Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston
Director: Taika Watiti
Running Time: 130 mins
Thor: Ragnarok is an American film and the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After Thor’s elder sister, Hela the Goddess of Death, invades Asgard, Thor finds himself almost powerless to stop her from destroying his home planet and bringing the end of days: Ragnarok.
This film is a lot of fun. As I always say, Marvel have really got into a great groove that’s allowed them to provide consistently entertaining and exciting action films. Previously, however, the Thor films have been the weakest link, and often the dreariest of all the Marvel films, but that couldn’t be further from the case with Ragnarok, which is an endlessly enjoyable, bright, funny, action-packed and hugely energetic film from start to finish.
Now, I wouldn’t put Thor: Ragnarok quite in the upper echelons of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that doesn’t mean it’s not brilliant, and the main reason for why it’s just so entertaining can be placed almost entirely with director Taika Watiti, who does an incredible job here.
As I said, the previous two Thor films were far from impressive. The first was a passable, albeit fairly boring movie, and The Dark World was a painfully dreary and dull CGI mess. However, with Watiti on board, the series is finally invigorated with some real life, energy and humour that fits in with the MCU’s atmosphere, but still manages to prove a refreshing addition to the Thor series.
Above all, it’s the film’s pace and energy that really makes it such an enjoyable watch. From start to finish, you’re on a pretty non-stop action ride all around the galaxy with Thor, who rather than being moochy and brooding like before, is full of life and humour throughout, and Watiti uses that reinvigorated character to full advantage by making him a hugely likable and genuinely funny presence throughout.
Chris Hemsworth’s performance is a lot of fun, and he relishes the ability to go all out with a smile on his face and have fun in the role of Thor, rather than getting bogged down by any more serious Marvel story, which is a real joy to see, and alongside a heap of hugely entertaining co-stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson and more, the film is so much more fun to watch than in previous editions.
What’s more is that the film’s visuals are absolutely out of this world. Marvel went insane with the colour spectrum in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, possibly a little too insane, but Thor: Ragnarok gets it spot on. Again, in comparison to the grey, dreary mess that was The Dark World, Ragnarok is an endless rainbow of entertainment and fun, with incredibly vibrant colours dominating the screen throughout, lifting the atmosphere to that of a slightly crazed, but still massively entertaining blockbuster.
Watiti’s influence can also be seen in the film’s comedy, which is often a lot wittier than some Marvel films. Although some of the MCU’s movies do feel like flat-out comedies (Ant-Man in particular), some of the humour can be a little simple, amounting to little more than simple quips that, while funny, never provide huge laughs.
Ragnarok, on the other hand, takes inspiration from the likes of Watiti’s side-splitting comedy What We Do In The Shadows with some fantastically deadpan comedy that fits in nicely with the film overall, all the while allowing for typical Marvel quips that are still a lot of fun to see. In short, Thor: Ragnarok might just be Marvel’s funniest film of all, something I welcome with open arms.
Despite all that, however, there is one element of the film that I wasn’t bowled over by: the story. As fresh as it feels in the Thor universe, Ragnarok is at the base of things still just another formulaic Marvel movie. It’s still a really fun watch, and there are times when the story brings some decent stakes to affairs, allowing you to get a bit more interested, but the fact remains that the story follows some very familiar beats from beginning to end, and won’t ever really thrill you on the action side of things.
Overall, however, I had a load of fun with Thor: Ragnarok. Its story may not set the world alight, but its insane sense of humour, visuals and epic directing all go a long way to making it one of the most consistently entertaining blockbusters you’ve seen in a while, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.8.