It’s always nice to get a slight twist on the expected formula…
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok; the destruction of his home world and the end of Asgardian civilization at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela (Cate Blanchett). But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger, the Incredible Hulk! (Mark Ruffalo)
Embracing the pure entertainment value that doesn’t always get mined in these comic book adventures; Thor: Ragnarok is really all about the ride that we get taken on as director Taika Waititi gives the entire proceedings a sense of irreverence that we’ve rarely seen before.
In such a bold yet truly simplistic move, we get dropped into something with a much more colourful flair to it, not just visually but tonally as well. The returning characters are established and assured of themselves and their abilities while the narrative flows with a genuine crack of energy that we can feel throughout. This is what Taika Waititi brings to the game as his natural sense of joie de vivre comes through into the material and it makes the entire film feel like you’re sitting in the school yard actually reading a comic book and seeing it come to life in your head.
The production design is absolutely stellar as these worlds pop off the screen in this road trip of a comic book movie where they are making it all up as they go along. Even though there is an epic baddy and worlds to save along the way, everyone involved never makes it feel all too serious or even grim and they just embrace the nature of this over the top intergalactic romp that they are on. Waititi was a perfect choice for this installment because as much as things are getting torn apart as you’d expect in any Marvel movie, he’s building other things while tearing down at the exact same time which goes to the core of why so many people love these comic book stories in the first place. They are big, bold and filled with drama…but there’s nothing that will keep you up at night either.
Now having played the ‘Lord of Thun…God of Thunder’ for the 5th time now, Chris Hemsworth is settling into the role of Thor with a great deal of ease. He’s loosened the accent, allowed for his natural sense of humor to shine in the role, finally make him into a character that we can truly get behind. Tom Hiddleston as his mischievous brother Loki is always a good time and Mark Ruffallo allowed for the Hulk to have some genuine pathos while still smashing whatever needs it.
As the sister to Thor and Loki, Cate Blanchett as Hela gets to chew the scenery at every turn and makes for a deliciously fun villain to add into the MCU and one that it feels like we haven’t seen in quite some time. While Tessa Thompson joins the cast as Valkryie allowing for a strong female presence on both sides of the coin to be felt throughout the film. Jeff Goldblum adds some flavour as The Grand Master while Karl Urban and Idris Elba get pushed into the background on this installment.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are as expected top notch and the special features include a gag reel, some behind the scenes featurettes and a feature length commentary track with Taika Waititi.
Is Thor: Ragnarok a vital entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We say yes because it’s the first comic book film that actually made us feel like a kid again rather than nostalgic for those days when I would read comic books.