Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo
Review Author: Tony & Adam
Rating: 4.25 / 5 Guinness
After a grueling fistfight and hurtful exchange of insults, we decided to compromise and do a joint review of Thor: Ragnarok. Luckily we both shared the same enthusiasm for the film meaning we could agree on a single rating (as seen above).
So this has been the film I’ve been most excited about this year, not only because we’re getting to see a speaking Hulk, which is the main thing I’ve always felt like this near perfect version is missing, but because we get the chance for my favourite Avenger to develop more and show the humour potential in his character. I’m a huge fan of Thor and he’s probably the one that’s built the furthest away from the source material so to see him get a well thought out film like this is fantastic. This has been the most character development yet for Hemsworth’s hammer swinger.
I do feel the opening act is a little rushed…like, a lot happens. A LOT is set up. And I get it, it’s a busy film, but I feel like *SPOILER* Odin’s death deserved a bit more weight than just evaporating into some sparkles on the side of a cliff (anyone else get the serious King Lear vibes off that scene?). Considering the absolutely stunning Viking funeral sequence from Dark World for his mother, a secondary character, I just wanted to see that have a bit more grandiose to it.
But then Hela arrived and the thing really kicked off so I can forgive it. That and the fact that Loki spent that entire act doing the best Tommy Wiseau impression we’ll see this side of the Disaster Artist.
This is absolutely the most visually appealing Marvel film to date. The colours, the framing, the composition of every scene, the lighting- absolutely all of it is pure ‘comic book’ and I think for the first time pulls from the colour palette that gave the original Marvel series their distinctive look in the paper world.
Coupling that with the New Zealand dry native style humour delivered by Korg, (Oh my god! the hammer pulled you off!?…) the whole film just kept me grinning and giggling like a kid the entire time.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Marvel is absolutely cornering the ‘light-hearted’ comic films. DC are stuck now to try to make a brooding Batman crack a joke under the grey and brown colour palette, while Ragnarok is a visual feast, that doesn’t take itself too seriously and still manages to tell the fuck out the established story while also adding in layers of never before tried humour for this character. A lot to take in and a lot of moving parts coming together perfectly to tell a great story and have some fun doing it.
We need to take a second here…and appreciate the imagery and the way it pulls from old Norse paintings, the ride of the Valkyries slow-motion battle scene took my jaw off me and ran away.
There’s little standout cameo which produced universal laughs from the crowd in attendance, and I thought that Jeff Goldblum’s character would be featured a little more but his appearance is just a glorified cameo, just a standalone with a few throwaway lines. But he absolutely stole the show, (Thor aside) he was my favourite character after Korg. Also, I want the Orgy song from his jet to be my ringtone…forever.
This year has been a pretty light-hearted outing for Marvel movies. All three releases have an abundance of humour and could be placed in the comedy category without controversy. It’s an interesting direction after the serious and straight-faced tone of Civil War (still Marvel’s most ambitious film) which is sure to get back on track with next years Infinity War. Thor: Ragnarok is not only the funniest of the three films this year, it’s easily the funniest film of the year thanks to Waititi’s blend of dry wit and offbeat humour.
Ragnarok addresses some of the recent complaints that Marvel films are visually bland and contain unremarkable scores. Waititi tackles these issues head-on with a vibrant movie full of colour and wacky set designs, a lovely nod to the 60’s and 70’s style utilized by Marvel legend, Jack Kirby. The music is another highlight of the film with a rocking 80’s synth score, the last few years has truly seen the revival of the synthesizer.
The only issue I have is that the story can’t shake off the constraints of the Marvel formula, big bad shows up and spoils the party so the hero must learn something about themselves and then punch the problem to death. Waititi tries to shake things up but ultimately can’t escape this tired formula. This isn’t to say that Hela doesn’t make for a decent villain, in fact, she’s outright badass in a wonderful sequence where she singlehandedly annihilates Asgard’s defenses. The issue is this is the potatoes and gravy of the story, it’s serviceable but distracts from the meat.
Indeed, the meat of Thor is its characters, Thor himself is given a personal reboot allowing Hemsworth to flex his comedy chops and Hulk is his given far more depth than just a raging green hemorrhoid. The action scenes are also a wonderful blend of vigour, colour and comedy. There’s a sequence where Thor and Valkyrie are hopping from spaceship to spaceship, tearing them apart while avoiding lasers to the backdrop of eye bursting scenery and 80’s synth track that’s easily in my top 5 scenes of the year.
Also, Korg is the best Marvel character in the MCU…Fact!!!