FlixChatter Review – THOR: Ragnarok (2017)

It’s been almost two weeks since I saw Thor: Ragnarok and I’m still giddy thinking about it. In fact, I had just seen Justice League two nights ago and honestly I’d rather write about the latest Thor movie, and this is one I’d readily watch again.

Let me preface this review with the fact that I’m a huge fan of its director, New Zealander Taika Waititi, ever since I saw What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople a year later. Those two rank as one of my favorite films of all time. In fact, even with an all star cast that includes my personal cinematic heroine Cate Blanchett, I’m most excited about Thor: Ragnarok because of Waititi. And boy did he deliver!!

It opens with our Asgardian hero, sans his Mjölnir hammer, being chained by a creature named Surtur who plans to destroy Thor’s planet by fulfilling the propechy of Ragnarok. Chris Hemsworth is definitely much more comfortable in the role, having played Thor half a dozen times by now. But here he gets to show off his comic chops as well. He manages to escape, gets his Mjölnir and fighting mojo back and he returns to Asgard. It’s always a hoot seeing Tom Hiddleston’s Loki (I actually like him more than Thor from the previous films). I’m not going to spoil it for you but what he discovers there is one of the most comical bits of the movie. Let’s just say Taika made a great use of a famous A-lister that could’ve played like an SNL skit if it wasn’t handled properly. Love seeing Sam Neill making a quick appearance too.

The following scenes takes Thor and his half brother Loki to earth, trying to figure out the wherebouts of his father. The scenes involving them and Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is funny stuff as well, peppered with Taika’s brand of quirky humor. As it turns out, it itsn’t just Loki who wants to take over the rule of Asgard, and this time she wouldn’t stop at that. With a name like Hela, of course she wants to rule the entire universe and unleash hell! Miss Blanchett relish on the opportunity to be a sexy, leather-clad, rockstar-ish goddess from hell, with another easy-on-the-eyes actor from Down Under Karl Urban as her lackey. Yes she seems to be purposely chewing the scenery but it works, and it’s fun to watch.

It’s clear the two brothers are no match for Hela and so Thor gets banished to a planet of scraps where his next crazy adventure begins! The new characters Taika introduced here, Valkyrie (bad-ass Tessa Thompson), the Grandmaster (the eternally amusing Jeff Goldblum), a rock creature Korg (voiced in a hilarious high-pitched voice by Taika himself) are all memorable! Even Rachel House (who was hilarious in Hunt for the Wilderpeople) got some hilarious one liners in the movie. I LOVE Valkyrie and Korg I wouldn’t mind seeing more of both of those characters in future Thor movies or even a spin-off! I also love seeing Idris Elba back as Heimdall, who became the loyal guardians for Asgardians. This is perhaps my favorite ensemble cast of all superhero movies.

I read that Taika has always wanted to make the latest Thor movie more comedic, whilst making some creative updates the character and its universe. Well he certainly’s done the job smashingly well! Yep, the term ‘Hulk Smash’ would apply to this movie and all the scenes with Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), both as Bruce Banner and the big green creature, are massively entertaining. Everyone seems to be having a blast making this and it shows. But just because it’s chock full of hilarious bits, it doesn’t mean there’s no plot here. The story actually holds up and there’s even some nice moments between Thor and Valkyrie that points to her past as Asgard’s defender. There’s a hint there might be something less-than-platonic between these two and you know what, I’d welcome it! It’s certainly more interesting than Thor and Natalie Portman’s Jane.

I’m glad that Marvel once again took a chance on an indie director (following the success of the Russo brothers with the Captain America movies) and Taika Waititi is one of recent filmmakers I discovered who I REALLY want to see making it big. I love that he pushed for more Indigenous representation in his films. Apparently he hired many Aboriginal crew members and the film was shot in Australia. There are quite a few in-jokes for Kiwis and Australians, like the Aboriginal flag colors and the spaceships named after types of Holden, Australian-made cars. My relative actually owned one of those when I was growing up in Indonesia!

SPOILER ALERT! (highlight to read) I don’t know if anyone else noticed this but the plot has a bit of social commentary about how the White people conquered a lot of the Indigenous land. When they’re inside the Asgardian palace, Hela said something about the dark history of Asgard… how Odin used to conquer different planets and wanting to rule the universe, with her by her side. But then Odin gained a conscience and became a benevolent ruler, thus banishing Hela because she didn’t share his vision. She said ‘where do you think we got all of this gold from?’ When I heard that, it sounded like a commentary about colonial privilege, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being the ‘stolen generation’ and white Australians living on someone else’s land. Even the Grandmaster’s line ‘slaves is such a harsh word, I prefer “prisoners with benefits”’ sounds like a sarcastic jab against people calling an awful thing differently as if that would actually lessen its awfulness.

Well, I’m curious if people notice those things or not. One thing for sure, this has become one of my all time favorite movie, not just my favorite Marvel movie. The actions scenes are definitely fun to watch. There are bombastic fight scenes but they don’t feel overlong or overdone like in some other superhero movies. There’s even an entertaining spaceship chase and of course the Thor vs Hulk battle promised in the trailer is still epic and fun! That ‘friend from work’ line is one of the many quotable quips from Taika Waititi’s movies I’d use again and again.

You would think it’d be tough to live up to the super fun trailer w/the rousing Led Zepellin’s Immigrant Song, but the movie manages to do just that… and then some! So yeah, Thor doesn’t just get a spunky new haircut but Taika gives him a whole new attitude and refreshing new take on his franchise. The funniest bits in the trailer is still hilarious in the movie, there’s so much joy and laughter in the whole theater. Like a joyful, thrilling amusement park ride, you can’t wait to get on it again as soon as it’s over!

Well, what did you think of ‘THOR: RAGNAROK’? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

34 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review – THOR: Ragnarok (2017)

  1. I saw it this past Saturday and man, I had fun watching it. It’s already high in my list of the best films of the MCU. It’s also very funny. Taika Waititi really did a great job with this film and made it something that felt different and also wasn’t afraid to not take itself so seriously. He’s already becoming one of my favorite filmmakers right now.

    1. Hi Steven! Glad you enjoyed this too. Yep, it’s in my top 3 MCU films now. Taika has been one of my fave filmmakers after Hunt for the Wilderpeople, even more so now!

  2. I had a blast with it too, good seeing Marvel trying something new with one of their super heroes; after the more serious Civil War, it’s nice seeing a light hearted superhero flick.

    As for the spoiler section, I think most people will probably get what Taika was trying to say, well I hope so anyway. Another filmmaker who always has hidden message in his films is John Carpenter. Taika mentioned that Big Trouble in Little China is his inspiration for this film.

    1. Yes it was a blast from start to finish. It’s light hearted but not dumb. I honestly don’t know if many people noticed the colonial privilege thing but it certainly stood out to me. I really love Taika’s work, I hope he gets even more directing gigs in Hollywood.

      P.S. Are you gonna see Justice League this weekend?

      1. I was hesitant about Justice League and just saw the rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so I’m not going to waste my money on it. Maybe I’ll watch it when it’s on Netflix, after Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad, DC needs to overhaul their superheroes. Wonder Woman was an exception of course. Hopefully Matt Reeves can make me want to see Batman on the big screen again.

          1. Yes, it’s great to see that in recent years more and more big studious involve young independent filmmakers. Other examples that come to my mind are Colin Treworrow, Vogt-Roberts & Gareth Edwards… you? 😊

            1. Isn’t Colin Treworrow out of directing Star Wars though? I’m not fond of Jurassic World to be honest, but yeah I still like the idea of indie filmmakers doing blockbusters! I think Rian Johnson is another one that came to mind, and of course Denis Villeneuve!

              1. I am not fond of it either… But it was his second film after Safety Not Guranteed with Mark Duplass, abd that film was made on a microbudget and it was very good. JP was just a typical summer blockbuster, however, it was a huge hit! 😊

              2. Villeneuve is a good example (he is one of my favourite directors probably), but I think it’s a different case, because he was never involved in doing a huge blockbuster like Edwards, Johnson or Trevorrow, but rather his own thing.

    1. Hello Brittani! I somehow had an inkling Taika would have some kind of commentary as I’ve read quite a bit about him, but I thought he did it in such a subtle and clever way that it’s still organic to the story.

    1. Hello Michael! Glad to see you stop by. I had fun writing this review, as much fun as watching it (hope to see it again on Thanksgiving day!) Hope you are well my friend.

  3. It was so much fun. Now that I have a small child I hardly ever get to go to the movies. Mr O offered to take me for my birthday and I figured I had to choose wisely for my very limited opportunity so I picked Ragnarok mostly because I wanted something not too taxing. And I loved it! It was definitely the right choice.

  4. Hey Ruth! Hope you’re well – hope you haven’t forgotten me! In full agreement with you on Thor 3; really enjoyed it after the wet lettuce that was The Dark World. Hope the Hearts Want wagon’s still rolling b the way!

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