Title – Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Director – Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople)
Cast – Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba
Plot – Imprisoned on the scrap clad planet of Sakaar, Thor (Hemsworth) must find a way to escape his new surrounds and get back to Asgard to stop the war hungry Hela (Blanchett) from taking control of his home world and its people.
“We’re the same, you and I. We’re just a couple of hot-headed fools”
Review by Eddie on 01/11/2017
It’s hard to know how Thor acolytes will feel about the God of Thunder’s latest solo adventure, with New Zealand director Taika Waititi turning the previous Shakespearian meets modern day blockbuster like first two outings on their heads with his laughter focused/80’s infused action comedy that is likely to appeal to a broader audience while also alienating some hard-core fans in the process.
It’s not like Thor from 2011 and Dark World from 2013 are exactly overly well-loved properties, Thor the character finding a broader appeal and resonance in the Avenger films, but Waititi’s departure from what has come before is one of the greatest change of paces for a series I’ve ever seen.
Gathering a passionate if small fan base from his work directing films Boy, What We Do in the Shadows and the critical smash Hunt for the Wilderpeople, those that have adored Waititi’s work on a small budget will be pleased to know his oddball sense of humour and playful directing is still well and truly in-tact with a Marvel budget behind his every wish and imaginative idea.
Barely taking a chance to catch a breath over 2 hours of runtime, Waititi throws the audience headfirst into Thor’s newest life or death outing as the muscled god with a freshly minted haircut (courtesy of a particularly excited hairdresser) finds himself trying to escape Sakaar, a planet run by Jeff Goldblum’s camp Grandmaster all the while dealing with his dastardly adopted brother Loki, his angry green friend Hulk/Bruce Banner and most pressingly Cate Blanchett’s new villainess Hela, who has taken over Thor’s home world of Asgard.
It’s a multi-stranded plotline but it’s all there as an excuse and fodder for Waititi to showcase a new side of Thor whose grown into himself and learnt more about the universe from his time on Earth, as well as a reason to team Hemsworth with Mark Ruffaloo’s Hulk as the two share a great on screen chemistry as mismatched friends.
As to be expected with a Waititi film, the characters and humour are what makes his features resonate with audiences around the world and he gifts Hemsworth his best take on Thor yet while newcomers to the series Tessa Thompson as feisty warrior and likely fan favourite Valkyrie, Waitit himself doing the voice of rock fighter Korg, Goldblum as Grandmaster and Blanchett as lead antagonist Hela all fair well, clearly having a blast with Waititi’s wacky and often inventive situations and executions.
As fun and visually captivating as most of Waititi’s movie is, Ragnarok still struggles to bring the narrative arc of the story full circle and with Waititi still undoubtedly needing to mould his film into what lays ahead for the Marvel universe, as a whole the final section of the film suffers from a rather forgettable and bland finishing act that feels incredibly lacklustre to what has come before it.
Caught up also with the arc of Thor being on Sakaar, Waititi struggles to make the most of Blanchett’s Hela and her whole period on Asgard never really gets out of first gear and it becomes an arguable statement that perhaps Waititi took on board to much at once and sections of the film feel the pressure from so many things going on at once.
Final Say –
Ragnarok is Thor gone wild, a film that’s an over the top colourful mash-up of 80’s stylings, action tics while on a constant search for the next punch-line.
A Marvel experience that will once more light up the international box office and become a quick-fire audience favourite, there’s not a lot of lasting appeal to Waititi’s film other than the likelihood of it being a guilty pleasure of the Marvel film series but it’s one of the years silliest and sensory overloading blockbusters that provides a great bang for your buck adventure and more laughs in a single scene than most mainstream comedies could conjure up in an entire runtime.
3 ½ eager hairdresser’s out of 5