Thor: Ragnarok - 2017
Director(s): Taika Waititi
Writer(s): Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christophe Yost
Cinematography by: Javier Aguirresarobe
Editor(s): Zene Baker and Joel Negron
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson and Anthony Hopkins. (I left out 20 more for brevity’s sake).
Synopsis: Thor most fight his way out of an unknown planet, so he can get back to his home world, Asghar, and save it from the destruction at the hands of Hela.
Thor: Ragnarok marks the third installment in the Thor series, the seventeen installment in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and the third one released this year. So, it’s fair to say that Marvel has become almost like a limited episode series a la BBC’s Sherlock, in where they give us a few episodes a year but all of them have a feature length runtime. Then the problem becomes, how do you keep your product fresh and interesting when your audience in entering for the seventeen time to a movie theater? You call Taika Waititi.
Taika Waititi had carved himself a nice corner of the Indie comedy scene with films like What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I had been a fan of him for years, and when I heard he was tapped to revive the Thor franchise I was both excited and pessimistic (having flashbacks of Edgar Wright’s Ant Man). After walking out of Ragnarok, I am happy to say that Waititi’s imprint is all over this movie and the characters benefit from it. This is by far the funniest and most upbeat Marvel movie ever put to film. They establish a tone of self-awareness right off the bat and even in the darkest moments it never felt they took themselves too seriously.
Quick note: I was worried about his ability to shoot action sequences and was surprised by how creative and well shot some of the sequences where. I hope they bring him back for another installment.
One of the things I absolutely loved about this movie was how the script paid homage to the comics and other movies outside of the MCU. There are sequences that can only be described as Willy Wonka-esque as Thor is being introduced to the Grandmaster, played by Goldblum. There is a scene that I will not ruin for you, but if you are a Game of Throne’s fan it will remind you of a certain episode of a few seasons ago. Lastly, I enjoyed how they loosely tied in the Planet Hulk comic storyline, giving the fans of the issues a taste of what it would look like if Marvel had the rights to do a standalone Hulk movie.
Quick note, this is one of the most colorful and fun movies in the MCU (close second is Guardians of the Galaxy Vl. 2) thanks to cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe, set decorator Beverly Dunn and costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo.
The cast was brilliant, Chris Hemsworth’s personality finally bled through to his Thor character and he was an absolute blast to watch in this film. This is also the best Hulk/Bruce Banner ever captured and it gave Mark Ruffalo something to play with. I haven’t seen Jeff Goldblum so unleashed and free since his works with Wes Anderson and this is the best Tom Hiddleston has been as Loki since the first Thor movie. There were new and welcomed additions to the MCU in Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Taika Waititi as Korg.
Sadly, Thor: Ragnarok falls in the same traps the majority of the MCU movies fall into, and that is a forgettable villain. This time around, Cate Blanchett was cast as Hela. Don’t get me wrong, I think Blanchett is an incredible actress that can outperform everyone in this cast if given the right material to work with (see Blue Jasmine, Carol and I’m Not There for proof). Basically, all she does in this film is repeat her character background and motivation, shift her head from long hair to horns and throw knives. I never felt connected to her character or even bought her as a threat to our hero. I was far too invested in the adventures of Thor/Hulk and Valkyrie in the planet of the Grandmaster to even care if they made it back to Asghar.
Quick note, her introduction and the set-up of the Grandmaster planet was also rushed and a little clunky. Once that is out of the way the movie picks up steam and is a great ride.
While Thor: Ragnarok isn’t a perfect movie, it is one of the most fun experiences I have had this year in the theaters. It is packed with action, laughs and visual set pieces that will have you engaged from beginning to end. The cast shines in the hands of its director and it’s the rare sequel that is arguably better that its predecessors. Taika Waititi is why I love movies.
Thor: Ragnarok is currently playing in theaters. I don’t have a pun that hasn’t been used already for this movie… Everyone is saying it’s a “Hela of a good time” so… yeah watch it.
If you like this review let me know in the comment section down below. Also, follow me over at Twitter (@yILovemovies) or over on Facebook, so you can be up to date with all my reviews