Repeating the number one slot in global office for its second consecutive week, Thor: Ragnarok is no surprise hit. The seventeenth installment of the biggest movie franchise in the world, Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest entry finds the crown Prince of Asgard, Thor, amidst his quest for the Infinity Stones.
Visually spectacular from the starting battle with Surtur and his minions, Chris Hemsworth shines in his muscle-clad role as Thor. Long gone are the days our golden-haired god spoke in Shakespearean verses – the Thor we meet delivers contemporary puns as if second nature; his time on Midgard has certainly done him good. Upon defeating Surtur, Thor returns home to Asgard to discover his believed-to-be-dead brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) taking on the identity of Odin and ruling in his stead. Honestly, the dead- not-staying-dead problem has been plaguing the MCU a bit too much now. Together the two brothers go in search of Odin who Loki has left on Earth. Here, the film directly connects to the mid-credits scene in Doctor Strange who aids our hero in discovering his father in Norway.
Not long after, the two brothers encounter Odin’s first-born, Hela (Cate Blanchett), who takes a leaf from Loki’s page à la The Avengers and orders them to kneel and accept her as queen. What ensues next is the chain destruction of almost everything Thor holds dear; from his mighty hammer, Mjolnir, to the army and citizens of Asgard. Both Thor and Loki end up on Sakaar where the former is forced into a gladiatorial match with his ally the Hulk. More articulate than we’ve ever seen the green monster before, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk has repressed Bruce Banner for two years and forged himself as Sakaar’s champion.
Parted from his mane and forced to battle his friend, Thor must fight his way from the junk-strewn streets of Sakaar to Asgard in order to save his people and defeat his sister. Although Hela has appeared intimidating as a villainess in the trailer, she still falls short as Marvel’s villain problem lingers. Despite calling herself the Goddess of Death, there is hardly any character development throughout its 2 hours 21 minutes runtime, but Cate Blanchette does the best she can with the material she’s been given, although not enough to redeem Marvel’s first female villain.
The film’s other female lead, Tessa Thompson outshines most of its cast as Valkyrie, a former Asgardian warrior who has turned to boozing and bounty hunting for Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster, the ruler of Sakaar. Initially, while most fans were hesitant about how a retro theme would fit into a Thor movie, it’s the Grandmaster’s style that manages to weave it seamlessly into the film. The mix results in nothing short of amazing visuals and a Guardians-esque take on Thor.
However, there are times when the mostly improvised dialogue turns out to be a bit too hilarious for a film titled ‘Ragnarok’ which in Norse mythology and in Marvel comics denotes the end of days. While several major characters from Thor’s storyline do meet their ends, it all feels somewhat unworthy and not as emotionally impactful as it should have.
Given his body of work, it is no wonder Taika Waititi manages to stitch together Marvel’s weirdest film yet. He even provides the voice of the film’s breakout character, Korg, a stonehewn warrior that befriends Thor while in gladiator prison.
All in all, the film delivers on its promise of entertainment with the entire plot taking Thor on the journey from the God of Thunder to King of Asgard while building up the storyline towards Marvel’s biggest attraction: Infinity War.
Already the highest grossing Thor movie, this one boasts visuals best experienced inside a theatre!
Thor: Ragnarok is now playing in EAP and Liberty Cinemas.
By Akash Sk