The God of Thunder returns in his third – and probably final – solo outing. As Thor faces exile and the destruction of his home world, we see a side to the Norse hero that we’ve never seen before.
Thor: Ragnarok is the seventeenth instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which manages to breathe new life into the powerhouse franchise with a concoction of humour, action, and vibrant visuals. Taking everything that made the Guardians of the Galaxy movies so enjoyable – the cosmic neon CGI, uproariously well-executed comedy, and sentiment – but improving it tenfold, this film is Marvel’s funniest and most convivial film, despite a fairly heavy driving plot. Each member of the cast worked together with cohesion similar to that of the Avengers themselves, creating a genuine and sometimes improvised feeling to the movie, which was totally immersive for the audience. Some of Ragnarok’s funniest moments come from the characters bouncing off one another with results that are unique to the MCU so far.
“A true Waititian romp infused with cosmic action and pulsing neon visual effects”
Not to be understated is the superb direction by Taika Waititi. The New Zealand native director/writer/actor makes his mainstream directorial debut with undeniable success. Waititi was thrown into the deep end when he was asked to direct for such a high-profile studio as Marvel, but using the charm, intimacy and wit of his two previous films (What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople) he creates a film that entertains on every level. His influence is felt throughout the entirety of the film’s two-hour runtime – from the acting and characterisation to the staging, and even his decision to include Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song in the soundtrack at key moments of the film. Waititi even lends motion-capture and a voice to the character Korg, the film’s show-stealing minor character.
While the film for the most part is thrilling and engaging, the first thirty minutes seem a bit too rushed. It was clear where the writers wanted the story to go and what it needed to focus on, but the bridge between the previous Marvel movies and this one was skimmed over very quickly. Jumping from setting to setting, throwing in a few character (and celebrity) cameos, the first act was overcrowded in an attempt to appease fans and tie up loose ends before moving on to what really made the film shine.
The villain of the piece (Cate Blanchett) was tragically understated, as is common in the MCU. Her character Hela had a rich background which begged for more exploration, but was largely overlooked probably due to the amount of large scale scenes which were deemed necessary. However, Blanchett played the character superbly regardless. Also suffering due to the copious set pieces was the potential to explore sexuality in the MCU. More than one character showed hints of progressive sexuality, including but not limited to bisexuality or gender fluidity, a theme which the MCU is overdue to address openly.
A true Waititian romp infused with cosmic action and pulsing neon visual effects, Thor: Ragnarok brings the Thor trilogy to its end, outdoing the two previous films and leading us very neatly to the next stage of the MCU – Infinity War. The film is one of the finest additions to Marvel’s ever-growing library.