How to start a revolution: Make sure to print enough pamphlets. It’s revolution basics 101, not brain surgery. That is where Korg (Taika Waititi) failed. To be fair, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and Bruce / Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) didn’t print and handout any pamphlets. Ragnarok was part of that huge phase three lineup way back in 2014 that when announced the collective nerd world exhaled. It’s no secret that Thor: The Dark World is one of the least favorites in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (A lot of people have it ranked towards the bottom, me included), not a lot of hype was for a third installment of the strongest Avenger.
That quickly changed when director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) signed on. Taika is the first person of color to direct an MCU film and that decision was probably the best for not only the Thor franchise but for Hollywood in general. A lot of excitement surrounded this film and rightly so, it’s a chance to get the bad taste that is The Dark Worldout of our mouth. A new direction is definitely needed and necessary. Thor has been more on the serious side where the MCU has been more lighthearted. That’s not to say there aren’t serious moments in the Infinity Saga, because well, there is.
Taika, in the first scene of the film has captured and unleashed the power of Chris’s humorous side. It makes Thor that much more likeable and relatable instead of always being so dark and Shakespearian. The script receives a huge makeover in tone. Yes its more lighthearted but when the film needs to be more serious it can be while not taking away the overall goal of the film. That has been the major difference between Marvel Studios and Warner (DC). DC has been darker in tone and overall structure of their films while Marvel has kept it lighter and more comical.
“Yes, me too. On many, many occasions. There was one time when we were children, he transformed himself into a snake, and he knows that I love snakes. So, I went to pick up the snake to admire it and he transformed back into himself and he was like, “Blergh, it’s me!”. And he stabbed me. We were eight at the time.”
The best thing that the Thor franchise has going for it is the chemistry of its stars. Chris and Tom hid their stride immediately picking up with their quick shots at each other really selling that brotherly bond Thor and Loki share with each other. Even with new characters that are introduced – each actor / actress fits their respective role like a glove. Aside from Korg the standouts of new characters are Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). These are incredibly interesting characters with compelling stories that should be told Valkyrie’s. Even Thor’s sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) has an interesting origin that should be explored in the future.
The writing is structured better than in previous Thor films adding more depth and emotion that the story needed to be considered a great film for Marvel. Ragnarokis Marvel Studio’s seventeenth (you read that right) film and it would be a missed opportunity to not deliver a solid outing for one of the big three trinity Avengers. The plot covers different comic adaptations including Planet Hulk. Man, imagine they hid that Hulk revel from the trailers, and we all saw it for the first time in the theater. That ad-libbed line of dialogue by Thor would have been infinitely more impactful. Regardless, it still worked even though we knew it was coming. This film plain and simple is more layered making it an improved overall story.
Where the writing fails is by the luck of the villain. Cate Blanchett gives an outstandingly sinister performance but it’s the character’s motivation that gets lost in the shuffle. That seems to be the pattern for all MCU films. The Dark Worldgave us a darker tone as far as the visuals are concerned. This film the color palette drastically different. It’s like Taika took a paint brush full of every color and slapped a fresh coat on. Every color pop’s off the screen and is more pleasing to the eye. The cinematography is vastly improved even during the fighting scenes. Every scene has something going on in it. Nothing was ever stationary or stagnant.
Marvel has succeeded in their music choices – Thor: Ragnarokis just another prime example of that. The use of Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin is comparable to the music choices in the first Guardians film. The song is literally about Norse mythology – it’s a perfect fit and how they use the music works so well in the structure of the story as a whole. The humor and seriousness are blended well together but the humor is by far one of the best aspects of this film.
“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Korg. I’m kind of like the leader in here. I’m made of rocks, as you can see, but don’t let that intimidate you. You don’t need to be afraid, unless you’re made of scissors! Just a little Rock, Paper, Scissors joke for you.”
Another aspect that works for this film is the amount of time spent on Earth. The loss of Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is enough of a driving force to keep Thor motivated enough to be a good man and a just King. Previous films wasted too much time on earth with uninteresting characters – there is an entire universe out there, let’s explore it. This film gives us some of the best cameos in any MCU film to date. Of course we get Stan “The Man” as the “barber” who gives Thor’s head an upgrade but there is one cameo who outshines Stan. When Thor returns to his home of Asgard, a theatrical play is being held and the actor playing Loki is none other than Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting). Sam Neil (Jurassic Park) plays Odin while Luke Hemsworth (Westworld) plays Thor. Its brilliant.
We do get that overarching feeling with an appearance of the Sorcerer’s Supreme Doctor Strange. There are some questions as to where Lady Sif is while her fighting companions are being slaughtered by Hela. There is no new infinity stone but, we are alluded to the disappearance of the Tesseract when Loki starts Ragnarok. This film like the past sixteen films has two post credit scenes. The first shows Thanos’ ship intercepting the Asgardian one foreshadowing the next Avengers film. The second post credit scene is a less serious one involving the Grandmaster back on Sakaar.
“Asgard is not a place, it’s a people. And its people need your help.”
Overall, Thor: Ragnarok is a completely different shift for the franchise. It’s funny, witty, intelligent, sobering and visually stunning. It’s a rebirth for the character and highly regarded as one of the best MCU films. The chemistry between all actors and actresses is one of the highpoint in this film. If I were to rate Thor: Ragnarok, I’d rate it a 4.6 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Thor: Ragnarok and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Thor: Ragnarok is directed by Taika Waititi is Rated PG-13 and has an 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Thor: Ragnarok was released on November 3rd, 2017 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 10 minutes. Thor: Ragnarok can be streamed on Disney Plus.
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Thor will return