We Will Ragnarok You - Thor: Ragnarok (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Slightly delayed but I wanted to finally sound off on the recent entry in the MCU, Thor: Ragnarok takes our Asgardian cast of characters and thrusts them into conflict when an age old villain, Hela, returns and the nearing prophecy of Ragnarok, the Norse equivalent of the end-of-days, is set to change the landscape surrounding Thor and his fellow Asgardians forever.
Reprising their roles from previous Thor films are Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Irdis Elba as Heimdall, and of course Sir Anthony Hopkins as Asgard's favorite patriarch Odin. Fellow MCU mainstays Bruce Banner/the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and a much more sure of himself Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) make appearances as well. Newcomers to the MCU include Cate Blanchett's as the main antagonist Hela, her meek henchman Skurge (Karl Urban), Jeff Goldblum pretty much plays himself as the Grandmaster, and the ever stunning Tessa Thompson as joins the cast as former Asgardian hero turned bounty hunter Valkyrie. The Warriors Three make an appearance but their role in Ragnarok is criminally diminished, partly thanks to the last two Thor films falling short of what we expect from the MCU.
Strangely enough, one character who was absent was Jamie Alexander's Lady Sif. Apparently Alexander had a scheduling conflict which prevented her from being in the film. Mind you, Natalie Portman didn't return to the franchise as Jane Foster but at least that was explained away in an off-screen break-up... as for Lady Sif, to not even mention her whereabouts feels quite short-sighted.
All in all, the cast of Thor: Ragnarok was one of the high points of the film. Everything felt fresh and despite this being the third act in Thor's starring journey... it felt like it could stand apart from the rest of the MCU and still be successful.
What set's Thor: Ragnarok apart from the previous two films is felt in the direction of it. MCU newcomer Taika Waititi directs the threequel, lending much of his irreverent humor to the final product. Both Thor and Thor: Dark World felt like products of their respective directors with Kenneth Branagh giving the tale an almost Shakesperean feel and the sequel's Alan Taylor attempting to recreate Branagh's take on it. Waititi just takes that whole formula and throws it out the window, Thor: Ragnarok is just as action-packed as a film one would expect from the MCU... but with an all-new funny bone that was barely felt in the first film and only slightly hinted to in the second. From Waititi voicing a character made of rocks to Thor's “he's a friend from work” line when facing down Hulk in the arena, this third and hopefully not final entry in Thor's story feels like where the film series should have been in the first place.
When comparing it to films in the MCU, Thor: Ragnarok felt more like an off-shoot of Guardians of the Galaxy than a continuation of Thor's story. Ragnarok being the end of days means much is going to change for Thor's corner of the MCU... and I can say (of course without spoiling anything) that it does... in a big way. This sets us up for the forthcoming Infinity War wonderfully.
Taika Waititi is the best thing to happen to the MCU since the Russo brothers. Hopefully the decision makers over at Disney/Marvel Studios can see just what Waititi has done and give him either another Thor film or have him direct the adventures of another hero.
Widely entertaining picture despite small gripes