Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok ★★★½

I'm quite happy to set this as the best directed MCU film so far.
Taika Waititi shoots Ragnarok with an economy and an eye to composition that's lacking in any of the other films (aside from Doctor Strange) and on that front it's a breath of fresh air. The script, clearly tweaked by Waititi despite the lack of credit, contains an actual sense of humour and some great Aussie and NZ references that are going to fly wildly over the heads of anyone who isn't antipodean (see my favourites: Commodore (I used to drive one of those!) and "Tell her she's dreamin'.").

The cast are a mixed bag with Tessa Thompson and Taika Waititi landing best, Hemsworth and Ruffalo somewhere in the middle and Cate Blanchett and Karl Urban both delivering atrocious performances (the result of atrociously written characters and/or a weirdly retconned London accent).

On the story front there's a surprising amount of focus on continuity and placement in the MCU that comes courtesy of the X-Force/X-23 writers, Kyle & Yost, however only the second act really floats - the first is the usual deconstruction you'd expect of this third wave MCU and the third act is nothing more than the usual end-of-the-world extravaganza that only becomes less emotionally involving and more dull with every occurrence. It's unfortunate that the most competently directed MCU film is given such a disposable story, essentially only to catch our characters up in time for Infinity War. Thor may lose his hammer and an eye, Asgard may be destroyed but there's so little weight to these changes and Thor hasn't undergone any significant character arc, so I still exit the film with a shrug...

...be that as it may, Ragnarok still has plenty of laughs and remains thoroughly good *light* entertainment for its running time. Mostly the writers and Waititi need to be congratulated for doing the single most difficult thing in my eyes: making Thor a character I actually care to see in the cinema.

Jacob liked this review