Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Jeff Goldblum
Running Time: 130 minutes
Release Date: 27th October
From the moment that the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok burst into the public sphere, along with its vibrant marketing posters, it was clear that there would be a departure from the style seen in previous Thor films; and this film finally succeeds where these had failed – at making Thor the most interesting character in it.
The previous instalment in the series, Thor: The Dark World, was criticised for being a copy of its predecessor, but it is safe to say that Thor: Ragnarok will not yield the same complaints. While the Thor films have always had comedic elements, director Taika Waititi, previously known for indie cult classics such as Boy, What We Do In the Shadows and Hunt For The Wilderpeople, infuses this film with his trademark eccentric, hilarious and wonderfully-imagined humour.
Thor: Ragnarok follows Thor as he attempts to escape imprisonment on a far-off planet, create a team to take on Hela, the Goddess of Death, and prevent Ragnarok, the destruction of his home plant Asgard. This seems like a simple plot for a 130 minute running time, yet it is never dull. Energetic, offbeat and engaging, Thor: Ragnarok is the most unique Marvel film to date – and arguably the best.
Star Chris Hemsworth is a strong comedic actor, and he showcases this with impunity. Thor is charismatic, likeable and shows real vulnerability. He is at his most accessible and relatable in Thor: Ragnarok, which is down to both a great script and Hemsworth’s easy charm and quality performance.
Thor: Ragnarok is bursting with talented supporting cast members and potentially scene-stealing characters. Waititi’s Korg is a quirky, hilarious addition, while Jeff Goldblum’s Grand Master is a delight; but for once Thor is not overshadowed, even with the return of the fan-favourite villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Hiddleston’s dry wit meshes well with Hemsworth’s affable humour, and the chemistry between the two brothers is palpable. Hela (Cate Blanchett) is a menacing yet entertaining villain and she is a more complex nemesis than has been offered in many Marvel films (Bucky Barnes and The Vulture excluded). Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie is an absolute joy: quick-witted, resourceful and an incredible fighter with a complex back-story, she is the type of empowering female role that will hopefully feature more (and in greater numbers) in upcoming films.
The change-up in aesthetics and tone is a positive indication to expect fresh perspectives in the MCU. Often referred to as the ‘Marvel Machine’, the opinion that the studio was simply cranking out one monotonous superhero film after another should be challenged by this film. However, the one sequence which feels flat attempts to wedge Thor: Ragnarok into the greater Marvel Universe. This scene features another MCU character who serves no particular plot purpose in this film, beyond reminding the audience they exist – and is presumably only there to set up a future Marvel film.
Thor: Ragnarok is at its best when it works as a stand-alone film, injecting energy, adventure and humour into Thor’s arc. It takes two of the arguably overshadowed Avengers in previous films – Thor and Steve Banner/The Hulk (an endearing Mark Ruffalo) – and sends them on a space adventure, while adding layers of depth and characterisation that have been lacking in previous films in the series.
Thor: Ragnarok explodes onto the screen with humour, energy, and genuine emotion. It is without a doubt the funniest Marvel film to date, and Waititi has created a hilarious and idiosyncratic addition to the MCU. More like this, please.