Review: Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok
8 10

PLOT: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) tries to prevent Asgard’s destruction at the hands of his sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of death. But first, a detour takes him to the planet Sakaar, where he’s enslaved and made a gladiator, a fate shared by his old buddy, The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

REVIEW: The latest from Marvel Entertainment, THOR: RAGNAROK attempts to do the impossible – make a Thor solo film compelling. It’s not that Chris Hemsworth hasn’t been good as the God of Thunder, and that Kenneth Branagh’s original wasn’t a decent introduction to the character, but the sequel, THOR: THE DARK WORLD, ranked as the dullest Marvel movie ever. His parts in AGE OF ULTRON also left many of us wondering when something cool would finally be done with the character.

Enter Taika Waititi, the visionary New Zealand-based director behind the vampire mockumentary, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, and the great HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE. Marrying his off-the-wall aesthetic with the tried-and-true Marvel formula creates a movie that, while a little all-over-the-place, is among the most purely entertaining films the studio has put out so far.

It picks up with Thor flying solo after AGE OF ULTRON, having to contend with his brother Loki, once again played by Tom Hiddleston, who’s posing as Odin, allowing Anthony Hopkins to chew a little scenery. However, Loki’s not the movie’s big bad, with that being Thor’s heretofore unmentioned sister, Hela, played by Cate Blanchett in one of her loosest performances – a nice change for the typically serious thesp. Hela’s shenanigans end with Thor and Loki stranded on Sakaar, where Thor finds himself captured by a Valkyrie bounty hunter, played by Tessa Thompson, who sells him to Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster, who uses him as a gladiator. There, he’s forced to fight none other than the Hulk, who can now speak in full sentences and hasn’t changed into Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner in over two years.

As the movie goes on, it becomes more your typical Marvel team-up to defeat a greater foe story, complete with collapsing cities and surprise new powers. But, it’s not as tiresome as it could be thanks to Waititi’s eighties-inspired vision, with bold colors, a fast-paced and a great synth score by Mark Mothersbaugh, in what’s easily the best Marvel score to date. Waititi’s also roped-in lots of cameos, from both inside the MCU and outside, although I’m not going to spoil those here.

My only real issue with THOR: RAGNAROK is that it feels a bit like two movies – one of which is the awesome Taika Waititi one that takes place on Sakaar, while the other is more of a standard Marvel romp on Asgard. The latter feels shoehorned in to keep the continuity, but hey – why fix something that ain’t broke? There’s still enough here to make THOR RAGNAROK a really fresh installment, with Hemsworth once again displaying a flair for comedy, with Thor reconfigured into more of a lovable doofus now that he’s stripped of his hammer – something that happens early on. He’s a lot like Kurt Russell ‘s Jack Burton in BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, a movie the makers have repeatedly name-checked. The buddy movie aesthetic between Hemsworth and Hiddleston, and later Ruffalo as Banner once he shows up is a novel take on the formula, while Tessa Thompson steals scenes in a part that will no doubt embed her firmly in the Marvel canon. Meanwhile, Jeff Goldblum looks to be having a ball poking fun at himself, something which fits the lighter vibe of the film.

My bet is that THOR RAGNAROCK will probably rank highly in the Marvel canon for fans, while even those somewhat worn down by the many entries will find a lot of things to like about it. It’s a great soft reboot for the character, and a nice showcase for Waititi, who’s bound to become a much in-demand director after opening day.

Source: JoBlo.com



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