AFTER going to hunt for Infinity Stones at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor is back and he’s not alone.
Thor: Ragnarok comes on the back of two underwhelming outings for the God of Thunder. Thor: The Dark World is less than popular and the more that time passes, the more it seems that everyone hates Age of Ultron. Both are fine films, in fact, they’re both perfectly enjoyable. But that doesn’t change the fact that Ragnarok really needed to be a win for everyone’s favourite Nordic God/ alien.
Under the guidance of Taikia Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok excels. And like you’d except from a Waititi film, the humour is the reason behind this. While Marvel films have usually been packed full of laughs (see: talking racoon), Ragnarok really takes this to a different level. It’s a comedy first, action/ superhero film second; and it is very, very funny.
Chris Hemsworth builds on his turn in Ghostbusters with a fantastic comedic performance. His comedic timing is so good it almost feels like he’s been wasted in a straight role. Mark Ruffalo also returns to plays the relationship between Bruce Banner and the Hulk brilliantly also delivering a much more comedic turn. Waititi ingeniously decides to turn this dynamic into a twisted sort of love triangle with Thor playing the middle man. It’s about as hilarious and ridiculous as it sounds.
Supporting the two Avengers is Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, who’s as loveably mischievous as ever and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, who’s the standout new character. We also have Karl Urban as Skurge, the retuning Idris Elba as Heimdall and Jeff Goldblum playing the Grandmaster with peak Goldblumyness. Cate Blanchett plays Hela – The Goddess of Death and she plays the role well but she doesn’t have enough to do. Yes, it’s the same old Marvel villain problem. Why hire an Academy Award winning actress if you’re not going to give her anything interesting to do?
Waititi cleverly makes this film feel very different from other MCU films (even Guardians of the Galaxy) with his off-beat humour but he also plays tribute to the MCU by poking fun at their past adventures. With the focus mainly on comedy and character, the whole plot-line is about as paint by numbers as any Marvel film to date. Thanks to the trailers, Ragnarok offers little in terms of surprises. Thor’s hammer being broken and Hulk’s appearance would surely have had a greater impact if they weren’t revealed in the promotional material. Unfortunately, this is becoming an all to familiar problem with these films.
Some of the emotional beats of the film fall a bit flat because they’re rushed – particularly the scenes with Anthony Hopkin’s Odin. They feel like they’re in there to progress the story rather than to add emotional weight. That being said, there’s some fantastic brotherly moments between Thor and Loki, which have always been the best aspects of these films. The group dynamic between Thor, Loki, Hulk and Valkyrie is also a lot of fun. Waititi gives them all unique relationships within the group – which does add real weight to the film.
Quibbles with the Marvel generic-ness aside, Thor Ragnarok does exactly what it wants to do. It’s a Taika Waititi film through and through. Credit has to go to Kevin Feige for giving Waititi control over the tone of the film. The film is packed full of Waititi-isms and if you’ve seen any of his previous work you’ll know what I mean by this. It is absolutely hilarious and completely ridiculous and it’s utterly brilliant.
Taikia Waititi delivers another comedic masterclass with by far the best Thor film to date.