Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.
Taika Waititi makes the leap from Hunt for the Wilderpeople in 2016 to Thor: Ragnarok in 2017, and given how entertaining this film is, Waititi is going to have his pick of projects for what he decides to work on next. Thor: Ragnarok continues Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, edging it close to the long awaited Infinity War, while also rounding out the Thor trilogy.
In short, Ragnarok is an insanely entertaining and fun film, it’s definitely going to be a crowd pleaser. Waititi’s comedic style is used in abundance throughout the film and it’s going to end up as one of the most entertaining releases of 2017. Borrowing heavily from the Planet Hulk storyline, and blending it with the Asgardian apocalypse, Thor: Ragnarok delivers countless situational driven character sequences that never wear thin.
In a story sense things are straight forward, insert the goddess of death Hela, as well as a revenge plot against Thor’s people, drop in Loki to keep things a little less conventional and add Hemsworth’s endless charm as Thor and it’s a winning combination. While the plot is rarely unpredictable, this film is certainly more about the journey than the destination. With so much fun to be had what is an insufficient plot is unlikely to hold the film back. To its credit however the final act does manage a few surprising elements which should be appreciated, beyond that it rarely breaks the marvel film mould.
Cate Blanchett gives a memorable performance as Hela, she’s clearly aware of the film she’s in and she delivers a delightfully over the top villainous performance as the first female lead villain in the MCU. While the Marvel films have struggled with memorable and well developed villains at times Hela comes down as one of the better written antagonists and a decent follow up to Keaton’s inclusion in Spiderman: Homecoming, here’s hoping the MCU villains are trending upwards from now on.
Chris Hemsworth seems to be having an absolute blast as Thor in this film, though there isn’t much of an arc in terms of character development. In spite of the gravity of the events around him Thor seems to take it all in his stride and there are a few missed opportunities for some more dramatic storytelling with the film so caught up in its own comedic sensibilities. Loki suffers some similar issues, and while Hiddleston is great as ever, there’s not much left to do with Loki at this point. He’s undergone the brother turned villain, and redemption story, here he’s almost reduced to simply comedy relief which is far from his early appearances in Thor and Avengers.
Ragnarok surpasses Avengers as the best Hulk film in the MCU, Hulk’s role here is excellent and the depiction of the character receives a great level of detail and interest. From his various moods to the relationship dynamics of Hulk and Bruce Banner, Hulk is well worth the ample screen time he receives here. The Thor/Hulk dynamic is also handled superbly and their onscreen chemistry a standout of the film.
The best character arc in Ragnarok however is reserved for Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, who is another standout addition to the film. Thompson’s performance is well suited to the film as its unpredictable rogue and she adds some of the needed gravity to the film with a more dramatic backstory that keeps her character engaged with the events of the film.
It’s an excellent looking film with high quality production values, the visual effects work on Hulk improves with every film he’s in, and the expanding interpretation of Thor’s abilities look excellent on film.
There is plenty to like about this film, it is a fine addition to the series and the most entertaining Thor film by far. However its light hearted nature never allows the drama of some of the films key events to really settle with the characters. There are compelling events here which are glossed over far too quickly simply to make way for comedic quips, the balance here isn’t quite right and in this regard it’s a shortcoming to the film.
I’m giving Thor: Ragnarok 7.5 out of 10, it’s in cinemas from 26th October 2017.