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I think we’d all agree that the superhero blockbuster movie market is well and truly saturated by now. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking for something more original these days. I feel like I’m pretty much done with the insert hero here, any hero, doesn’t matter who it is, put them through a story where they have to question their worth, what they’re doing with their powers and their responsibility or some bullshit and then lead them to redemption in the final act and a massive, usually CGI, boss battle some generic villain and a whole bunch of eye bleeding special effects.It’s boring as shit.
And while Thor Ragnarok doesn’t stray from that base formula, it has enough of a point of difference to make putting you through this blockbuster meat grinder mainstream license to print money movie factory one more time worth it.
Why? Because basically they are taking the piss. Thor Ragnarok plays out more like a parody of the Marvel movies that have gone before and as such draws a massive line in the sand. Fans are either going to love it or absolutely hate it. Although from other reviews I think the consensus is generally a massive thumbs up.
This is all thanks to director Taika Waititi who, in my opinion is the real star of this film. I’m so glad Marvel decided to take a punt on this director who is very much the opposite of say a Joss Whedon or even a Kenneth Branagh—who directed the first Thor movie. He comes from New Zealand and while his background may appear humble next to Hollywood, he’s no slouch as a director with a resume that includes films like Boy, What We Do in The Shadows and the critically acclaimed Hunt For The Wilderpeople.
Before Thor Raganrok, the biggest budget this bloke worked with was $2.5 million. Marvel threw down $180 million for this movie, and the end result gives off a total kid in a candy store vibe. And that vibe ripples through the entire production. Watching this film you get the impression that everyone involved is having a great time on the company dime.
While Thor Ragnarok is very much a Thor film it’s also a Hulk movie and takes a lot of its cues from the popular Planet Hulk story. And it’s not really a complicated story, Thor finds himself stuck on the other side of the Multiverse on some weird garbage planet where he’s been captured and sold into slavery as a gladiator. Where he happens to stumble upon the Hulk, whose been missing since that battle against Ultron in the second Avengers movie.
There’s a new villain named Hela who has come to take over Asgard and Thor desperately needs to get back there to stop her.
So your old faves return to take on their well established roles, Chris Hemsworth continues to be perfect as Thor, Mark Ruffalo is back as a Bruce Banner and easily the best version of the recent Hulks and Tom Hiddleston reprises Loki. All of them slip back into these characters like a comfortable pair of ugg boots. notable newcomers include Karl Urban as the Executioner, Kate Blanchett as Hela, Tessa Thomspon as Valkyrie and Jeff Goldblum who almost steals the show as the Grandmaster. But the one character who does steals the show for me is Taika Waititi himself as Korg.
I seriously don’t know how much more of the Marvel Cinematic universe I can take but I really did enjoy this one. The story is the same shit but it’s how that shit is handled that makes this an absolute joy to watch. Thor Ragnarok gets 4 out of five.