2017 in Cinema:
Thor: Ragnarok, 2017
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins
Thor: Ragnarok is the third Thor film in the MCU and the 17th film in the MCU overall, and, Black Panther aside, is the final film in the lead up to Avengers: Infinity War. So, as a small warning, this review will contain some minor spoilers.
Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) joins the cast as Hela, the sister of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and first-born child of Odin (Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs) thus rightful successor to the throne upon Odin’s death. Hela, the Goddess of Death, soon destroys Thor’s hammer and sets about ruling Asgard as Thor and Loki are cast away and end up on a planet which loves combat sports. Thor must once again create a team, this time with Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and (sometimes) Loki as they battle to get off their planet and prevent Hela from causing Ragnarok, the destruction of Asgard.
After Marvel’s latest film Spiderman: Homecoming, which, while an okay film, was somewhat disappointing, and DC’s latest film Wonder Woman, which was fantastic, Marvel needed a statement here to prove they’re not letting the quality of their films diminish through laziness (let’s face it, even if this film was terrible everyone would still race to see Avengers: Infinity War) and they succeed with that, as Thor: Ragnarok is a funny, exciting and entertaining film from start to finish. While some of the jokes seem a little easy, it was a nice change of pace to not just have Thor come and save the day with his muscles and his hammer, this was a more sarcastic Thor and one embracing his inner power without needing his hammer.
However, while Thor was his usual elf and Loki was brilliant as always, I was a slight bit disappointed with Hela. As a villain she was brilliant; she was strong, powerful, evil and instantly crushing Thor’s hammer immediately alerted us to her strength, but it was her character which wasn’t explored enough for my liking. She’s Thor and Loki’s sister, but this isn’t really explored enough throughout the film other than her simply stating it. She announces she’s their sister and they accept it straight away and start fighting. It just felt unnecessary to have (I know she’s their sister in the comics so must be the same here, but they could have written it more into the film than what they did). I liked the idea of a family battle but it felt like a decent villain with aspirations of world domination but forced to state she’s family at every opportunity. But, that aside, she’s a thoroughly entertaining villain, even if I was a bit disappointed with how she ended in the film.
Also, Bruce Banner can breathe on two planets that aren’t earth. It’s a small thing but something which was never spoken of during the film. He’s on two planets, and space ships, yet he is breathing normally.
Negatives aside, though, Thor: Ragnarok is a very good film, and a solid penultimate film (is Black Panther really connected strongly to the Avengers for that to be considered the last penultimate film?) before Thanos finally gets up off his chair and starts collecting the stones (he’s been after these stones since Guardians of the Galaxy yet hasn’t any . . . part-time villain so far!). Visually stunning from all aspects with a major disaster looming that is nicely centered around Asgard yet also can have serious consequences on the rest of the world, and nice cameos from Doctor Strange and Hulk (with a hilarious moment from Loki regarding Hulk), all creating the connections which are ultimately going to bring the cast of thousands together for the big showpiece next year. An enjoyable film from start to finish, and, possibly, my favourite Loki performance.
Plot: * * * *
Acting: * * * *
Writing: * * * *
Presentation: * * * * *
Overall Rating: * * * * ¼