There has been this age-old tiff between the two giant superhero manufacturing magazines, the DC Comics & MARVEL Comics. And though some of the oldest, best known and all of my personal favorites reside in the DC Universe, what keeps Marvel ahead in the movie game, despite coming much later into the showbiz than DC, is their vision to create the extended Marvel Universe with such magnum. And with the recent inclusion of Spiderman into the universe, which is by far the most famous superhero of Marvel, they are soaring up high.
What also, to a point, helps humanize the action-figure-esque superheros in the Marvel Universe, is the introduction of humour into the movies unlike the dark and serious superhero reboots of DC (not to say that they are not as much entertaining!). Or else who would’ve thought Chris Hemsworth as Marvel’s breakout comedy star when he was first cast as Thor, God of Thunder. But he turned out to be one of the best things about this never-ending mega-franchise.
Thor: Ragnarok is undoubtedly one of the funniest film in the Marvel canon; it’s the loosey-goosey nature of the humor truly makes it one of a kind. The tone is established early on…in the film’s opening scene in fact, where Thor, trapped in a cage and dangling before a volcanic lava-resembling villain, coolly asks his captor to wait until he stops spinning to continue with his end-of-the-world threats.
Amongst all the battles and jokes, the movie tends to deviate in a few places. It is Hemsworth’s charisma that holds Thor: Ragnarok together whenever it threatens to spin apart, which unfortunately is often. Written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost and directed by Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows), this is almost but not quite a stand-alone picture, tethered to previous Avengers entries only by Thor’s opening search for the Infinity Stones, which has led him to be imprisoned by the fire demon Sutur.
Thor: Ragnarok introduces Thor’s long lost sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) who is determined to bring Ragnarok, which basically means total destruction, down on Asgard. It’s up to Thor to stop her, but for the most part of the film he’s imprisoned on a distant planet named Sakaar, where a cheerful tyrant known as the Grandmaster (a terrific Jeff Goldblum) forces Thor into a gladiator-style duel with his “work colleague”, The Hulk.
The actors and their innate timings with their dialogues is what will grant the movie its deserved success. Mark Ruffalo clearly seems to be having fun playing the Big Green Guy, and debating the chair for the strongest Avenger with Thor. Underused in this outing sadly is the always dependable Tom Hiddleston as God of Mischief Loki, and it feels as if some of his screentime might have been crunched to accommodate a new character, the badass Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). Blanchett, who’s kitted out in a black catsuit, goth makeup, and an impressive head of horns, appears to be having a jolly good time playing villian.
Reaching the end, the last act of Thor: Ragnarok blankets itself into the usual CGI mayhem, but director Taika Waititi smartly intersperses the explosions with some laughs and never lets it become a slog.
I’m going with 4/5 stars for Thor: Ragnarok. Good for a nice afternoon watch, the film definitely is a success.