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November 18 2017
'Thor: Ragnarok' review — Marvel’s goofy gamble
03 November 2017

Thor’s latest instalment marks a stark (not the Tony kind) difference from the film’s predecessors

In the franchise’s third instalment, our favourite Norse god Thor has come into his own, flipped his golden mane back and is down to have a good time. The audience will only love him more for it. You’ve never seen Marvel take such a gamble and come out with a roaring success. Thor: Ragnarok is less superhero and more of a goofy comedy. Certainly, we’ve seen humour unfurl an ancillary onscreen with other Marvel titles. There’ve been cocky lines and snide sarcasm thrown about generously but the atmosphere has mostly remained serious. In Ragnarok, grim moments seamlessly give way to a gag or a silly joke. It’s a marked shift from Marvel norms and comes from the mind of New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, who reached cult fame with his hilarious 2014 mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows.

The latest from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) puts Asgard in grave danger. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must save his world when his estranged older sister Hela, the goddess of death (a deliciously wicked Cate Blanchett) returns to wreak havoc. It’s not a novel concept, but Waititi takes the derived plot and gives his audience fireworks, jokes and wholesome entertainment. He makes Hemsworth scream like a little girl, fear things like getting his hair cut, trip over himself and say the stupidest lines. Certainly, Hemsworth – a highlight of last year’s failed Ghostbusters reboot – proves yet again he’s got comedic flair. For instance, in a bid to impress a woman, a fellow Asgardian named Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Thor – banding together soldiers to fight – wants to call his new group the Revengers. Fantastically, the director never once dilutes the essence of Thor’s true superhero being. Not even when he’s obliviously explaining the relationship he has with his hammer using very questionable sexual references. But it’s Thor’s interaction with Hulk that anchors the film’s comedy. Their love-hate relationship and camaraderie are split inducing. Another unexpected highlight is Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who’s as sneaky as ever, but this time, his evil blunted and instead he’s never been more endearing.

Thor: Ragnarok
  • Director: Taika Waititi
  • Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins.
  • Storyline: Asgard is being attacked by Odin’s first born Hela, the goddess of death. Thor must defeat her and save his people.

With budgets that could feed entire nations, it’s only natural Marvel movies look spectacular. Thor is no exception; the special effects are off the charts. Plus, all that money also pays for a huge cast which includes Jeff Goldblum as the odd and cruel Elder of the Universe, Idris Elba as the Asgardian protector, Heimdall and Anthony Hopkins as Thor’s father Odin. Then there so many cameos such Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Stephan Strange and others you have to keep an eye out for. Waititi too voices the Kronan (alien species) named Krog, who may be huge and made of stone but sports the voice of a slightly high surfer from Australia. The tech marvels (pun intended), good looking people onscreen and hilarious script are only amplified with a killer soundtrack including Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’ that makes you want to enter the arena to get down and dirty.

It’s been hard to think about a superhero film outdoing Wonder Woman that released earlier this year. But Taititi’s Thor hammered at it and raised the bar not just for Marvel’s films but for the genre in general.

 

 

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