THOR: RAGNAROK Review
Thor is commonly thought of as one of the duller Avengers, who is the fish-out-of-water, exposition wielding, lightning throwing god. It’s a testament to the Marvel Machine that turned a NORSE GOD into a dull character. So, the question remains; after a lack-lusture, boring and dreadful sequel, how do you make the God of Thunder played by the God from Down Under interesting? Hire the New Zealander of the Year and best comedy director working, Taika Waititi.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is nothing short of fun. The MCU is known (and justly criticised) for an over-abundance of quips and humour. But none of the entries are considered flat-out comedies. Ragnarok is undoubtedly a comedy first, even bordering on satire. From scene one, the film is laugh-a-minute. Sadly, this comes at the cost of some essentials, such as story, emotion, character and stakes.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ begins with Thor continuing his journey to learn more about the Infinity Stones, which audiences learned at the end of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ before having to deal with the impending Ragnarok, which is the Norse APOCALYPSE, before having to confront Hela, Goddess of Death before being sidelined on the Planet Sakaar where he is forced into the potential Hulk Solo film, Planet Hulk. That is as simple as the plot can be. As previously said, some things were sacrificed for humour.
It shows that Taika was given a little more leverage with his style as opposed to other directors. Hemsworth is allowed to utilises his comedic chops and rivals Downey Jr. for snark and sharp humour. He less Shakespearean and more aloof; calling demon gods sons of bitches and more arrogant. It is jarring from his previous interpretations, nor is it clearly identify as to why (and most likely never to be seen again). Again, sacrifices were made.
The stand-outs of the films are definitely Hulk, Valkyrie and Loki; the rest of Thor’s ‘Revengers’. Loki is the snivelling, Trickster God he is always meant to be from the comics. He tries to scam and con his way out of every situation while attempting to hold some form of dignity, even while getting his ass handed to him by Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. Valkyrie bursts onto the screen as an alcoholic, disgraced Asgardian legend who can hold her own as Hulk’s gladiatorial sparring partner. She is another of Marvel’s strong female characters that are denied the chance to shine in their own solo or team-up films. Marvel, don’t screw her like you have Black Widow and give us more Valkyrie. Hulk is surprisingly fleshed-out for a green rage monster, and given the personality of a two-year old, makes him an adorable and terrifying force.
Like all Marvel films, the film suffers from a lack of villain and emotional resonance. In a film where the title basically says ‘Apocalypse’ nothing ever feels at stake or lost, due to an elevation in importance of humour. Cate Blanchett relishes in hamming it up as Hela, and although she looks and acts menacing and seductive, she isn’t given enough material to make the audience care and want to return to Sakaar. The film feels of two-halves; one, the generic Marvel film about the end of the world with Hela; and the other, Waititi’s homage to 80’s sci-fi reminiscent of ‘Flash Gordon’ on Sakaar (listen to the score, and it is clearly evident)
Many may instantly consider this a ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ knock-off but Waititi demonstrates his unique style of action and humour. Some jokes are so far out there, I was surprised Marvel let it into the final product. The action may not be as tightly choreographed as ‘Civil War’ but it is just as entertaining (no thanks in part to a repetitive use of a choice Led Zeppelin song).
Thor: Ragnarok is Marvel’s most risqué film, in terms of humour, but not much else. Like every other Marvel film, the villain and emotion are non-existent, but Waititi’s quirky humour blends well and elevates the film as a result of it.