Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok; fantasy action comedy, USA, 2017; D: Taika Waititi, S: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch

Thor, the Asgardian god of Thunder, defeats fire demon Surtur and isolates its crown, thereby preventing an Armageddon. Back in Asgard, he forces his mischievous brother Loki to reveal where their father, Odin, is. However, Odin dies, and thus his evil daughter, Hela, is unleashed from exile and decides to takes over Asgard, destroying Thor's magic hammer. Hela becomes the new ruler and intends to invade countries and cause endless murders. Thor lands on planet Sakaar, where he is captured by Valkyrie and brought to fight in an arena with Hulk in order to entertain the planet's despot, the Grandmaster. When Hulk de-transforms into Bruce Banner, Thor and Valkyrie manage to go back to Asgard where Surtur is re-awakened in order to cause Ragnarok and destroy the entire planet in order to stop Hela. Thor, Hulk, and several thousands Asgardians escape in a spaceship.

After the first two "Thor" movies were deemed too serious and monotone, director Taika Waititi took over and decided to turn it into a parody, figuring that since these Marvel movies are big budget fluff, anyway, they should at least be funny. The wage: "Thor: Ragnarok" became the most memorable of all the movies of the "Thor" sub-franchize, and the most bizarre one at the same time. Some Marvel fans perceived this film as "blasphemous", especially since the storyline is chaotic and all over the place (the character of Grandmaster and his subplot simply "disappear" all of a sudden; the finale involving Hela is a cop-out), yet the movie is so much fun it almost rivals "Guardians of the Galaxy" at times. The Marvel studios started experimenting with new, independent filmmakers, but their risky strategy paid off: Waititi finally managed to make Chris Hemsworth loosen up and play his Thor as a real character the audience can relate to. When the first sequence starts off with Thor hanging from a chain and having this exchange with Surtur, a fire demon ("Thor, son of Odin!" - "Surtur, you son of a bitch!"), it is clear this will not be a typical 'run-of-the-mill' superhero blockbuster. The movie abounds with almost non-stop humor throughout, from the cynical character of Grandmaster, played hilariously over-the-top by Jeff Goldblum ("I'm upset! I'm very upset. You know what I like about being upset? Blame!" he says as he is about to confront his two henchmen) through Thor's argument with Hulk ("You know how we called you? The stupid Avenger!") up to the great little interaction between Thor and Bruce Banner, which almost sounds as if they are breaking up ("You're just using me to get to the Hulk. That's low. You're not my friend."). Cate Blanchett is having a field day as the over-the-top villain Hela, dressed all in black, some ideas are incredibly oddball and daring whereas it is neat to enjoy in a cartoon-like superhero movie that actually acts like one giant live-action cartoon: it is just there to have fun and refuses to take itself seriously.


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