Thor: Ragnarok – Movie Review – Vibrant superhero fun with great action.

Quite some time has passed since Disney and Marvel announced that the Ragnarok story will be the focus of the third Thor film. Since then indie director Taika Waititi had joined the project which was an interesting directorial selection. Other factors came into play as well such as the inclusion of the Hulk. So how is the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

This film follows Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as he is banished to the planet of Sakaar after Hela (Cate Blanchett), has risen to take over Asgard and fulfil the prophecy of Ragnarok. Whilst stranded on Sakaar he crosses paths with the Hulk, and must find a way to escape and get back to Asgard in time to prevent Ragnarok from occurring.

This is a really enjoyable film, for those of you like myself who were severely disappointed with Thor: The Dark World for being lacklustre and dull, fear not because one of the best aspects of Thor: Ragnarok is how fun it is. With that being said I believe the comedy will be a major talking point once people have seen the film. For me it’s both a positive and negative, the comedic driven tone certainly adds to the entertainment value of the film overall, but at the same time it weakens what should’ve been some of the films more dramatic and impactful moments. There’s only a handful of scenes where the punchlines and humour don’t end up taking over, and for a film that is about the potential demise of an entire realm, the comedy does make it difficult to really feel the weight of the stakes. A lot of people in my screening found this film funny and were constantly laughing throughout. As for me it took a good twenty minutes or so before the film got it’s first laugh out of me, in fact during those twenty minutes I was rather worried about the rest of the film because personally, a lot of the jokes weren’t landing for me. Despite warming up to the humour and finding certain moments to contain great humour, I still think overall the comedy is a bit hit and miss and is certainly leaning more towards the side of miss in my opinion. Once again I will highlight many others were laughing non stop from beginning to end, so you may end up finding it as funny as they did.

The visuals effects in a broad sense were great and very appealing to the eye. I liked the colour palette and how vibrant the colours appeared, it really made the visuals pop especially in IMAX. I do have some minor issues with the visuals, some of the green screen effects looked unfinished. It was clear to identify when the green screens were used, due to there being very visible blurry outlines around the edges of the actors. It was very bizarre, I’ve never found it to be this noticeable in an MCU film before. The cinematography was great and that’s just to be expected at this point, I don’t think there’s been a single MCU film with poor cinematography thus far. Taika shot all of the action set pieces competently, a number of the bigger sequences were shot in the IMAX format. These sequences are some of the most entertaining action sequences I’ve seen in a Marvel film in quite some time. They were full of energy, a lot of fun to behold and many different characters got in involved in them throughout. There’s a great sequence involving spaceships that was a particular highlight, There’s obviously Thor’s battle vs. The Hulk which is a significant part of the marketing campaign, that fight was great. The film also opens with some great action and ends with it too. There is a lot of action to keep the pace flowing and to keep it at an entertaining and steady rate throughout the whole film.

Chris Hemsworth is great as Thor, he really gets to showcase his talents as a comedic actor this time around, and whilst his comedic dialogue didn’t always land I felt it was never down to him and his delivery, just more so down to how the dialogue was written. Another reason why I think the comedy doesn’t quite work consistently in the whole film, is because it felt like they compromised some character traits for the sake of having them deliver a joke. Thor doesn’t feel consistent with how he was in the previous films, and it’s not a case of his character developing and changing over time since the other films because he hasn’t in this type of way. It seems as if Taika prioritised the comedy with Thor, even if it was at the expense of keeping the character consistent with what we have seen before and how we know him to be. Mark Ruffalo is also great as The Hulk but as Banner he didn’t feel familiar, I don’t know if that’s because we haven’t seen him since Age of Ultron and that might be the case. But overall Mark didn’t seem to have a firm grasp over Banner as a character. I really enjoyed watching Cate Blanchett’s performance as Hela, she fits this role perfectly and I can’t picture any other actress portraying her. I like what they did with Hela’s backstory and the changes they made from the comics, but despite that she felt a little wasted, she remained a little underdeveloped as a villain and her motivations were rather one note. None of that though is the fault of Cate, that’s more so an issue with the script. Cate still did a fine job with what she was given and it was clear to see she was having a lot of fun with the role.

As we’ve come to expect by now, Tom Hiddleston was as good as always and I like the role Loki was given within the story of this film, and the element of uncertainty created by not knowing whether he had his own agenda or not. Idris Elba was finally given more to as Heimdall and I’m glad, I liked the direction they took his character. Karl Urban shows up as Skurge he was the one weak link in the cast, not because of his performance but because of the script. He felt criminally underwritten and didn’t have much to do other than stand in Hela’s shadow. What they end up doing with him is supposed evoke a reaction from you, whilst I understand what they were trying to do, it didn’t pay off because they didn’t develop his character well enough to earn that moment. Tessa Thompson plays Valkyrie and she left a great impression on me, I’m looking forward to seeing her in future MCU films. Last but not least is Jeff Goldblum’s The Grandmaster who is very bizarre, but the character just works and I think Jeff really made that role his and provided many laughs.

Aside from the hit and miss comedy, the other issue I have is the story. The film opens in perfectly fine manner and how the story is developing through the first act worked for me. When we get to Sakaar the story seems to stagnate and come to a halt. It doesn’t really develop that much and I felt they spent too much time on that planet, it essentially takes up the whole of the second act. But when we get back to Asgard in the third act, then the story kicks into gear again because it’s finally reaching it’s peak in momentum. It is only at this point when we start to feel the gravity of what is going on, and we are gifted with more entertaining action sequences towards the end that were really well done.

I found the musical score to be quite disappointing, it was rather forgettable. There were a couple of moments where the film had an 80’s retro video game sound to it, that fit brilliantly I just wish there was more of it and less of the more conventional pieces of composed music.

Overall Thor: Ragnarok is a very entertaining film, it has great action and spectacle. The story didn’t reach it’s full potential and the comedy is hit and miss but it’s a damn good enjoyable time. See it in IMAX if you can.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

(3 Stars Out of 5)

-T. Graham.

Thor: Ragnarok – Starring Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba and Jeff Goldblum.

Directed by Taika Waititi.

Now showing in UK Cinemas. Opens in US Cinemas November 3rd.

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