[VoxSpace Selects] Thor Ragnarok : Marvel Cinematic Universe At Its Best

Thor Takes The Best Of Comics And Makes The Best Of Them

Marvel cinematic universe aka MCU Hollywood’s very own small-scale Bollywood (cause like Bollywood, MCU too is accused to have the same patterned plotline in its every movie). Marvel just went on a lymph here and gave us one of the most flat-out enjoyable and boldest comedies of the year. No wonder Thor is the highest ranked comic book movie on rotten tomatoes.

Death goddess Hela (Cate Blanchett) returns from exile to claim the throne of Asgard, thrashing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and banishing him to the fighting pits of Sakaar. There, reunited with the missing-since-Ultron Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), he must battle his way to freedom, return home and unseat the usurper. That’s the storyline we all can guess from the trailers and it pretty much remains the same but the game changer here isn’t the story, it’s the storytelling.

For the first time in 17 (count them) movies, Marvel has delivered something that isn’t an action movie leavened with humour, but a full-bore comedy using blockbuster spectacle as a backdrop for gags. Thor Ragnarok unlike all of our expectations isn’t a superhero franchise movie, it’s rather a blend of buddy cop and road trip comedies just the difference being all the characters are god’s here.

The Rock Opera Culture And The Retro Thor

Everything from the font used in the titles, to the synth-infused rock opera score by Mark Mothersbaugh, to the gloriously retro set design and visuals clearly inspired by the art of Jack Kirby, there is no Marvel movie quite like it

Here’s Everything Awesome About Thor Ragnarok

Characterisation and Actors

Hemsworth himself has never been more comfortable in Thor’s skin, Shakespearean hamminess having exited the stage with Alan Taylor’s last Thor. His time on Ghostbusters and Vacation has clearly paid off, lending him a practised feel for comedy as he leans into the silliness with unerring skill.

Jeff Goldblum at his most Jeff Goldblumiest as the Grandmaster, and Taika Waititi (he’s everywhere) as a mild-mannered rock monster prone to stating the obvious. And Loki, of course, the green-eyed heartthrob just steals the scenes he’s in. The cast couldn’t have been better.

The Soundtrack

which is actually more than a few notches above Guardians Of The Galaxy‘s ’70s-inspired soundtrack — will keep your feet tapping, especially during the intense action sequences that seem designed to match your heartbeat to the music.

Direction

Taika Waititi, a New Zealand actor and filmmaker known for such small, indie charmers as “What We Do in the Shadows,” brings the right balance of meaty action and sauciness to “Ragnarok,” He is the star of the show. He’s the man who brought this almost cartoonish, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe vision to a series desperately in need of retooling, and he’s the man who had the courage to see it through. Every time there is a potentially familiar setup, the filmmaker injects his trademark visual comedy to make it all seem fresh. The film also plays like it is made by an MCU fanboy suddenly given the power to control the ship.

Here’s Everything Not So Awesome About Thor Ragnarok

If there’s a weak link in the line-up it’s Blanchett’s Hela. While undeniably striking as the goddess of death, she’s one-note and outshone by Ragnarok’s other major new character, Tessa Thompson’s surly Valkyrie, at every turn. Hela’s scenes, while essential to the plot, feel an unwelcome distraction, leaving us, waiting for a return to the Thunder God’s side. Having said that with a scale this huge in these films, peppered with so many hero characters and even grey characters like Loki, it’s impossible to create a well-developed ultimate villain whose arc starts and ends in just one movie

The main problem with this movie comes down to structure — there really isn’t one. There is a lot going on, and it all bounces around so much that it’s hard to keep any of it straight half the time. It’s a mess, and to say that it gets a bit chaotic would be generous. And the chaotic nature of everything about the movie makes the admittedly large stakes — in this case, the literal end of the world for Asgard — which still comes across as indifferent to its circumstances. Perhaps the humour makes everything feel like it doesn’t really matter — or maybe there isn’t any time for the movie to slow down, take a breath, and let the magnitude of what just happened really sink in for either the characters or the audience.

It may sound as if the movie is only for 13-year-old boys, or the Marvel faithful, but it isn’t. In these times of heightened stress and anxiety, “Ragnarok” — a word from Norse mythology that refers to both the end of the old world and the rebirth of a better, new one — could not come at a more opportune time. It’s a movie that, is set on a path of redefining its own genre and the seriousness it’s genre surrounds itself with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.