Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok - Review

Taika Waititi has directed a Marvel film. That’s really all you should need to know to pull you into Thor: Ragnarok. Though the talent he has shown with his other films is stupendous, now he has the Marvel money machine behind him and a franchise begging for a rebranding. A rebrand that sees the God of Thunder in an epic (and hilarious) adventure the likes of which the MCU has yet to see.

Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor's quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.

When I say Taika Waititi left his mark here that’s not an understatement. His touch of humor and heart are not lost in this big fantasy story. And though many are touting Thor: Ragnarok as a comedy, it is not without its dark moments or big stakes. The plot, without giving anything away, has real moments of dread and weight mixed with the light-hearted nature that the adventure aspects present. Humorous and emotional moments hit at an alarming rate that few blockbusters can match.

In many ways, Chris Hemsworth never really felt truly immersed in the Thor character like his MCU counterparts are in their roles, but that changes here. Hemsworth and Thor are one in the same at this point, and seeing the transition from the first film to now is really fun to reflect on. Cate Blanchett, brilliant as everyone already knows she is, finds a way to be menacing and cocky all in one as the villainous Hela, never missing a chance to be ruthless in purest sense of the word. Tom Hiddleston is back in perfect Loki form and Mark Ruffalo as a more intelligent Hulk is an absolute joy to watch.

The characters that stand out, however, are newcomers to the franchise. Director Taika Waititi voices the hilarious Korg, whose comedic timing and soft-spoken nature are insanely funny in every scene he’s in. Above all else though has to be the excellent new character Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson. The character is everything you’d want in a new hero for the expanding MCU. Awe-inducing, never faltering, and truly powerful, Valkyrie is a welcome addition and hopefully Tessa Thompson sees plenty of future time in the MCU.

Perhaps the only worry going into Thor: Ragnarok was how Taika Waititi would handle the action, certainly a new venture for him. It’s definitely not a worry anymore as each action scene is a blast, kinetic and inventive in every sense of the word. Thor: Ragnarok feels like the best direction that Marvel could’ve taken with Thor, a blending of sci-fi and fantasy as well as humor and drama for a film that feels fresh and new for the aging MCU.

Overall, Thor: Ragnarok may just be the funniest and most exciting film of 2017 and sets the Thor franchise on a whole new course. There is no word on if a fourth installment is in the cards, but if there is, Taika Waitit needs to return. His comedic sensibilities suit this high speed adventure setting and the performances and characters that occupy it. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston continue their runs as the perfect castings for their roles and the newcomers all deliver as well. Without a doubt, Thor: Ragnarok is an electrifying new entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

So what did you think of Thor: Ragnarok? Have you seen it? Are you interested in seeing it? How does in rank among the other MCU entries? Share, subscribe, comment below and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight. 

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