Thor: Ragnarok sees Thor battling his old friend Hulk, while trying to play nice with his brother Loki, while trying to save his homeland from destruction, and many other things.
When the Goddess of Death Hela (Cate Blanchett) arrives in town threatening to destroy Thor’s home land of Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), his mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), his fellow avenger Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and new character Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) must put aside their differences and join forces to stop her. Along the way we’re introduced to quirky characters and a peculiar new planet, all of which add a much needed element of freshness to the Thor series of movies.
Much of the freshness found in this film can be attributed to director Taika Waititi’s contribution; watching Thor: Ragnarok almost feels like you’re watching a Marvel movie from a new perspective, while still retaining all the elements that make a Marvel film unabashedly, a Marvel film. Waititi’s directing style brings with it a particular sense of dry humour and wit, along with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pace unlike any we’ve seen before to come out from the studio.
While the humour is at times on-the-nose, it does serve as a welcome addition, however the fast pacing of the film maybe not as much so. It helps keep the viewer invested over the course of the film’s two-plus hour runtime, but doesn’t leave much room for character exploration as the narrative keeps moving on and on and on, often before you’ve had time to process what you just saw. That type of pacing doesn’t necessarily make for a bad film, and some viewers may even prefer it, but oftentimes with that style comes a trade-off; style over substance.
Even though some of the (new) characters don’t get their fair share of character development, they all still bring something new to the table. Jeff Goldblum’s quirky Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and Taika Waititi’s Korg are just three new standout characters that could have benefited from more screen time, in place of some scenes that didn’t feel too necessary and could have been left on the cutting room floor. But even with that being the case, their additions added to the overall entertainment value of the film which is all you could hope for, and let’s face it, this being a Marvel movie, we can expect to see them in future movies where they will likely get more focus.
One thing the Thor films have always suffered from (and almost all Marvel films on a wider scale) is the lack of a compelling villain. Cate Blanchett’s Hela remedies this to a degree, because while she isn’t the most original villain, with the most original motive, Blanchett’s performance and the character design make for a Marvel movie-villain standout. Hela looks like something ripped directly from Dark Ages mythology and Blanchett completely owns her character, making for a villainess to be rivalled with.
The biggest highlights of this film would have to be the buddy-relationship between Thor and Hulk, whose scenes together feel as organic (and funny) as you would expect them to be from two actors/characters that have appeared in multiple movies together, as well the film’s neo-retro inspired look and soundtrack, adding to the overall zippy pace for the film, making it a lot more tolerable and exciting. The vibrant mix of visuals, sound and costume design, epic action and humour make Thor: Ragnarok the best Thor film out if its trilogy, but also one of the better Marvel movies to date.
Eighty percent of the dialogue in the film was improvised, in order to create a “very loose and collaborate mood” among the cast.