Thor: Ragnarok is the third instalment from Marvel’s resident God of Thunder, and the seventeenth (seriously) in their cinematic universe. Although a beloved member of the Avengers, Thor’s movies have arguably been the least liked of the main character trilogies so far, so we were keen to see if the acquisition of visionary director, Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), was enough to inject some new life into the franchise.
We’ve not seen Thor since the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, when he decided to search the universe for those pesky infinity stones he couldn’t stop dreaming about. He may well keep the success of this trip to himself in future movies though, as it becomes clear early on that things haven’t quite gone to plan. Imprisoned far from Asgard, Thor finds himself in a race against time to return to his home world to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of all Asgardian civilisation, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the villainous Hela. But along the way he finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest, that pits him against an old friend from work.
In regards to story, there are definitely some issues. Ragnarok is a movie that requires you to just kind of let go of that logical part of your brain and enjoy the ride. This is also the case with pacing. Especially in the first act, which is quite jarring at times. Lots of different plot points and back story are introduced early on, across multiple realms with a number of characters. The movie really finds its feet in the second act though, which is perhaps why the beginning feels slightly rushed and erratic, as Waititi seems to want to get Thor to a certain point as quickly as possible so he can really have some fun.
Like most of his Avengers cast mates, Chris Hemsworth has perfected his performance as Thor now, and shines again here. Tom Hiddleston is also great as Loki, although that mischievous spark is beginning to fade. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner is fine, but somewhat wasted. Although watching Hulk and Thor’s back and forth, as well as their gladiatorial contests more than makes up for that. Cate Blanchett is on great form as Hela, and clearly enjoying her villain duties. But for me, minor supporting characters really stole the show. Tessa Thompson was a great introduction as Valkyrie, and Jeff Goldblum’s turn as Grandmaster is every bit as ‘Goldblum’ as you could’ve hoped. Waititi gives perhaps the stand out performance himself though, voicing the loveable rock warrior, Korg. I imagine I won’t be alone in hoping that he returns in the future.