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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Thor: Ragnarok

October 25th, 2017 by Mark McCann Comments

Thor: Ragnarok (12)
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett and Mark Ruffalo
Running time: 2hrs 10mins

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.

Ragnarok, the third outing for Marvel’s god of thunder, has been teased and promised so much that it seems a herculean task (no pun intended) for this type of film to live up to the pre-hype.

Following a spirited outing with Thor in 2011 at the hands of Kenneth Branagh, things became somewhat drab in the 2013 outing with Alan Taylor helming. Two Avengers films, the second of which was lacklustre at best, and the Odinson has seen better days by the time we roll around to the third solo outing, the famed Ragnarok of myth; an event prophesised to end the Norse pantheon.

Luckily, at the hands of Taika Waititi our favourite Nordic deity and his ilk has become reinvigorated instead.

Waititi, best known for Eagle V Shark, Flight of the Conchords, What We Do In The Shadows and his team Thor shorts for Marvel had already been creeping into the public subconscious as a very funny director and one to watch out for by the time we get to his Marvel cinematic debut. It turns out Waititi is a natural in the arena of big budget movies. The director handles action, pathos and comedy all on an even keel, delivering one of the funniest, paciest superhero outings to date, weighed at times with a sombre tone that does fitting justice to the theme of the film.

In short, Thor: Raganarok rocks.

Chris Hemsworth, another very funny man, finally delivering those comedy chops he played with in Ghostbusters 2016, really comes into the role of Thor here. Rumours that he apes John Carpenter’s Jack Burton have credence, but we’re dealing with an even more elaborate set-up, which gives the cast of unique characters from across the galaxy plenty of room to quip and chew the scenery.

Everyone is funny.

Tom Hiddleston is an endearing anti-hero, Karl Urban is a hilarious henchman, Tessa Thompson is a sassy rogue, Mark Ruffalo is a baffled hypochondriac and his large green alter-ego is a childish foil for some deadpan laughs. But even with staples and new faces firing on all cylinders, fan favourite heavyweights Blanchet and Goldblum deliver devastatingly charismatic performances as the nonchalant villain and batty dictator, that would steal the show if it wasn’t for that great gravity brought to Odin by Sir Tony Hopkins. Waititi himself cameos as Korg, probably one of the funniest characters in recent cinema.

The script comes together as a fantastic melding of plots from comic books Thor Ragnarok and Planet Hulk, served up by long term Marvel animated/live action TV show writers Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and comics Chris Yost. The writing not only shows a real reverence and understanding for the material, but also delivers great fan-service, something that readers will love and appreciate.

Waititi’s spot on interpretation of the material in a vast CG canvas of colours and wonders makes for a real crowd pleaser of a film. The ensemble is great. The script never misses an opportunity to entertain. The techno soundtrack interspersed with Led Zep’s the Immigrants Song for the ‘fist pump’ moments all adds to something that cinema-goers seem to want more and more of at the moment: fun films, heroes we can cheer for and soundtracks we can listen to long after the credits roll.

Fun is in vogue and Thor: Ragnarok is fully capitalising on it.

5 out of 5 Nerds

I came here in a time machine from the 1980s. The time machine was called childhood. I'm getting back there at all costs! (I also live, love, write, lift & pet cats wherever I may find them.)