Thor: Ragnarok Review

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
October 20th, 2017

Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Dir: Taika Waititi, 130 mins, starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins

Thor: Ragnarok Review

After the prior installments failed to capture the imagination of Stan Lee’s Norse lightning god, the most potent Avenger is home to complete his trilogy with Thor: Ragnarok (2017). But does the anticipated finale end on a high note? Find out as Jordan Samuel reviews the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe adventure.

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Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

Beloved Marvel Comics superhero Thor debuted in the science fiction/fantasy anthology title Journey into Mystery #83, bringing Norse mythology into the universe with the legendary stories drawn into the comic world.

Jack Kirby brought together striking visuals and iconic Norse imagery into the mix, bringing to life a fantastic hero for the masses. I always enjoyed reading the classic storylines due to the balance of comedy and severe world building in the colorful Asgard. Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) soon developed the concept of adapting the thunder god Thor on screen in 1991, but it was quickly abandoned and fell into dreaded "development hell" for several long years.

It was renounced, soon after the success of Iron Man (2008) that the god would be adapted in the live-action format with British director Kenneth Branagh helming the project. The big screen treatment failed in delivering exciting elements of the comics, and comedy sequences which made the thunder god so intriguing in the 1960’s. Instead, Marvel Studios focused on the less compelling family drama and earth-based romance: relying on too much Avengers set up for their right.

Apart from the perfect casting in Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Thor (2010) disappointed many as the movie lacked golden charm seen in the Iron-Man series or prior comic book franchises. It also granted the worst reviewed MCU sequel Thor: The Dark World (2013) which continued the trend of focusing on side characters and not letting the superhero breathe. I left the cinema feeling upset we never got the comic book adaption needed to push him into golden standards.

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Years have passed since Thor movies disappointed audiences with overdrawn romantic elements and standard family drama. 2017 brings us Thor: Ragnarok but does it live up to a mighty name? Let’s delve into the anticipated title

Taika Waititi is the most left-field choice for Marvel's thundering demigod with his unusual comedic style, but Thor: Ragnarok (2017) is the most original and devise movie in the line-up with fantastic visuals and fun tone. Reinventing the iconic Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comic book pages, with new twists expanding upon the alien worlds seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.

Waititi's (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) confidence in bringing out fun sides to the Asgardian prince, finally give Thor some needed character with belly rolling laughter correcting the over-serious tone seen in the prior installments. The movie traps Chris Hemsworth (Avengers) as the god of thunder on an alien world, while Asgard is under attack due to the latest threat.

Despite dangerous story elements Marvel Studios allow the independent director to deliver a light-hearted character study, filled with great action and outstanding quips. The bright colored, funky and 70s sci-fi inspired cityscapes to give the world a sense of originality never seen in the previous adventures: I give props to the visual department artists that bring the rich environments to life. Every facet of Ragnarok is the retro romp advertised, with the Sakaar planet design looking like a Heavy Metal magazine cover (with Led Zeppelin music numbers).

Thor: The Dark World tedious sci-fi elements and romantic subplots are non-existent in the new offering, remaining in the more joyous realm taking the franchise closer to the source material.

Kenneth Branagh (Thor) first movie introduced the fish out of water dynamics, which is put to new levels with the god put in crazy situations harking back to the Superman (1978). I love the fact Thor gets a completed story arc with the god becoming used to his skin, with the little personality traits coming off in the adventure as progressive in becoming a signature player in the cosmos. The change of setting gives him spiritual lessons, which should help out the Avengers in future adventures.

Chris Hemsworth flexes his comedic muscles from the moment he appears on the screen, totally embracing the silly elements of an overgrowing god. Waititi doesn’t hold back from making the thunder prince subject to heart-pounding comedy scenes, especially with the green giant Hulk, pushing for a friendly rival.

Tom Hiddleston and Mark Ruffalo return to the stage with the very different characters all working in tangent. Performances are outstanding from the pair, working very well with the central star Chris Hemsworth. I love these cameos which propel the story forward: without being the primary focus in Thor’s last adventure. The signature fight between Hulk and Thor is excellent! Reaching to gut-wrenching areas while being light-hearted enough to root for in the meantime.

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The movie at heart still has the Marvel formula attached, with the massive battles and world ending stakes while Asgard crumbles. I didn’t love these elements as they detract from comedic flair that the director brings, with his creative take on Thor’s world not needing the big third act blues.

Still, I had the most fabulous fun in the cinema with the light-hearted tone pushing it into the MCU great vault. The best, however, is Cate Blanchett as Hela. Oscar-winning actress provides the best Marvel villain for a long time, with her grand manner and scene-chewing evil goddess- doesn’t hold back in causing trouble in Asgard. I love the idea of Hela trying to one-up each villain before her, with one sequence, in particular placing her in Marvel movie history.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) works on each level with the character-driven take on the famous hero, emphasizing his best elements and giving him a grand finale for the ages!

Marvel is embracing the director’s vision with a baseline for better cohesion form the big studio and independent artists: giving these icons fantastic adventures for years to come. It’s the best adaptation of the source material in years and should be watched on the most significant screen in your area

4/5

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