Thor: Ragnarok (2017) is directed by Taika Waititi and Stars Chris Hemsworth as the titular character, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban and Idris Elba.
This movie ragnarocked. I’m excited that the first superhero film I’m posting about was great. This is easily the best Thor film of the trilogy, but that’s not saying much seeing that the first two were considering some of the weaker entries into the MCU. However, what this movie has done in a nutshell is a great thing: make people really love Thor.
It’s no secret that the Thor and Hulk characters are probably the least developed and loved since the franchise began in 2008, with Thor’s two movies not being as popular as the other big avengers movies and with Hulk not getting a solo film since the prototype Incredible Hulk (2008) with Edward Norton which feels like another lifetime when considering how this franchise has developed. I must say I loved him as Hulk, and never really warmed up to Ruffalo who has been playing a side role essentially in the two Avengers films he had been in. His character hasn’t quite developed and even though there is the shared rights with Universal studios issue, something needed to be done. His love interest developments in Age of Ultron (2015) felt unnecessary and unrealistic. And I frankly didn’t care all too much. And then this movie happened.
Waititi certainly makes this a very different and memorable film. His odd sense of humour is prevalent throughout the movie. I knew he was a comedic director and that really showed. 3 jokes were absolute genius and very novel in the MCU. Though the gags were a little childish they never reached cringe level as some of the other Marvel films have unfortunately. As primarily a comedic director, his action scenes were brilliant. He really made Thor shine, hammer and all in any fight sequence. Reminiscent of how the Russo bros totally transformed Chris Evans’s Captain America. Finally making him one of the cooler characters. Interestingly, the colour scheme, backgrounds and alien designs really stood out. Marvel imo has made some pretty ugly looking movies. Both Russo bros entries have been a dull looking affair. Each previous Thor film made Asgard seem duller than the actual planet Earth, and when a movie makes an alien planet seem boring, that’s a failure on its part. I always thought Asgard had a lot of potential to be an enjoyable realm and the choice of scenery, costumes and lighting really made this world feel more vibrant and inhabitable. I want to visit Asgard now. Great job by Waititi and the team of cinematography and costume design.
Marvel has also (apart from Alan Silvestri’s absolutely amazing Avengers theme, and perhaps Ramin Djawadi’s Iron Man theme) had some less than stellar music. I feel like this score for this movie is certainly a step up. The 70s era music from the trailer is also heard in certain scenes and really enhances the atmosphere!
Tom Hiddleston is fantastic as always. He really is just so charming and hits all the right notes. Marvel have done a good job of keeping him on as an anti-hero, and you can’t help but love him. Karl Urban was fine. He felt forgettable now that I think about it and the movie is over, but I think that’s just how the character was written. Idris Elba hardly had any lines, but his character never really did. I’m surprised such a big star stayed on for such a small role. I suspect they have bigger plans for him. Essentially they didn’t change things that weren’t working. This film feels like a soft reboot of Thor, but only the things that didn’t work – and I’m excited to see where the story will progress next, including that of Elba’s character.
Tessa Thompson. Wow I have to admit, I thought I’d really dislike you. But I’m so glad Marvel have added this new character to the MCU and I’d love to see where she goes from there. Immediately likeable as soon as she comes on screen, great chemistry with the co-stars and character motivation too. She needed to be there. Jeff Goldblum was Jeff Goldblum. And I can’t complain nor would I ever about that. I was expecting to see Jeff Goldblum do a Jeff Goldblum and was very glad I got just that. More Jeff Goldblum please.
I gotta admit, Thor hasn’t been the coolest character around. He’s otherworldliness has made him seem foreign and alien. Instead of us seeing him as a fantastic and awesome being, he just feels like he belongs in a Shakespeare play somewhere. Marvel ingeniously flipped this around.
Hats of to the best Marvel villain in a long long time. Marvel has had a long history of less than stellar villains, from Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash to Mads Mikkelsen’s…I don’t even remember. Blanchett here gave a phenomenal performance. Her character and backstory did feel a tad rushed, but boy did she nail it. You can tell she had a blast with the theatricality they wrote for this villain, and she really does seem genuinely intimidating and dangerous – and entertaining. I got to hand it ofcourse in part to the fantastic writing. Certain villains are written so boringly, like Malekith in the second Thor film, whilst others waste great actors on less than fantastic villains like James Spader’s Ultron. The writing and performance makes this the SECOND best thing about the movie.
Mark Ruffalo, wow this is an interesting one. Essentially the Hulk is in the film longer than Bruce Banner, but I still really liked where they went with this. He didn’t seem boring or dry at all as I felt in earlier films and I loved every time he was on camera, they really reenergised this character and I love him now. And finally, I have to say the same about Chris Helmsworth’s Thor. He is by far the best thing about the movie.
I gotta admit, Thor hasn’t been the coolest character around. He’s otherworldliness has made him seem foreign and alien. Instead of us seeing him as a fantastic and awesome being, he just feels like he belongs in a Shakespeare play somewhere. Marvel ingeniously flipped this around. By making Thor’s arrogance and theatricality a thing laughable, it really allows Hemsworth’s charisma to shine through, and that always strikes a cord with the audience. If this film wanted to make you absolutely adore Thor, it did just that. By the end of the film the god of thunder is a totally newly invented character, that is grown more in one film than he has since the events of the first Thor film around 6 years ago. Great job with the writing and directing. Man, Marvel can do no wrong.
Essentially Marvel has made a colossal and expanding universe the success and likes of which have never been attempted before in the history of cinema. You can only do so with a safe formula. And eventually, people get tired of formulas. Whilst Marvel was starting to feel formulaic, the last three films (this one, and Spider-Man homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2) have certainly not. The middle film totally reimagined the way we see Spider-Man, the second one developed existing characters in a way to keep them relevant yet expanded the universe of this franchise in to supposed infinite possibilities. Thor Ragnarok does both. But while the future and idea of Thor and Hulk feels both exciting and fresh, the film still felt too straightforward. The plot was somewhat predictable especially in the second half, and most of the third. The character of Hela seemed like too exposition heavy (although still entertaining). Essentially, this film’s skeleton is weak. The muscles and tissues are very healthy and vibrant, but a lot of the story line seems cliched and exposition driven. A lot of the changes that did also occur, even though for the better started seeming a little forced especially when this movie is jam-packed with them. But this is hardly a reason to dislike the film. It’s definitely worth the watch, and for an attempt to quickly propel this franchise to the next big watershed moment (Infinity War) it was executed pretty well, if not perfectly.
This review is performance heavy. But this movie was performance heavy. It shows that even after so many outings, these actors still have a lot left to show when it comes to these characters. Thor Ragnarok certainly is proof that marvel has more tricks up their sleeves than we thought. Kevin Feige is a true genius. I came out of this film more in love with this franchise than I did going in. It just gets better and better. Can they really be slowed down?