on things could have backfired badly as it’s easy to tip across the very fine line of being laugh-out-loud funny, to going too far and it feeling very forced – something which I felt happened in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 which was enjoyable, yet suffered due to complacency. Fortunately, under the somewhat chaotic, yet trustworthy, eye of Waititi, Ragnarok hit the cinematic nail on the head.

Being an aficionado of comedy, it was also unsurprising that Waititi’s cameo as Korg was one of the major successes of the film – he was hysterically funny, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we at some point see a spin-off film starring him along with Miek, his sword-wielding insectoid companion.

That all being said, despite its strong comedic roots, Ragnarok doesn’t neglect a strong plot in favour of cheap laughs. Instead, it deals with emotionally weighted topics such as slavery, mass destruction and familial death. Of course, these topics are all dealt with in the most ridiculous of circumstances (given it’s a Marvel film), but Waititi somehow still manages to maintain their severity whilst not letting the deeply rooted humour undermine them. A fantastic example of this is when Odin dies and both Thor and Loki are left parentless (still gutted about that…).

Something I’ve always felt that has let Marvel films down, however, are the villains. Usually, they look incredible but are ridiculously overpowered (even for a superhero film) seemingly taking a note out of DC’s book in that regard with everything appearing very much destruction for destruction’s sake and not much more. They also tend to lack any form of genuine, plausible motive – Ragnarok remedied this, however, as Hela was a fantastic villain. Not only was she entertaining to watch due to her sarky one-liners directed at either Thor or Loki, (when she wasn’t massacring hundreds of soldiers by impaling them with magic swords whilst seemingly not breaking a sweat, that is…) but also due to the fact she had a legitimate motive for her actions, which up until Helmut Zemo in Civil War was something I felt had been lacking.

Due to all this, Thor: Ragnarok has against all odds blasted its way to the top of the list for the best Marvel film – not only is it a joy to watch visually, but it is side-splittingly funny, refreshing to watch, and frankly, the shake-up the somewhat repetitive Marvel films needed! I hope to see a lot more of Taika Waititi in the future, but for now, it’s a countdown until Black Panther.

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