“Thor: Ragnarok”: A Millennial’s Movie Review
Stealing the Thunder
Thor: Ragnarok is an action-adventure film of the comic book genre, and the third film in Marvel’s Thor sub-franchise. The film is directed by Taika Waititi and stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo and Tessa Thompson. Hemsworth once again returns as Thor, the Asgardian God of Thunder, as he searches for his exiled father with his antihero brother, Loki (Hiddleston) by his side. Little does he know that an age-old secret will soon be revealed to him, as the evil Hela (Blanchett) arrives to bring Asgard to its knees. Trapped on a faraway planet and forced to fight for his life, the film follows Thor as he attempts to escape his prison and protect Asgard from total destruction.
If you haven’t heard of director Taika Waititi before, chances are you’re not the only one. But the New Zealand native has made a name for himself with films such as Eagle vs Shark, What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, films praised for their quirky brand of humour. Now with the reins of Marvel Studios’ latest superhero adventure, and the attention of several Hollywood A-listers, Waititi is finally poised to make his mark on the global blockbuster platform. Will Ragnarok be an improvement over its much-maligned predecessor Thor: the Dark World, or is Waititi’s best effort simply not enough to jolt the series to life?
Thor: Ragnarok capitalises on its out-of-this-world settings, fast-paced storyline and fantastic humour to deliver one of the studio’s most enjoyable movies to date. The director’s presence is felt not only in the screenplay’s quippy dialogue and perfectly-timed jokes, but also via a memorable motion-capture character played by Waititi himself. Performances from the rest of the cast are incredibly strong and fun, with new additions Cate Blanchett and Tessa Thompson adding to the quality, credibility and overall badassery of the film as a whole. The exposition is often heavy and unfortunately very noticeable, while the villain isn’t exactly Marvel’s best attempt. But at the end of the day, Ragnarok is a fun, light-hearted ride, and comes highly recommended for fans of comic book movies, adventure movies, and comedies.
Hela’ve a Good Time
It’s been mentioned a few times already, but Thor: Ragnarok is just so much fun. It’s loud. It’s colourful (especially for a Marvel film). It’s adrenaline-filled. And it’s funny. It’s not going to win any Oscars, but this is a film made for the sole purpose of entertaining as many people as possible. Chris Hemsworth gives his best performance to date as Thor, while Cate Blanchett fully embraces the fantasy world again, giving a very locked-in performance as Hela. Tessa Thompson makes a big impact as the cool but tortured Valkyrie, and Taika Waititi’s character, Korg, appears often enough to draw huge laughs from the audience, without ever being annoying.
Other strengths of Ragnarok include great action sequences, particularly in the third act of the film; as well as a pretty epic score by Mark Mothersbaugh. All these add to the trippiness and craziness that could only be achieved by the hand of a big personality like Taika Waititi. Though his style of humour isn’t for everyone, and is certainly a big departure from the tone of Thor: the Dark World, the lighter, happier, tongue-in-cheek style of Ragnarok feels fresh and exciting. This would be true even if fans can point out its similarities to Guardians of the Galaxy or Deadpool, films hailed for their light and unserious tone.
It isn’t easy to start talking about flaws after such an enjoyable experience, but one of Ragnarok’s shortcomings is its inability to avoid long expositional sequences in the first act that serve to set up the rest of the film. This bleeds into the character development of the villain Hela, who, despite being played amazingly by Cate Blanchett, even fails to be the best Marvel villain of 2017. We’re simply told about her dark past through exposition, and aren’t really made to care about why she is such a cruel, ruthless and destructive character. As a result, we just expect her to be beaten by our hero(es) without much consequence. This is not to say that Hela is bad as a villain. Relative to other MCU villains, Hela definitely falls within the top half of the table. Granted, that isn’t saying much given the constant criticism of Marvel villains in general. Jeff Goldblum also appears in the film as a character that comic book fans will no doubt be familiar with, but I found his character to be a bit too over-the-top and carefree, which isn’t on the same wavelength as being light-hearted and fun. Finally, the 3D in some scenes are quite poorly rendered, particularly in the first half of the film. Thankfully, there are enough flying objects and beautiful wide shots in the second half to make up for it.
Thor: Ragnarok is the type of film that is endlessly rewatchable. That one film you watch to cheer you up on a bad day. Though not without its faults, Ragnarok succeeds in being another Marvel hit based on its action, characters and humour. It makes some smart changes to the Marvel superhero formula, and it pays off in spades. Tonally (and plot-wise to a large extent), Ragnarok can stand on its own with regards to the previous two Thor films. And to be honest, it’s a welcome change. With 2018’s Black Panther already looking like it could be yet another success story, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of Marvel Studios dropping the ball of quality films anytime soon. When will their hot streak end?
Overall Score: 8.5/10