Montag, 6. November 2017

THOR: RAGNAROK - Movie Review

 Title: Thor: Ragnarok
Running Time: 130 min
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins,

Although Marvel has never released a truly terrible movie, there have been some missfires in the past. "Thor: The Dark World" was one of them. In fact, with the exception of Captain America, none of the other Marvel solo movies have managed to equal the critical success of their first installment. But with Kiwi director Taika Waititi at the helm and the addition of The Hulk, the trailer for the Norse god's third outing looked promising. So can this sequel deliver?
Yes and no. "Thor: Ragnarok" is a fun and flashy blockbuster that will entertain you for its entire two hour run time. Not more and not less. Taika Waititi surely steered the ship in a new direction. This Thor is much more comedic and much more colorful than its predecessors. Visually, this movie is closer to the "Guardians of the Galaxy" than to previous films about the god of thunder. And yet it makes sense. Asgard still looks like the fantasy realm we came to know. When Thor accidentally strands on the garbage planet Sakaar however, he has obviously landed in that weird edge region of the galaxy, where Peter Quill and his gang easily could go about their business. But Waititi doesn't rest on the shoulders of what James Gunn already created. Instead he lets out his own unbridled creativity and gives us some awesome set pieces that suck you into this crazy, iridescent world. Despite all the flashiness, Waititi manages to shoot the action sequences in a way that they don't feel agitated, but you can fully enjoy their grand scale. He also seemed to have created a positive atmosphere on set, as all the actors seem to be enjoying themselves. Tessa Thompson is a great new addition as this bad-ass warrior, although her introduction entails that the film completely ignores the existence of Jaimie Alexander's Lady Sif (Is a movie only allowed to have one heroine?). Also, Jeff Goldblum shines as a character that is basically a heighten space-version of himself. The real scene-stealer, however, is Mark Ruffalo. His gentle performance of both, The Hulk and Bruce Banner, elevates the material and it is the scenes when he is on screen that are the movie's best.
As I mentioned before, the humor was also an element that was really amped up in this movie. Unfortunately, this is where it runs into its biggest problem. Although the larger amount of the jokes do work, the immensely unserious tone of the film robs it of carrying any emotional weight. Everything becomes a knee-slapper. Yes, Thor is funnier than ever, but he has also never been so indifferent. The betrayal, the lies and even the deaths of the people around him, seem to effect him not one bit. He keeps his cool no matter what. As if abnegation and minimisation replaced all of his healthy coping mechanisms. When your main character constantly goofs around like that, it's hard to really feel the threat of pending doom that the movie presents. For a film about the complete annihilation of our hero's home, the stakes feel astonishingly low. But not only Thor has become a sitcom-version of himself. Loki, who was first introduced as a maliciously scheming, complex and intelligent villain, has become a walking punchline. The ease with which he can be overpowered is Marvel's latest running gag. He is a character deprived of real personal growth, doomed to run in circles. Inevitably, the two brother's relationship changed as well. Once a tragedy of Shakespearean caliber, it has now transformed into a "Dumb-and-Dumber"-esque routine. Even the resolution of Bruce Banner's personal struggle is played as a joke in the film's finale. "Sharknado 5" had more emotional moments than this (I'm not even kidding).
The other problems with the film (what exactly was Karl Urban's purpose in this movie?) are forgivable, but when everyone becomes the comic relief, there is no tension left to be relieved from.
It is a shame, really, because within the story of "Thor: Ragnarok" lies great dramatic potential and even the possibility to make a statement about postcolonialism (a thanks to B.A. for pointing that out). But it all gets lost in the laughs. The cool new characters and the zany visuals can't help over the fact that this is ultimately a frothy live action cartoon. Artistically great, yet emotionally empty, this film is good for a DVD night with friends in order to have some fun or catch up with the cinematic universe. If you've never had a problem with Marvel's joke quantity or even enjoyed it, you might even love this film. But if, like me, you need at least a little bit of pathos in your superhero movies, this film might disappoint you.

For Fans Of:
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)
2 Fast 2 Furious (2005)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
Suicide Squad (2016)

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