Thor: Ragnarok (2017) was the final film to enter into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in 2017, and does without a doubt put both of the previous Thor films to shame. Action-packed, full of fun and endlessly humorous, Thor: Ragnarok is an adventure which the whole family can enjoy – and is certainly one that I can (and do) recommend.
Right from the get-go, Thor: Ragnarok makes its audience aware that this is going to be a very different experience to the previous Thor films. Not only does the titular Thor (Chris Hemsworth) immediately break the fourth wall in a record-scratch moment, but where the previous two Thor films – neither of which were particularly well-received, compared to the majority of the MCU – took themselves far too seriously for the most part, Ragnarok is a laugh-a-minute adventure. New Zealand screenwriter Taika Waititi, himself a comedian and an actor, elected in directing Ragnarok to take a leaf out of Guardians of the Galaxy‘s (2014) book, and ensures that this time, there is plenty of humour throughout – and it works. It works really, really well.
Perhaps some of the best elements of the film, as far as the humour goes, are the interactions between characters. With The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) now able to talk, the rivalry between Thor and Hulk gets taken to the next level, with humorous dialogue and physical interactions making for an entertaining experience that will leave the audience with sore ribs – just like that single punch in The Avengers (2012), known as Avengers Assemble here in the UK, did.
This high quality of character interaction also applies to the sibling rivalry between Thor and his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), as both of them verbally and physically taunt each other throughout the film, much to our amusement. ‘Get help’ may well be one of the best scenes in the film – if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I’m referring to, and if you haven’t, this scene alone is worth watching for.
Action-packed, full of fun and endlessly humorous, Thor: Ragnarok is an adventure which the whole family can enjoy.
Equally, the story of Thor: Ragnarok is also fantastic. As per the norm with the Thor series, a lot of the elements of the plot are actually based around real Norse mythos – including the event of ‘Ragnarok’ itself. With some twists (some admittedly more predictable than others) and a lot of turns, the plot carries itself throughout the film without feeling forced nor tedious, unlike in some superhero films (cough DC cough – sorry, I must have had something stuck in my throat…) that I could name from the last couple of years.
With several other MCU titles being referenced in Ragnarok, as well as some other superheroes making cameos (such as Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch), Thor: Ragnarok stays fun, fresh and engaging throughout. Plus, Stan Lee’s cameo this time around was a lot more substantial – and everyone loves a bit of Stan Lee.
One of the key things that people look out for in a superhero film is the visuals, and Ragnarok does not disappoint. Considering how visually lacklustre the two previous Thor films are, Ragnarok has considerably stepped the game up, not just for the Thor franchise but for the MCU in general. The special effects throughout the film are amazing, with the foreign planet environments being just as intriguing and visually pleasing as those in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Of course, it’s not just the background and the buildings which look good – the costumes, too, are some of the best in the MCU to date. Thor’s new look is fantastic, and his winged helmet in the arena is a nice throwback both for long term Thor fans and fans of the Thor comics. The outfits for new villain Hela (Cate Blanchett) also look awesome, melding together brilliantly in the transition scenes as she magically transforms her appearance to look more menacing.
With some superhero films becoming darker and more serious these days, it’s nice to see one be this laid back and lighthearted, whilst poking fun at itself – and I would certainly welcome more films in the genre taking this approach.
Speaking of villains, Hela is fantastic. Blanchett plays her exactly how she should be; cold, uncaring, and hell-bent on death and destruction. She isn’t called the Goddess of Death for nothing, and Blanchett’s performance does wonders to emphasise this fact. The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), as a secondary villain, does well to serve as comic relief; he acts like the archetypal idiot villain, he’s full of himself, and he monologues. Whereas Hela is your typical evil villain, the Grandmaster essentially serves no purpose other than to satisfy his own ego, which leads to several funny interactions, particularly when he first meets Thor.
However, as far as the villains go, Hela steals the show, with only Thor and Loki themselves outshining her. Sadly, even on the comedy front, the Grandmaster is outshone by not just the main characters, but by one of the background characters Korg, who is voiced by director Taika Waititi – though he still plays a valuable part in satisfying our need for comic relief.
Overall, with an amazing soundtrack, awesome visuals, and some fantastic acting, Thor: Ragnarok is by far one of the best superhero films of 2017, and certainly one of the best from the last few years. With some superhero films becoming darker and more serious these days, it’s nice to see one be this laid back and lighthearted, whilst poking fun at itself – and I would certainly welcome more films in the genre taking this approach.
Thor: Ragnarok is by far one of the best films of 2017. With sharp humour, an engaging plot, an amazing soundtrack and stunning visuals, it is definitely one superhero story that you do not want to miss. You should definitely have popcorn at the ready for this one.