Out early next week is the latest film in the epic Marvel Cinematic Universe Thor: Ragnarok which follows the continuing adventures of everyone’s favourite God of Thunder Thor played by Chris Hemsworth. With Hemsworth this time is an incredible cast which includes several returning favourites Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, and Anthony Hopkins and notable new ones like Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Tessa Thompson.
In Thor: Ragnarok we find our illustrious God of Thunder banished from Asgard without his trusty hammer Mijolnir and has been enslaved to an alien overlord known as the Grandmaster (Goldblum) on an alien planet known as Sakaar. To make matters worse he must get back to Asgard as a monstrous god known as Hela (Blanchett) has returned vying to bring the whole Nine Realms to heel and bring about Ragnarok the end of all things and the only way to break free from this enslavement and get off this alien world is to beat his old ally the Hulk (Ruffalo) in a gladiatorial deathmatch.
Thor: Ragnarok is the funniest Marvel film to date, this is all down to the charm of the entire cast and to the signature skill of director Taika Waititi who brings out every possible laugh in all the situations Thor and co. find themselves in. Waititi has crafted a beautiful sci-fi romp similar in style and theme to the old school Flash Gordon serials complete with an electric score that gives the whole film an energetic oomph. Colours pop, scenes are lush with vibrant imagery and this allows you to fall further down this rabbit hole of lunacy further engaging in the adventure. Between the cinematography and direction Thor: Ragnarok is a comic book splash page spilling out onto the big screen.
The cast of Thor: Ragnarok is fantastic with only one or two notable problems but I’ll discuss those later. A particular favourite is Jeff Goldblums Grandmaster who steals every scene he is in. His introduction, in particular, is something quite spectacular and over the top. Another MVP in Thor: Ragnarok is Hulk who takes the centre stage over puny Banner in this particular outing. Hulk has evolved since last we saw him and to see this happen to him is something a lot of Hulk fans will be excited about. The Hulk/Banner situation isn’t the only shake-up of the status quo as several parts of Thor’s life are irreversibly changed forever by the end of the film and as someone who feels there are no stakes in the MCU this was a breath of fresh air.
For all the good though there are several notable issues with Thor: Ragnarok, anyone looking for a new villain to root for in the MCU will still be starved for anything in Hela. Cate Blanchett brings her best menace and mayhem to the film but it’s ultimately not enough. She’s imposing as she feels like a combination of the brutality of Thor and the cunning of Loki but she’s not in the film as much as you’d hoped and though there are connections between her and the heroes in the film that would give her a much more emotional struggle with them none of it is explored and it is an awful waste. There’s also Karl Urban’s Skurge who is Hela’s lackey but really he’s her audience as he does nothing noteworthy in the entire film save for one brief moment in the final act. It’s another wasted opportunity as Skurge is a brilliant villain from the comics.
The film tries to postulate the question of whether or not Thor is still as great a hero without Mijolnir which reminded me of Iron Man 3, and it isn’t dealt with nearly enough for the audience to feel the full weight of the situation and then comes the issue I had with Guardians of The Galaxy 2, the jokes come in at inopportune times cutting the tension and emotional weight of several scenes.
As the credits rolled I came to the conclusion that this film could have been a two-part epic as there are two interesting but competing story-lines going on but even with these issues I had with it I found Thor: Ragnarok an enjoyable but flawed romp into the trippier side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.