After a stellar summer of superhero fun, Thor: Ragnarok brings Marvel’s impressive 2017 slate to an end after impressive turns from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thor was noticeably absent from the events of Captain America: Civil War and now we get to see what the God of Thunder has been up to.
The story is packed full of storylines with director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) taking full advantage and delivering one of the funniest Marvel films you’ll ever see. We join Thor as he is being held captive. A series of unfortunate events sees him marooned on a planet and forced to fight in gladiatorial battles, which reunites him with his old colleague The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). He’ll need his help if he is to return to Asgard to put an end of Ragnarok, an end-of-days scenario which will bring the kingdom crumbling down. The assault is led by Hela (Cate Blanchett), someone with strong ties to the royal bloodline of Odin and who will stop at nothing to take over.
The plot is full of twists and turns that make full use of its impressive ensemble. Chris Hemsworth clearly has fun as Thor and is always worth the admission. He bounces well against Tom Hiddleston who once again charms the screen as the mischievous Loki. Cate Blanchett steals every single scene she has as Hela. She is the best part of Thor: Ragnarok without doubt and I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve for the next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe.
The supporting cast are great too with Tessa Thompson a joy to watch as Valkyrie and Anthony Hopkins, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum and Idris Elba all collectively impressive. Taika Waititi even gets in on the action and voices Korg, a rock-faced gladiator who isn’t short of comedy gold at any given opportunity. I wasn’t a fan of what they did with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk though. Set up more as a comedic sidekick to Thor, his impact has significantly lessened. The spectacle of his fight with Thor is still undoubtedly brilliant though. Doctor Strange shows up in a nice cameo and the whole film itself looks stunning from start to finish, with key scenes soundtracked to perfection by Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song.
There are other niggling concerns throughout the film too. The relationship between Thor and Jane is glossed over in passing which is just not good enough at this stage of events. We have invested too much time in their relationship for it to be dismissed so casually. The fate of a few supporting characters are also handled quite nonchalantly and aren’t given their proper dues which I thought was really bad. As entertaining as it is, Thor: Ragnarok plays a bit too much like an out-and-out comedy which is a shame, because the story had plenty of dramatic points to explore in greater depth.
Your enjoyment of Thor: Ragnarok will depend squarely on what you want from your Marvel products. It’s lots of fun to watch, that is for sure, but I also felt it lacked a bit of emotional depth opting for relentless comedy whenever possible. If anything, it’s the complete opposite of DC’s slate, especially the dour Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it gives audiences the most colourful and exuberant comic book adventure we’ve had for many a year. Perhaps at this stage, this is what’s needed to keep audiences invested? Those concerns aside, Thor: Ragnarok is a very enjoyable watch all the same and proves that the God of Thunder is still a hugely relevant jewel in Marvel’s crown.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Taika Waititi, Rachel House, Clancy Brown, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson Director: Taika Waititi Writer: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost Released By: Marvel Studios/Disney Certificate: 12A Duration: 130 mins Release Date: 24th October 2017