Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Film Review

The third installment to the Thor franchise brings a entirely new look and feel to the Asgardian God of Thunder.

Thor is not the most popular franchise in Marvel’s catalogue. Thor 2 underwhelmed audiences and Thor, with critics liking the film, the general audience had a more lukewarm response. The third installment had to try something different to to make the film not just another copy and paste from Marvel. This is exactly what the studio was going for with the appointment of New Zealand director, Taika Waititi.

After the events of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Thor went off to find another infinity stone. After he fails to find one he returns back to Asgard to find his brother Loki had been imitating his father, Odin. Thor’s sister returns, Hela, Goddess of Death. (What a family affair) She vows to take over Asgard and rule all the realms. It is up to Thor seeks help from The Hulk, Loki and Valkyrie to stop Hela from achieving this.

After 16 films in the Marvel universe, how do you make a film that provides the audience with someone new and exciting. Well what they did was to hire a director that is full of humour and has a distinct tone to refresh a character that some might say started to become stale. Taika Waititi is known for his hilarious films such as What We Do In The Shadows and The Hunt for The Wilderpeople. His films are full of New Zealand humour and are quirky independent films. To make that step up to small independent films to the power house of Mickey Mouse was interesting to see. Thor had been the Shakespeare royal of the franchise and not been as fun as Iron Man or The Guardians of the Galaxy. Thor: Ragnarok changes this. This is one of the funniest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo, who play Thor and Hulk, have wonderful chemistry and how they bounce of each other is an absolute joy to watch. This is a space buddy movie and the two central characters really bring a comedic depth to their characters. Ruffalo as Banner and the Hulk worked so well that maybe it could create the possibility of a good Hulk solo film. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie is amazing and she fits nicely into the wide framework of the MCU.

The standout characters by far is Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster and Taika Waititi’s Korg. Goldblum turns it up to eleven, he looks like he is having so much fun with the film. Goldblum in his later years has been so exciting and his turn as the Grandmaster, hopefully isn’t his last. Korg will be everyone’s favourite character. It is as if Waititi wrote all the good lines for himself. Korg becomes the physical embodiment of Waititi’s inclusion. The character is the exact type of humour that is in his previous films. Everything Korg said had myself in tears of laughter. Every line is quotable.  Every character has a moment of hilarity and you can see the influence of Waititi and the success of The Guardians of the Galaxy. 

The comedic tone of the film could prove to be too much for some people. Some critics thought it was too comedic and lessened the impact of Hela’s threat. I do agree with some of the flaws that Thor 3 has. It can rely on comedy too much that the end of the world is kind of laughed off. Cate Blanchett is fantastic as Hela but if only she could of done more to be more of a threat. Hela has the power to take on the whole of the Avengers but this wasn’t portrayed that well in film. These are just small criticisms though because Thor finally has a film that will appeal to a much wider audience.

This might not have the emotional weight of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier and probably not the greatest film in the MCU but it is loads of fun. It is a colourful ride of blockbuster sized zingers and each character turned up to eleven. Thor is at his most likable and this film reinvigorates a stale character. Every character outperformed themselves and the whole process of making this film seemed fun. This translates to the screen and that is what makes an enjoyable and exciting film.

Thor has always been my favourite superhero in the MCU and it is fantastic that he can finally loosen up and enjoy itself. The film introduces new and wonderful characters and a vibrant tone that was needed to bring a vitality to the Thor franchise. Marvel knows how to make exciting and hilarious movies and Thor: Ragnarok becomes the newest member to the club. Thor Ragnarok is exactly what I expected when I was told the concept of a Thor and Hulk in a space buddy movie. It is colourful, light and full of laughs, Thor Ragnarok is just a load of fun.


Rating: ★★★★

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