Entrusted in the hands of Kiwi wizTaika Waititi, the third installment of Marvel’s Norse god substantially alters its predecessors’ Shakespearean solemnity while rings small changes in the cookie-cutter plot.
Right out of the box, Thor (Hemsworth) appears to be modulated in an unusually verbose mood when confronting the fire demon Surur, ascourge of Asgard, who threats to bring Ragnarok (a prophesy of doom of most Norse heroes) to the empyrean planet, only becomes a mere bagatelle under Thor’s mighty, that is the tonal-setting prologue, levity and spectacle are the two sides of a helluva galactic ride.
The real danger is within the family, an exiled and soon-to-perish Odin (Hopkins) apprises his two sons that his first-born, the ambitious Hela (Blanchett), the Goddess of Death, who has been sealed in the prison by him, will be back to reclaim her birthright and play havoc with whoever stands in her way (including the loyal Warriors Three, all dispatched offhandedly en passant).
Defeated by Hela, Thor and Loki (Hiddleston) are stranded in the planet Sakaar, literally a huge garbage dumping ground (a smart sideswipe of earth’s unsustainable consumerism, mark my words, this is something humans definitely will do when galactic travel will become handy), and its potentate, Grandmaster (a gleefully snideGoldblum) has an archaic hobbyhorse, gladiator fighting, which sets Thor against his“friend from work” the Hulk/Bruce Banner (Ruffalo), also explains their conspicuous absence inCAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016).
Soon the trio escapes with a bibulous huntress Valkyrie (Thompson), together they must defend the unvanquished Hela and her resurrected army, so if Ragnarok is preordained, might as well leaving Hela with the calamity, as long as they can take a throng of token survivors and play up the humanistic stopgap, however feeble is might look because you just cannot equate an entire planet with (at most) several hundreds lives. The final victory is hardly a mood-booster, that is why this fiber of discrepancy (playfulness and grave loss) takes its toll in the end.
A trendy haircut does do justice to Hemsworth’s buff appeal and apparently his comedy timing (apart from showing off his immaculate bod) and it looks like that Loki and Heimdall (Elba) are next in line for a coiffure upgrade; we cannot get enough ofCate Blanchett snarling and blusteringin a sleek suit with lissome martial arts postures and outlandish head gears, her Hela is unapologetically lethal, but some subtlety would have been nice considering her immense craft.Tessa Thompson’sValkyrie is the latest addition of Marvel’s (not too prescient) recruitment of female superheroes and she is ass-kicking and can equally stand her ground and hold her liquor.
Waititi’s revamp is a welcome step-up for the ever-expanding comic cinematic universe in toto, its varicolored brio, astute sonic placement, astonishing visual swagger and bristling action verve are exactly what gratify and appeal to its core audience, there is something idiosyncratic lurking beneath a mainstream blockbuster, a baby-step maybe, at least THOR: RAGNAROK doesn’t rest on its brand’s laurels, that is what really matters, isn’t it?
referential points: Alan Taylor’s THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013, 6.8/10); Kenneth Branagh’s THOR (2011, 5.4/10); Anthony and Joe Russo’sCAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016, 6.3/10);Taika Waititi’s HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE (2016, 7.3/10).