Marvel are consistently badgered about their inflexible narratives, use of repetition and recycling plot lines, but with 2017, and hopefully the forthcoming future, studio head Kevin Feige seems adamant to change that. He’s out to prove people wrong. And he’s doing a great job. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 saw an emotionally charged, visually astounding tale of ego and self indulgence, whereas Spider-Man: Homecoming (which, granted, I think I overrated in my initial review, but it’s still fun) is a high school comedy disguised as a superhero epic. Then we have Thor: Ragnarok, a witty and colourful space epic/buddy road trip adventure from innovative New Zealand director Taika Waititi. And it’s pretty bloody great.
The first act of Thor: Ragnarok is bad. After an initially epic opening, full of humour and explosive visual eye candy, the plot needs to set up a great many things. Almost too much. It’s no doubt a fascinating plot, varying enough from the typical Marvel fanfare that it stands out amongst the crowd, but to tell the story, the audience needs to be filled in a lot of information. After all, it’s been four years since the last Thor film, and a lot’s happened since then that the casual viewer may not necessarily remember. We bounce across the galaxy from planet to planet, and it’s a very choppy, unevenly paced ride where the runtime is well and truly felt.
Once all opening expositions and plot developments are out of the way, we’re thrown into the true reason as to why we’re here. The plot’s been set up and begins moving in full gear, and that’s when the real fun begins. After the introduction of the show-stealing newbies, including Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and Taika Waititi’s Korg (who’s easily the best thing about this film), the movie becomes exactly what I wanted it to be and more. There’s no need to rush things from here on out. Waititi and co. take their time in telling the plot, allowing enough dramatic weight and humourous circumstances to blend together in creating a masterpiece of fun.
A great deal of the dialogue is reportedly improvised, allowing these oh-so-brilliant actors to play around with the material and create some of Marvel’s best and most unexpected laughs. There’s jokes in here so unlike Marvel, but so brilliant in its own way. This is a very different type of superhero movie, and the entire cast kills it. Jeff Goldblum pretty much plays himself in space, but that’s far from a critique. Every film needs to have Jeff Goldblum playing himself. That man is a far more interesting character than any writer could come up with. However, this is Taika Waititi’s film through and through, both on and off the screen, for his character Korg is absolutely astounding. The humour is very Australian/New Zealander, resulting in us locals getting the biggest laughs out of his character.
Even Hulk finally gets some necessary character development. Having now been the Hulk for two years, he’s developed more of a personality in comparison to his previous appearances, now talking and interacting with other characters. He gives one of the best on-screen tantrums in film history. It’s so juvenile and stupid that it works magic. Visually speaking, he looks incredibly, as does most of the character work. Some green screening and location design can look cartoony, particularly during the first introduction to Hela, but there are so many visual effects in this film that the smaller inconsistencies get overshadowed in the grand scheme of things.
You May Also Like: