Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Thor : Ragnarok. Nothing new but very entertaining.

It's two years after the war and destruction of Avengers : Age Of Ultron and Hela, The Goddess Of Death has returned to claim Asgard as her own. The only person with a chance of stopping her is Thor, The God Of Thunder himself. But he's going to need a bit of help. And he's going to have a tough time getting that help to agree with him.

Thor : Ragnarok is a very entertaining film but one that suffers from the same flaws as all modern day comic book films.

You could plot out these films in your sleep. This is yet another movie that slavishly follows the Marvel blueprint down to a T. There isn't a step the plot takes that will surprise you. But it's all done with such aplomb and with such a sense of fun that you won't be able to stop yourself from enjoying it despite it's problems. 

As Thor, Chris Helmsworth is always good value. He never takes himself seriously and you can see he's genuinely enjoying himself in the movie. He's very funny too, one attempt at a cool lean had the cinema in bits laughing. Newcomers to the Marvel universe are Tessa Thompson  and Karl Urban. Both were good, Thompson especially gets some super hero moments later in the film and her ropey accent aside i hope we see loads more of her character Valkyrie in the future. Cate Blanchett as Hela looks the part but doesn't really get to do much. More on her later. Jeff Goldblum brings his unique style of quirkiness along for the ride as The Grandmaster. He fits the film perfectly but sadly his role doesn't amount to much at all, maybe 5 minutes of screen time. This being Marvel though, no doubt we'll see him again. Idris Elba returns as well as Heimdall in a smaller role this time and adds a nice touch of dignity and class to proceedings. Another couple of faces familiar to fans appear too but i won't mention them in case you've somehow managed to avoid all spoilers so far.

Director Taiki Waititi has bought the sense of joy he imbued in his recent films Hunt For The Wilderpeople and What We Do In The Shadows and applied it to the Marvel template and it makes for a joyous fit. His surreal edge suits the story of Thor perfectly. Of all the Marvels so far Thor is the one that you just can't take seriously and rightly so. He's a god FFS, you have to take it with a pinch of salt. It's a move I'd love to see Marvel make going forward ( sorry for using that phrase, i hate myself now) as some of their films do take themselves a bit too seriously. He's had a hand in making it the funniest Marvel film so far too. There's some genuine belly laugh stuff in there. A lot of it courtesy of a new character called Korg, who is voiced by Waititi himself. Everything that comes out of his mouth is gold. 

It's not all good though. 

The flaws i mentioned earlier appear. One familiar face is blatantly wedged into the story to keep him relevant and tie him to future films. Another is the ongoing issue of shite baddies in Marvel films. As good as Cate Blanchett is, in this she's just another shite baddie. The writers really need to start giving their villains a bit more motivation than world conquering. Make the stakes smaller and more personal. Michael Keaton in Spiderman : Homecoming is my fave Marvel villain so far for those very reasons. Change it up a bit, don't let it get any more stale. It's a pity to see her wasted like this. She could have made for a very memorable character. The usual CGI army of cannon fodder villains regrettably makes an appearance too. Shocker.

These are flaws that can be applied to every modern day comic book film though. And as mentioned already, there's such as sense of fun about proceedings that it will help you sort of overlook them. There are moments here that will bring a grin a mile wide to your face. A fangirl selfie, an alien warrior shouting "PISS OFF GHOST!", a crowd pleasing battle, a magical beer glass and the cracking use of a song from an iconic Seventies band. The last moment especially had me whispering "Ahhh fuckin deadly" under my breath when it happened.

It's very entertaining stuff but there's nothing new here. Still miles better than Thor : The Dark World though. That one was not good. This one is a fun 2 hours in the cinema. if you are looking to escape for a while you can't go wrong here

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