REVIEWS

Review: Silliness Rules the Throne in Taika Waititi's 'Thor: Ragnarok'

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October 23, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok Review

There was a time where DC was all intense and dark, and Marvel was light and silly. Yet, over the years, Marvel got serious. And it was great. But a large part of me missed the silliness (and let's face it, we could all use a little silliness right now, if only for a couple of hours to escape the shitshow happening outside!). With Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, that silliness is back by the space-ship load. Waititi sets the tone early and it's evident that, for that time you spend in the cinema, all will be well. Big, bold moments are set up and immediately torn down with a witty one-liner that takes the legs out from under you and, despite some pretty twisted content, you're never really worried because you know you're in very safe hands.

In this latest Thor outing, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the God of Thunder and this time it's Mark Ruffalo's Bruce/Hulk who's along for the ride (with a few others from the MCU showing their faces again). The Thor/Hulk dynamic is absolutely joyous, offering some of the best gags of the film, and the friendship between Hemsworth and Ruffalo just bleeds right through into their roles on screen. It's cheeky and fun and an absolute delight to watch.

Of course, along with the familiar faces, we have some new ones along for this intergalactic ride. And what a selection of cast members they've *ahem* assembled! Tessa Thompson (as Valkyrie) is both hilarious and badass. She has one of the best entrances of all the characters but builds on that initial impression layer by layer until you are completely behind her in whatever she does.

Of course, our heroes would be nothing without some villains. And what a couple of absolute stars we have. Cate Blanchett is both horrifying and intriguing as Hela, the Goddess of Death. She's got a deadpan delivery that makes her fun and entertaining, even while she's slaughtering everybody in her path.

And then there's Jeff Goldblum. Oh Jeff Goldblum. With colourful make-up and a smile, Goldblum's Grandmaster keeps his prisoners against their will (Thor included) and forces them to fight in gladiatorial matches, profiting from their demise. But he's just so friendly about it that it's hard not to love him.

Thor: Ragnarok Review

Despite this insanely impressive cast (seriously, imagine the dinner party!), the star of the show is easily director Taika Waititi. As well as bringing audiences a fun, joyous film full of great laughs and seriously impressive effects, Waititi also appears in the film as CGI character, Korg. Despite serious competition from the others, Korg manages to be one of the highlights in a film full of great delivery.

The plot isn't without its flaws, though. It jumps around from planet to planet and plotline to plotline and occasionally feels like an unnecessary thread was thrown in just for a one-line gag. The jokes are superb when they're built up and then taken down but when it comes to plot it feels strangely like you're being set up for an interesting thread that then isn't explored. And surely there are only so many times you can write off Loki's mass murderous ways with an eye roll and a "he's adopted" before you say enough. Of course, the overall film is such joyful and pure escapism that you just don't care when the tangent goes a bit too far. And Tom Hiddleston and Hemsworth still have that superb sibling banter, so I won't complain too much.

The less you know about this hilarious film, the better. Do not look up anything that might spoil the surprises. No checking who shows up on IMDb or reading comments about the best in-jokes. There are so many brilliantly placed little treats littered throughout the film and each one is sure to have you cracking up – more so if you don't see it coming.

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok is the quirky and delightful lovechild of Flash Gordon and Bridesmaids – the kid who is happy to play by themselves because their imagination knows no bounds. It's an absolute treat from start to finish so just go in, sit back and let the mythic fun begin…

Amanda's Rating: 4 out of 5
Follow Amanda on Twitter - @filmvsbook

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Reader Feedback - 55 Comments

1

will check it out, from the first trailer I was hooked and Cate Blanchett sold me instantly...if she were a president she'd be Baberham Lincoln.

Xerxexx on Oct 23, 2017

2

neckbeard alert

DanielShaw on Oct 23, 2017

3

If you were an ice cream flavor you'd be pralines and dick.

Xerxexx on Oct 23, 2017

4

yea, blanchett is the main reason i'll take a look at this at some point.

dan on Oct 24, 2017

5

I don't even finish the reviews, when the opening paragraphs have little nuggets of "woe is me, Trump broke me" nonsense in them.

txJM on Oct 23, 2017

6

what the fuck?

Jon Odishaw on Oct 23, 2017

7

Exactly.

txJM on Oct 23, 2017

8

You're a soulless monster

DanielShaw on Oct 23, 2017

9

stop calling people Donald Trump !

Tester on Oct 24, 2017

10

Quite an assumption...

Alex Billington on Oct 23, 2017

11

Why? What should be assumed?

tommyturner on Oct 27, 2017

12

Assuming anything about what the writer is saying. She is based in the UK... not America... The comment is utterly ignorant, but this really doesn't even need to be said. It's obvious.

Alex Billington on Oct 28, 2017

13

It's not like she can't clarify using the same platform used to be unnecessarily coy...

txJM on Oct 31, 2017

14

ok

Jeff Prioleau on Oct 24, 2017

15

Totally agree. Unnecessary.

tommyturner on Oct 27, 2017

16

I’ve got a question and I want it known beforehand that I’m not taking a holier than thou attitude about this. My question is, at what point do people start to truly get tired of these superhero movies? I was researching and I’ve seen that in the past few years there have been around 31 superhero flicks made per year. Each movie has roughly the same story line. When will people get tired of watching the same movie over and over and over again?

Russell on Oct 23, 2017

17

Probably around the same time they get tired of crime movies, romantic comedies, war films, sci-fi, etc.

Dr. Waffle on Oct 23, 2017

18

Those aren’t valid comparisons, in my opinion. Not all crime movies, romantic comedies, war films and sci-fi films end the same way or have regurgitated plots. You can ask me to say how a super hero movie begins and ends that I’ve never heard of or seen before and I’d be able to tell you.

Russell on Oct 23, 2017

19

Really? Did "Logan," "Captain America: Civil War," or "Deadpool" all have the same "regurgitated plots"? Or end the same way?

Dr. Waffle on Oct 23, 2017

20

yes, at their core, they did. There were good guys and they beat the bad guys.

Russell on Oct 23, 2017

21

Most crime movies end with the crime being solved or with rote ambiguity. Most romantic comedies end happily. Most Westerns end with a shootout of some kind.

Dr. Waffle on Oct 23, 2017

22

You prove my point with the use of the word "most." ALL superhero movies end the same. Good guy beats bad guy. They ALL end that way.

Russell on Oct 23, 2017

23

"Civil War" didn't end that way. The bad guy basically won. And "Logan" ended with the two of the three protagonists dead.

Dr. Waffle on Oct 23, 2017

24

The bad guy was apprehended in civil war, which was a victory of the good guys over the bad guys. Never saw Logan, regardless of if two of the three protagonists died, the good guys still came out on top. At its core, the same ending, good triumphs over evil, with some losses along the way. I was going to bring up Batman v Superman as an example of the good guys losing a member on their way to overall victory.

Russell on Oct 23, 2017

25

Not really. He may have been apprehended, but he was still successful in getting the Avengers to turn on one another.

Dr. Waffle on Oct 23, 2017

26

I’m not sure of the chronological order for the MCU, I know he “turned them against each other” and that was a success. But he was still captured, which isn’t a success. There was closure that the villain was captured. The good guys were fractured, but won.

Russell on Oct 23, 2017

27

A lot of these movies are similar, they are not all exactly "the same". Good guys winning and bad guys losing has pretty much been the results of successful storytelling for thousands of years. Even Shakespeare's tragedies usually end with the bad guys losing, even though the good guys also lose (just like Logan, Batman v Superman, The Watchmen, etc). At this point, almost every kind of story that we experience is a cliche which has been done to death, in film, in literature, in comic books. Sometimes it's the characters that make the story, sometimes it's the journey from point A (the conflict) to point B (the predictable conclusion) that makes the story. If you enjoy it, you enjoy it, if you don't, you don't. Hopefully you don't paint people with the same broad brush you use to paint superhero movies.

Taternuts222 on Oct 24, 2017

28

It’s weird, I had an honest question and never once was I disrespectful or insulting to anyone, and yet there is always that one person that gets personally offended and makes assumptions. Grow up sir. I was asking out of honest curiosity and kind of hoping that someone would point me in the direction of a superhero movie that did things differently.

Russell on Oct 24, 2017

29

Get used to it...it's the internet. At least we're not talking politics. If good triumphing over evil is your criteria for what makes all superhero movies "the same", I would suggest staying away from the genre, or from just about every action movie ever made. For the most part, the masses prefer to see the good guys win, even when they also lose. Sorry, but I can't give you any examples of superhero movies that end with the bad guys winning and that's that, unless it's just a way to set up a sequel where the good guys win in the end. Some examples of superhero movies that break the mold a bit (but with the same predictable endings), are Logan, Deadpool, The Watchmen, Hancock, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Unbreakable, Kill Bill. Those are just some that come to mind, maybe not all considered superhero movies. I'll do my best to grow up, but you really need to lighten up. Your original comment was snooty if not overtly insulting. It may not have been your intention, but you come onto a forum which you know will be filled with people who like these kind of movies and insinuate that there is something wrong with those that like these kind of movies.

Taternuts222 on Oct 24, 2017

30

Once again, you assume things about someone you’ve never met. I also watch superhero movies. I asked the question because even me, who has seen a fuck ton of superhero movies, is experiencing superhero fatigue. You’re right, though. I should have foreseen that some random uber fanboy would get butthurt over a simple question. And yes my friend, you need to grow up.

Russell on Oct 24, 2017

31

Calm down, lady. I must've hit a nerve. Your comments really don't offend me since I really don't care what you think. My point is you come off sounding like a dick with your original comment. You've lumped people into a group, put yourself outside of that group, and suggested that there is something wrong with the people that aren't sick of the things that you're sick of. Pretty much the definition of a holier-than-thou attitude. In a passive-aggressive forum such as website comment sections, that's pretty damned passive-aggressive. If you'd argue that you never suggested that, maybe you should figure out how to use words better. Perhaps say "...at what point do WE get tired..." instead of saying "PEOPLE", that way you're not setting yourself on a pedestal. Good luck with that, princess!

Taternuts222 on Oct 24, 2017

32

Yawn. I suppose calling me “lady” and “princess” is a scathing insult in your eyes. Have a good day, friend.

Russell on Oct 24, 2017

33

Maybe not the most creative of insults, but certainly more so than "uber fanboy". You get that straight from the hipster-millennial handbook? Your words speak volumes. I may not know you...but I know you. Dig?

Taternuts222 on Oct 24, 2017

34

actually CB's follow the same basic pattern that EVERY Genre indicated in the above thread does . Only the setting is changed ; not the basic ethos and pathos of human interactions . That is why you're getting pushback , on what u feel is a " simple question " . Most action movies ended with the villian vanquished ; most love stories end with the guy getting the girl . the TV shows wrap up their similar plot lines , in 43 minutes every week ..."Win in the end , and send 'em home happy " is the overall repetitive theme . Don't put that all on only the CB genre ...

Dominic on Oct 24, 2017

35

And just so you know, firstshowing isn't a site dedicated to the superhero genre. It is a film website. I insinuated nothing, I asked if people will ever grow tired of this particular type of movie. I can elaborate, will there ever not be a proliferation of Superhero movies, like you know, 10-15 movies a year instead of 30? Does that appease your delicate sensibilities?

Russell on Oct 24, 2017

36

31 per year seems a bit high, are you sure that's correct?

Lewis on Oct 23, 2017

37

Yeah, they aren’t all Marvel or DC but there have been between 31 and 35 superhero movies each year since about 2012-2013.

Russell on Oct 23, 2017

38

DC and Marvel would be what 4-5 between them, as Marvel have introduced a 3rd film this year. I suppose then there are the individual films like Deadpool and the X-Men franchise to consider, but still 31-35 seems high. Any chance of a breakdown for this year?

Lewis on Oct 23, 2017

39

If it wasn't towards the end of the work day/ I had more coffee I'd google the breakdown for you and post it but I am feeling slightly lazy. You have to take in to account that some of the movies that are on the list are animated.

Russell on Oct 23, 2017

40

No worries. Animated movies shouldn't really be accounted for IMO, same as one list I took a quick look at had Transformers. I thought that was Japanese toy origin, before it was a cartoon (might be wrong). The point being though that the crossover onto comics and back into films is now massive, so its a case of drawing a line IMO on what is a Superhero movie.

Lewis on Oct 24, 2017

41

Those are good points. I suppose I just miss the days when superhero movies were more of an event. Where there weren’t multiple superhero movies released every month. Just feels like an overly saturated genre at this point.

Russell on Oct 24, 2017

42

Fair comment. I tend to lean towards only the MCU and DCU, with the occasional X-Men (a love/hate relationship with that mess). So for me they remain more an event, though was happier with 2 MCU's a year to be honest. Edit: I don't think I would bother with Spiderman anymore if he wasn't part of the MCU anymore to be honest. Can only do so many reboots.

Lewis on Oct 24, 2017

43

Hollywood has ALWAYS followed a movie that works , with 5 knockoffs of the same theme ... and nobody says you have to go to every movie . I LOVE that the Hollywood is so dependent now , on a genre they used to ridicule and play Only For Laughs . But I don't go see every movie , as I didn't buy every comic book ... CB movies pay the bills right now tho , Russell , so They Rule , period . and as we have finally seen lately , when you do the genre correctly it DOESN"T feel like the same movie , every time ..."Civil War " being different from "Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet" for ex ...When its done right , it's stories about human interactions , that happen to be in a mutant/CB setting . And , there's ALWAYS been a Villian , in a Hollywood story ....So " Thwarting the Villian " , which may be what you see as the most repetitive part , is nothing new ...

Dominic on Oct 24, 2017

44

I NEVER said I did find it repetitive!

Lewis on Oct 25, 2017

45

Correct I was adding to the conversation with Russell . I did include Russell's name in the middle of my post ... but you know , it IS repetitive ; I get russell's point ... just whaddya gonna do ? all dramas are such ....so it is bogus just to blame CBs for it Even a show that had many original themes like Orphan Black , in the end had one major villian pulling everyone's strings , that the " heroic clones " had to take down . For one example ...

Dominic on Oct 25, 2017

46

Sorry, didn't see Russell's name mentioned. I agree that the major villain being taken down is pretty generic no matter the genre, be it action, superhero, science-fiction, etc

Lewis on Oct 25, 2017

47

They are getting a little tiresome. but I will see the shit out of this film solely because it's made by Taika who has a way of making me laugh until it hurts.

Jon Odishaw on Oct 23, 2017

48

When will people tire of these football/soccer matches? I`ve done some research, and there is about 1 million football/soccer games on television each year, and people still want to see them. DOH! entertainment and interest can go a long way..or like Agent Cooper said it.. a Ways way! Quality not calculated.

ErrorSapiens on Oct 23, 2017

49

As long as these movies are earning billions of dollars a year, as long as these superhero movies continue to be the top box office draws, as long as they can wring millions more from fans from merchandising, they will continue to make them. Obviously enlightened individuals such as yourself are in the minority. The rest of us idiots are fascinated with shiny things and explosions. Movie studios produce movies to make money. Don't worry, there will continue to be plenty of Meryl Streep movies with butt-loads of critical acclaim and Oscar-worthy performances that no one will want to go out and see in the theater, so you got that going for you. I appreciate that you're not trying to sound holier-than-thou, but really, you sound kinda holier-than-thou.

Taternuts222 on Oct 24, 2017

50

A bit exaggerated. I would go with a more realistic number: 23 per year.

tarek on Oct 24, 2017

51

Never as long as the VFX and stories are good. There are so many characters and possibilities that haven't been explored yet.

ISeeMoney on Nov 5, 2017

52

Can't wait to see this!

Taternuts222 on Oct 24, 2017

53

on a different tack , apparently a decision was made to "divorce" Thor from his hammer . Making Hela strong enough to undo a Odin " spell of protection " . Prob just so that he wouldn't have a huge advantage in the " gladiator " scenes ...

Dominic on Oct 24, 2017

54

Pumped!!!

DAVIDPD on Oct 24, 2017

55

I enjoyed the film and it made me laugh. It was certainly the best of the Thor films in my opinion and the second best Marvel film of this year (the first being Spiderman). It certainly says something when GOTG2 could be bottom of the pile for me and so incredibly forgettable. What happened James? One thing that I did think after watching this (and the trailer for The Last Jedi) is how boring any form of space flight or battles have now become. It's amazing that the whole swooping between buildings and firing laser beams has been rendered so banal and tedious that I just find myself switching off. I guess advances in FX have taken us from a point where I practically pissed my pants at the camera following the Millennium Falcon peeling upwards and diving down into the hole in the Death Star in ROTJ to where every flight scene in any sci fi film is just so unengaging.

Payne by name on Oct 30, 2017

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