Thor: Ragnarok-Review (EIC)

Taika Waititi’s entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a grand and beautiful one.

When the tile of this film was first announced, many, myself included, thought this would be Marvel’s most serious film. After all, the story of Ragnarök from Norse mythology is nothing short of an epic and the story of Ragnarok from Thor’s mythology in the comics follows that mold.

What Taiki brings to Thor: Ragnarok is simply the opposite & surprisingly…it works, very well.

Marvel Studios has done a much better job letting their directors have their imprint on the universe for Phase 3. An improvement over the more formulaic approach of Phase 2.

Thor Ragnarok is as much of a Taika film as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was Gunn’s. In that sense, fans must set aside their own “vision” for a film and embrace what the director saw fit. This is a template I use going into any film but especially for comic book films from all studios.

One familiar with Taika Waititi’s style across his career will know he has a specific taste for comedy. He finds a sweet spot to operate in and perfects it. For Thor: Ragnarok, he takes the character into a new platform which could be a hit or miss for some but for me, it was a hit. This move felt very fresh and the character of Thor got a fresh facelift from his previous films.

The film keeps it’s soul in it’s characters. A tried and true model, Thor: Ragnarok, much like previous MCU films, is very much character and interaction driven rather than the ideal and theory driven style that their DC counterpart produces.

Once you understand the director’s style, the studios history and the flavor of the film, it’s simply a matter of embracing it.

Thor Ragnarok is a rollercoaster of visuals, action, laughs and color. At the same time, it doesn’t lose it’s soul in it’s own comedy. Characters like Loki, Valkyrie and Thor truly drive the emotional core of the film.

Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett and Tessa Thompson all deliver great performances.

My only 2 gripes of this film comes from an over abundance of comedy at the expense of the Hulk. An evolved character from the previous films, Hulk almost gives off a “brand new character” feel and at times does not even feel like the same character seen in The Avengers & Age of Ultron despite many callbacks. While this is addressed in the film well, the continuous comedy from Banner didn’t mesh as well in the film.

My other gripe came from the villain. Like most Marvel films, there is a slight villain problem. The reason for this is the way the plot is structured, focused on protagonists while the villain acts as a “chore” to handle in the greater goal to developing the characters. While Blanchet did really well in the role, I felt the character itself was slightly lacking. Overall, those 2 gripes seem to fold within the film without hurting it.

Taika Waititi’s film is a great experience and in my opinion, is the best Marvel Studios film of the year, surpassing GotG Vol. 2 & Spider-Man Homecoming. This is second MCU film that truly acts like a love letter to Jack Kirby’s legendary work, the first being Doctor Strange. Many of the costumes, sets & atmosphere’s are “Kirby” in nature and it’s very cool to see. Long time comic book readers will notice the multiple nods to other Marvel stories and characters in both their own film universe and the comic books.

A film with beautiful visuals, impressive directing and great character dynamics, Thor Ragnarok is one of the better films Marvel Cinematic Universe.

4/5

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