‘Thor: Ragnarok’ arrives in South African cinemas this weekend and with it, marks the 17th film as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and their third movie released in 2017. With this many movies already, and Thor appearing in 4 of them, one might wonder what, if anything, they can do with Thor that’s new and keeps the momentum of the whole franchise going as we move into a big 2018 for the MCU. ‘Thor: Regnarok’ proves that Marvel Studios has no intention of slowing down or playing to type, tone and genre as they pull out all the stops for Thor’s third stand-alone film.
Giving brief mentions to and quickly resolving the cliff-hanging elements from ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and ‘Thor: The Dark World’ respectively, this movie doesn’t waste any time getting things started as Thor looks to halt the prophecy of Ragnarok, restore order to Asgard and set things right. In short order we encounter several different realms, worlds and characters, some familiar and putting in cameos to remind you that they still exist and some new, before the ”main” plot is established. There’s clearly a wealth of ideas in this movie as the intent is to adapt and meld the ‘Ragnarok’ and ‘Plant Hulk’ storylines from Thor and Hulk respectively from the Marvel comics. While there is never any doubt as to whom the main character is and who’s movie we’re watching, with Thor very clearly being the focal character, there’s more than enough story for both aspects of this film to cover their own movies. At times it feels as though some aspects of both plots on the planet Sakaar and the impending of threat of new villain Hela upon the citizens of Asgard are short changed until the later stages of the film as focus shifts between both locations for a while. The plight of planet Sakaar and Asgard would have likely been better served with sole focus in different films.
Those misgivings aside, there is no doubt that anyone viewing this movie will be thoroughly entertained from start to finish. Taking a cue from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2’ and expanding both the colour palette and the humour significantly, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is heavy on humour and doesn’t skimp on action across many varied and colourful inter-planetary settings. I would say this is a positive, as the tone is constantly upbeat and dialogue is breezy throughout as some aspects of this story could very easily get too heavy or morose. Instead, the tone keeps things light and allows for some unique character moments between the action, which is clearly the positive influence of director Taika Waititi who is known for this kind of tone in other movies he has worked on. His effect on this film can be looked at as a success and very few of the general movie going public will feel disappointed in this one by the time it’s all over. There are a lot of whacky and crazy things in this one, and that distinction is not lost on the characters in the movie. This movie also succeeds in ultimately personifying the inner strength and character of Thor in a way that the first two stand-alone Thor movies and two Avengers movies have not done so yet.
Chris Hemsworth delivers another enjoyable performance as Thor and captures the spirit of the character regardless of whether he is throwing down with giant monsters or charming with his words. Not only will guys be impressed by the action involving all number of mythological and alien threats, but female viewers will be impressed by Thor’s physique as new look adopted throughout the film. With this new twist on Thor and his more confident and lighter take on the character, I feel like Thor’s stock has risen for when he reappears next year in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. Another character who benefits from some added exploration is the Hulk. We learn where he’s been since ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and discover more to his personality than and any of his previous MCU appearances. Actor Mark Ruffalo gets to stretch his comedic legs a little more in this movie and definitely adds to the overall product. Tom Hiddelston turn in another great performance as Loki and his continued involvement and evolving role across multiple movies has bucked genre conventions and been one of the greatest things to happen to the MCU that has come out of the Thor franchise. Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, while a new comer to the series and not getting as much screen time compared to the other stars mentioned above, more than holds her own and adds some depth to what might otherwise be a one-note character. Cate Blanchett turns in a fun performance as Hela and clearly loves every moment she gets to play up her character. Honestly, you’d have to look really hard to find a bad performance in the movie as every character, both major and minor, are given love from everyone involved. It should go without saying that Jeff Goldblum brings it in the role of The Grandmaster, Karl Urban almost flies under the radar in this film but still gets enough time to make an impression as Skurge The Executioner, Anthony Hopkins gets a brief opportunity to show why he’s still one of the best in any role, and even a side character like Korg (played by Taika Waititi) is given a reason for audiences to take to him as they play this ‘Planet Hulk’ character against type to humorous effect.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ will leave you laughing, amazed and in awe by the time it’s all said in done and will give audiences plenty to chew on before banner 2018 year for the MCU. There’s plenty of Thor to go around, a generous portion of Hulk, a drizzle of backstabbing and manipulating courtesy of Loki, a pinch of Asgard and all it encompasses, a sprinkle of cameos from characters we wish we could see much more of, all washed down with insane cosmic zaniness in the Marvel Studios manner. There are two extra scenes throughout and after the credits so as always, remember to stick around for that. This is a great film for the whole family, both young and old. Don’t miss ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ in cinemas while you have the chance.
Reviewed on: Cinema 2D
Available on: Cinema 2D, Cinema 3D, 4DX, IMAX 3D, Cine Prestige
Genre: Superhero, Action, Adventure, Comedy
Age Rating: 13 V
Estimated RRP: R50 – R175
Release Date: 27 October 2017
- Tone and colour palette
- Enough plot, ideas and characters to easily carry two movies and give some ideas room to breathe.
- Barely get to spend enough time with some past characters.