DIR: Taiki Waititi • WRI: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost • PRO: Kevin Feige • DOP: Javier Aguirresarobe • ED: Zene Baker, Joel Negron • DES: Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent • MUS: Mark Mothersbaugh • CAST: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Tom Hiddleston
Move over James Gunn, there’s a new comedic Marvel director in town: Taika Waititi… plus he acts! Well, voices one of the characters, but still that character happened to be a great addition to the Thor cast. The God of Thunder returns in this fresh approach to the Thor series, packed full of sharp comedy, impressive action, and loaded with colourful characters… and the Hulk… so much Hulk.
Ragnarok does comedy so much better than Guardians of the Galaxy; while Guardians was quite childish (and don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it), Ragnarok does not shy away from the use of more adult humour; because we all know that probably over half of the people who go to see Marvel are grown-ups. Ragnarok uses quick wit to keep the comedy going, and it works really well, it’s just one laugh-out-loud moment to the next, and the comedy never fails.
Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston prove that while they can take the serious sides of the Thor franchise, they can also take on comedic roles, showing a different side to their characters from the two previous Thor movies. Idris Elba as Heimdall, plays a less static part in this film; and we see him away from his post as ‘gate keeper’ and more involved in the action, making him more well-rounded, and more likeable. Mark Ruffalo is hilarious, reprising his role as the Hulk and playing an enjoyably camp version of Banner. Giving us a lot more of Banner as the Hulk, Ragnarok allows us to see the polar opposites that exist within Banner himself. Plus the Hulk is more like a big child, and the back-and-forth bickering between him and Thor was amusing, their dynamic as ‘frenemies’ adding to the hilarity of the movie. The nod towards the other Avengers, Tony Stark and Natasha Romanov were nice to have in the film, reminding us that Banner and Thor are an integral part of the Revengers, I mean the Avengers.
This film itself moves to different places beyond Asgard or Earth, like Sakaar, where we meet Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster, who is equivalent to a Roman Emperor watching people who end up on his land battle his champion (the Hulk). Of course, Thor has the ‘honourable’ misfortune of getting involved in just that, while his adopted brother Loki watches on in mischievous glee. While on Sakaar, we meet new characters, such as the wonderful Korg (voiced by the director, Waititi), Miek, and Valkyrie (who could replace Lady Sif as the kick-ass woman).
Thor and Loki (but mainly Thor) are hell-bent on stopping Hela (played by Cate Blanchett), their older sister, who rises from the banishment Odin, their father, put her in, begins her quest of taking over Asgard. The brothers, trying to stop her making it to their home, find themselves dumped on the Grandmaster’s planet, hence beginning an adventure of immense bad luck.
You may remember in one of the trailers for Ragnarok the use of Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin was used. Waititi uses it twice in the actual film. He uses it for two action scenes complementing them both perfectly. The loudness of the song matching the vividness of the scenes, making the characters look bad-ass. As well as the song by Led Zeppelin giving it a rock vibe, the film’s score is mainly electro/synthesiser, giving the film an unearthly feel – again showing that Waititi was taking this film in a different direction to the other hero movies within the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).
This film marvels in its CGI, in particular the ending scenes, capturing destruction and action, as was Thor’s manipulation of lightning. The CGI used to show the lightning emanating from him plus the current visible in his eyes, is beautifully cinematic. The film gives us another element to Thor’s power, showing that his hammer (Mjolnir) was merely a conductor to his power to help him channel it.
With Thor: Ragnarok we get another facet to the beloved characters, seeing them being fleshed out more, and, although there is a difference in them (one that I think was needed in order to prevent the Thor films from becoming stale in later ventures), Waititi ensured that they were still recognisable.
Waititi has really upped the ante for all other Marvel movies to follow, and I’m not just talking about the ones owned by Disney. Fox and Sony will have to do a lot to keep up now. Waititi has definitely made a name for himself within the MCU. The only question I have now is… can Taika Waititi direct all ‘Avenger’ Marvel movies to come?
12A (See IFCO for details)
Thor: Ragnarok is released 27th October 2017