Rebranding Thor with a Guardians of the Galaxy style makeover, Thor: Ragnarok is an injection of energy into Marvels weakest franchise. This makes the film the most humorous and visually interesting of Marvels canon to date but at the cost of a coherent plot and a sense of individual identity for The Avengers resident god.
Taking Thor out of Asgard and stranding him on the galaxy’s dumping ground Sakaar, director Taika Waititi further expands the Marvel Universe to include gladiatorial duels, an army of the dead and a rocking synth soundtrack. Waititi gives Thor a complete makeover, ditching the hammer and his golden locks for bright neon and unleashing the full potential of his lightning abilities. Pushing fan favourites Loki and Hulk to the forefront and introducing a breadth of new characters on both Sakaar and Asgard breathe new life into this potentially stale marvel property with Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster and Rock warrior Korg (played by Waititi himself) standing out as the most entertaining additions, attributing to the often awkward tone of the film that makes it so hilarious. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk is as always the standout, further developing the character as a childlike powerhouse and offering utterly iconic images as he faces off against an oversized Norse wolf and a 1000ft tall fire demon.
This electric energy instilled in every part of Thor: Ragnarok creates a string of highly entertaining sequences from start to finish, however, this string is fragile and it comes at the cost of a staggered plot and abrupt tonal shifts. There is definitely an uneven momentum throughout the film with thrilling action being scattered amongst less exciting exposition and the characters jumping around constantly for the first act of the film till it finds its feet on Sakaar. It’s a glaring problem that the film loses its power and energy when focusing on the elements inherent to Thor’s mythology; Asgard, its inhabitants, and Cate Blanchett’s villainess Hela are the weak points and Waititi’s interests, along with the audiences, have clearly shifted to the intergalactic aspects of the wider Marvel Universe.
Thor: Ragnarok is arguably the most exciting Marvel film to date. Genius comedy filmmaker Taika Waititi manages to put in a lot of his own distinct humor and visual flare whilst adhering to the universe building mythos of the MCU. While the plot does tumble now or then, the action and comedy never stop delivering; This creates not just a great superhero film but a great film period.