Review: Thor – Ragnarok, 2017

Garrett Smith Film, Reviews Leave a Comment

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Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle
Starring: Chirs Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson

I wish I could rate Thor – Ragnarok higher, because I really did enjoy this, pretty much from top to bottom. But I can’t shake the “same-ness” of the MCU at this point. They all look like they’re shot on sound stages, have that televisual look, and have similar plot threads. Taika Waititi does a great job attempting to avoid all of these trappings. He builds as many sets as he can, puts as much color as he can into the bland look of these, and forcefully drops all previous plot threads—this worked exceptionally well for me but I can see why it would frustrate people.

I really want the MCU to be less studio driven and more creator driven. When Waititi builds sets, they’ll green screen literally everything after the fact, as evidenced by the change made to the “hammer crushing” shot. When he adds color, the televisual look betrays his intentions. There’s got to be a better balance of “studio driven” and “creator driven” than they’ve had so far.

All that said, Thor – Ragnarok is a pure delight. A Flash Gordon version of Thor, essentially “What if Lord of the Rings… but Star Wars!?” This movie is just speaking my language. Really funny, full of all kinds of humor, from visual gags to Abbott & Costello like wordplay, and populated with really great, unique performances from its entire cast. The MVP’s here are Waititi himself as Korg, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, and Karl Urban as Scourge. Urban always reminds you he’s the best actor only working in ancillary parts rather than the lead—he’s got an incredible face for movies and deserves bigger parts. And Thompson is just incredible as a female Han Solo, I loved everything about her character and her performance. Oh and how could I forget to compliment Jeff Goldblum, who sings a birthday song to himself in this that made me throw popcorn on my counterpart.

I have a feeling Thor – Ragnarok will ultimately be one of the most re-watchable MCU films, but I still want them to go further this direction. Let your director’s voice shine through more, especially visually. While it may be one of the better parts of the MCU, it will be one of the weaker points in Waititi’s oeuvre, and that’s disappointing because I don’t think that’s any fault of his own.

At this point I feel like my reviews of the MCU are all almost identical, which only proves how identical the movies are – I’m tired of it Marvel, shake it up and shake it up soon.

RE-WATCH UPDATE

The opening 10 minutes of this movie might be my favorite thing Marvel has ever put on-screen.

I didn’t give Thor – Ragnarok movie nearly enough credit when it came out—one of the best movies in the MCU by a large margin. I am very excited to see where Waititi takes his career from here.

Initial Score: ★★★☆☆ (11/5/17)

Today’s Score: ★★★★☆

This review originally appeared on Garrett’s Letterboxd. Follow him there for more ratings, reviews, and lists.

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Garrett Smith

Comedian of no repute. Co-host of the I Like To Movie Movie podcast and Movie Movie Live! the monthly game show based on the podcast.
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