27 October 2017 | ctowyi
This Thor is Thor-some!
Frankly, I didn't like the first two Thor movies, the game plan was so clear from the get go. Same old "save the world" routines, brooding hero with a burden, a love connection born out of necessity and bloated battle scenes. It is the same blueprint for many superhero movies, but Thor has the God element that made the stories feel even more preposterous and ridiculous. It is hard to be vested in his quests because God don't die, hurt as much and can always employ one last deus ex machina that solves the unsolvable problem. But Thor: Ragnarok throws that over-used game plan out from Bifrost into an unknown territory, making it this year's best superhero movie. I know I know
Justice League has not descended, but looking at the trailer it doesn't take a genius to see that it will be doing the above-mentioned routine.
New Zealand director Taika Waititi seems like an unusual choice to helm Thor's third standalone movie. He has the indie root in him and he makes superbly smart comedies with oddles of heart, just watch What We Do in the Shadows (2014) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) to see his outstanding oeuvre. Apparently, the Marvel-Disney studios have given him full reins and he went ahead and make a comedy. But how do you inject an indie comedic vibe into a superhero franchise that has not been done before?
Essentially, Waititi throws out all the cumbersome weights that hampered Thor and tells a simpler but no less cool story about a superhero trying to get back to his home to clean house. In between he gives Thor ample opportunities to be a beer-swigging beefcake, negotiate some treacherously outlandish situations and strip him off the one thing that makes him Thor, the Mjolnir. At one point, Odin even asks a defeated Thor "What are you, the God of Hammers? " that had me laughing till my tears rolled down.
The tone is light but no less serious, populated by so many colourful characters in a vivid world trapped in impossible situations. At first I thought the introduction of Hulk in the early trailer is a misstep, but Mark Ruffalo's casting would have been close to impossible to keep under wraps. By giving Planet Hulk comic fans a look-in would have been a better move. The repartee between Thor and Hulk/Banner is so hilarious. No less funny is also the dialogue between Thor and Loki, gone is that "he ain't heavy, he is my brother" vibe and this is a Thor that will give Loki a smackdown if he is out of step.
Cate Blanchett plays Thor's estranged sister with evil relish and you don't cast Jeff Goldblum without allowing him to be Goldblum. Waititi even voices a gladiator-mentor character named Korg that practically steals all the scenes he is in. Chris Hemsworth hams it up just to a safe degree and nails all the one-liners with an A+. In fact, the whole cast seems to be having fun.
Thor: Ragnarok embraces its preposterousness and swims in a pool of ridiculousness with the deadpan and self-mocking humour hitting all the bullseyes. In the midst of it all, it still manages to tell a super duper cool story of a superhero saving his people. Yet it manages to remain fresh and zip along with a zany lightning pace. What an inspired choice for a director. The risk taken will pay huge dividends. This has superb rewatch value and I already feel like buying another ticket just to catch all the one-liners one more time. This Thor is Thor-some!