Sunday, November 12, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

If you’ve been following the reviews of Marvel’s latest superhero movie, then you’ve probably heard people describe Thor: Ragnarok as a whole lot of fun. Although this only starts to describe what you can expect from a viewing of the God of Thunder’s most recent outing, the word ‘fun’ does manage to effectively encapsulate all that’s right about this film, easily one of the best Marvel films to date.

For those who have been following the Thor franchise itself, it’s safe to say that it hasn’t been one of the most successful separate story arcs of the modern Marvel universe – until now, that is. All the things that just wasn’t working with the previous entries have been flipped on its head by New Zealand director Taika Waititi, resulting in an extremely enjoyable and hilarious superhero romp that doesn’t fall into the trap of taking itself too seriously.

From the very beginning of the film, Thor sets the scene for what one can expect from Ragnarok, as he starts to sarcastically belittle the film’s biggest and most powerful villain. And best of all, it seems like the villain is in on the joke as well, as the CGI beast plays along with Thor’s little jabs at him quite riotously. You see, where previous Thor films tried to portray the God of Thunder as the mythological and unstoppable force that he rightfully is, Raganarok decides to rather present our protagonist as a quite awkward and not-so-almighty, but still highly egotistical blondie with serious daddy issues. And to everyone’s enjoyment, Chris Hemsworth does an amazing job with the new brief he has been given, allowing him to imbue most of his scenes with infectious hilarity. Believe it or not, but some of the film’s best scenes seems to be Chris having a go at some impromptu work.
"Chris Hemsworth does an amazing job with the new brief he has been given, allowing him to imbue most of his scenes with infectious hilarity."
He is also supported by a stellar ensemble cast, whom all do an amazing job at making Ragnarok an extremely enjoyable adventure. It’s almost impossible to single out one specific performance: Cate Blanchett is the ultimate bitch of the superhero universe as the vivacious ‘Hela’; Jeff Goldblum plays the highly eccentric ‘Grandmaster’ with a knack for laugh-out-loud one-liners; Mark Ruffalo is the funniest and most relatable ‘Hulk’ he has ever been and Tessa Thompson is a no-nonsense ex-Valkyrie that doesn’t have time for anyone’s bullshit. Heck, even director Waititi serves up some great giggles through his portrayal of ‘Korg’ – oh, and don’t forget Tom Hiddleston, returning as Thor’s ever mischievous and self-interested half-brother.

Thor and Hulk's complicated bromance is a lot of fun to see unfold. 
To sweeten the deal even further, Ragnarok is a jaw-droppingly beautiful film. The splendorous fantasy world of Asgard is finally explored in more detail, whilst we also get introduced to a completely new world, which seems to be a retro take on a semi-apocalyptic junkyard. It finally feels like the film team have taken full advantage of the out-of-this world quality that the expanded Thor universe provides. The actions scenes are also a joy to witness: from Hella’s visceral mass-scale slaughterings of Asgard’s crown guard to Thor and Hulk’s highly entertaining coliseum-style altercation.

All in all, Thor: Ragnarok is a shining example of what can be achieved when a superhero film fully commits to a specific tone and style. Whereas the Avengers films tries to be both profound and funny at the same (and fails a bit at both), Ragnarok doesn’t hide the fact that it’s an over-the-top Hollywood cash cow that’s only goal is to make its audience laugh and go ‘Fuck, that was awesome!’. Here’s hoping Thor: Ragnarok becomes the new standard (and not the refreshing exception) of the Marvel movie franchise. 

Highlight: When Blanchett tries to explain to Karl Urban the intricacies tied to the job title of ‘Executioner’.