Thor: Ragnarok (12a)
Watch Date: 28.10.2017
Description: 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.
The tone and humour of Ragnarok is spot on. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re a fan of Flight of the Concord and chuckled at the Team Thor short; you are going to be right at home with this instalment by What We Do in the Shadows (2014) writer/ actor/ director Taika Waititi.
There’s a few actor cameos for you to geek over; a little blink and you miss it, but the pay off when you spot them more than makes up for. However, I will say this, yes, it’s him, no he’s not credited, yes, I am certain its him. So don’t bother checking IMDB mid movie like the naughty man in front of me./
The music is stunning and so very different to anything we’ve really had before. There is some evolution of style from Guardians of the Galaxy in terms of the decade in which it draws its inspiration from, and Led Zeplin’s Immigrant Song is a prominent feature, but that is very much where the comparisons end. Soundtrack Geek argues, in his review, that the 80s synth is rarely used. However, I would like to perhaps suggest that it certainly is a defining and welcome feature of the film’s suite. It brings together the visual style to allow the audience to accept this change of direction in the MCU.
The Mad (not bad)
The middle section can only be described as MCU’s expression of an acid trip. From the psycadelic worldscape Thor arrives in, to the delightfully eccentric Grandmaster it is pure unadulterated mind fuckery.
Jeff Goldblum is pitch perfect as Grandmaster, leader of the planet which enslaves anyone and everyone to perform in gladiator battles for the society’s pleasure. Goldblum is always a pleasure to have on the screen, never more so than here, when it is very clear that he’s having so much fun.
Thor’s entrance into the presence of the Grandmaster is a welcome nod to the journey down the chocolate river in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971). The music fades in subtlety and develops to a wonderful crescendo.
I can’t not have at least one criticism of the film. In it’s defence, it’s not so much about the film, but the promotion of the film. There appeared to be this big thing about the disclosure of the Grandmaster’s undefeated challenger within the film. I could see the pay off, however the multiple trailers had pulled that rug MONTHS ago. Yep, the film was trying to hide the Hulk when the audience already knew Mark Ruffalo had a major role. I’m gutted I didn’t get that nerdgasm of Hulk’s reveal and Thor’s retort “I know him, we’re friends.” (Oh, and if you’d like to know the story behind that line, head here )
Be still my heart, Tom Hiddleston is back and much funny than ever. Dark World gave him that wonderful ‘Ta-Da’ moment and Ragnarok builds upon that to show more of a trickster than an angst-ridden man that would have felt out of place in this high-spirited adventure.
That said, Anthony Hopkins does a mighty turn as the God of Mischief too. Right before that Dark World cliffhanger is resolved and the story starts proper, we see Hopkins-as-Loki-as-Odin living a wonderful life, honouring his not-so-fallen self in the process. It’s joyful and I only wish we’d gotten a little more.
However, there is more to this placement than a witty pun on my usual review format. While Loki is undoubtedly my favourite part he is also my weakest part of this outing. How many times will MCU allow Loki to be used as a trope. He’s now way too predictable and no longer holds any authenticity as a character with depth. It’s quite sad really, because not only can he not be considered a villain, I am struggling to see beyond the self-parody to accept him as an anti-hero.
While I’m on the topic of villains, it would be hard to leave the review without mentioning our main antagonist of Ragnarok. Cate Blanchett arrives as Hela; our cookie cutter villain with a half-baked and, in this case, senseless motivation and strategy for dominance.