This review is Spoiler free
For the seventeenth film in their franchise, Marvel looked to mix it up by making a different kind of comedy with the installment of Thor. After defeating Surtur, Thor returns to Asgard to discover that his brother Loki has taken the throne and sent Odin into exile. When the goddess of death, Hela, returns to claim the throne of Asgard, Thor is banished to Sakaar, a garbage planet at the edge of the universe. In an effort to return to Asgard, Thor must fight in the Grand Master’s gladiator tournament and defeat his champion, Thor’s fellow Avenger the Incredible Hulk. Teaming up with Hulk and former Asgardian warrior Valkyrie, Thor must find a way to return to Asgard and save his people from the end of the world, Ragnarok. Directed and staring Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok also stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel House, and Cohen Holloway
The biggest stand out of Thor: Ragnarok is that fact that it is finally a Thor movie, where the other characters do not over shadow Chris Hemsworth’s character and performance. In the first Thor movie, everyone was talking about Loki and Tom Hiddleston’s performance. Other members of the superhero team often eclipse Thor in the Avengers movies; but finally Thor: Ragnarok is a Thor movie. Chris Hemsworth has great comedic talent, that is often under used in the Marvel movies, but partnering him with Taika Waititi has allowed him to show his full range. We have seen Thor be funny, but that is more often in a fish out of water style of humour, but the way Hemsworth brings humour in this third instalment is significantly more clever, that will leave the audience laughing out loud and wanting more.
The cast of Thor: Ragnarok may be one of the best non-ensemble casts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Hemsworth as Thor may be the lead of this movie but he his supported by some fantastic characters. With the return of Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, it is also great to see the inclusion of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/ Hulk and the introduction of Tessa Thompson as the impressive Valkyrie. This may be the closet Marvel fans will get to a Mark Ruffalo stand alone Hulk movie, given the issue of rights surrounding the character, but Thor: Ragnarok may have the best character arc for the Hulk in any of the MCU films. I have been a fan of Tessa Thompson for a little while now, loving what she did in Creed and Westworld, but her performance as Valkyrie may be my favourite. As a reluctant hero, Thompson shines as she drinks away her pain and fights opponents in an elite style. Respect must also be given to the Grand Master, played expertly by Jeff Goldblum who steals many of the scenes he is in with extremely witty dialogue. His character is also a brilliant minor villain who has a massive impact on the second act of the movie.
Kevin Feige has said in interviews that the focus of Marvel movies has always been their heroes and the hero’s journey. This has meant they have made great movies about their heroes, but the villains often suffer, with the comment of generic marvel villain frequently being used. Recently though this has changed, with the inclusion of villains like Zemo (Captain America Civil War), Ego (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2) and The Vulture (Spider-Man: Homecoming). We can now add Hela to the list of fantastic villains. Cate Blanchett does a fantastic job as the goddess of death, offering some depth to the villain by creating an interesting character. Hela isn’t a conflicted villain in the same way that some of the previous Marvel villains have been portrayed, she is downright evil, but that is what makes her character so interesting. It speaks volumes that a comic book movie could have the talent like Blanchett play a villain, and lean into the outrageous nature of a Taika Waititi comic book villain.
The real star of the movie is Taika Waititi and the way he blends the humour into Thor Ragnarok. The comedy in the movie is seamless, never detracting from the story or taking the audience out of the movie. Even when Australian and New Zealand jokes are interjected like “Tell her she’s dreaming” the story continues to flow. As Marvel studios expands the types of movies they make, they continue to incorporate different genres inside the comic book movie genre, with Thor Ragnarok their best attempt at a comedy. Waititi was definitely the filmmaker to take Marvel forward, given his ability to make and star in comedies, and it was great to see the studio place their faith in a low budget director from New Zealand. He doesn’t just crush it as the director though, he is a show stealer as Korg, a rock alien whose witty one-liners will have everyone practicing their New Zealand accents.
Once again Marvel have delivered a fantastic genre film inside of a comic book movie, with Thor: Ragnarok being the first real comedy in the franchise. Not only is the film hilarious, it also has great action making it an enjoyable viewing experience. This movie will hit with a variety of different audience, as it has an appeal to hard-core comic book fans, fans of comedies as well as fans of Taika Waititi. The film also features the best use of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song I think I have ever heard in a film.
This movie is for fans of Comic Book movies, but it can be enjoyed by anyone. Fans of Taika Waititi films should see this even if they aren’t fans of Thor or comic book movies.
Thor: Ragnarok scores an 8.5/10
Thanks for reading my review of Thor: Ragnarok. Are you excited to see it? Have you seen it already? What was your favourite line from Korg? Let me know in the comments section below
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