Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok ★★★½

65/100

Perhaps inevitably most films in the MCU have become (are?) formulaic (only the Guardians couple and perhaps Dr Strange feel a tad different). But its a formula that works, in that we havent had a truly bad MCU film yet (ok we only had 2/3 near great ones - the aforementioned three - but still).

Bearing in mind that the MCU films "work" (in that there is no real sign of audience fatigue and they are raking in the dosh), it is surprising that Marvel took what seems like a bit of a gamble on something as bizarre and daft as Ragnarok. From the time it was announced that Waititi would direct it, it was a foregone conclusion that it would be so and, together with the Guardians films, this is the most irreverently fun Marvel film.

In fact its only the fight/action scenes that stick more to tried and tested formula and feel bland and stale as a result. And I say “only” because Ragnarok is, essentially, a hugely budgeted comedy rather than an action/superhero film.

The plot is a variation on the usual MCU stuff but the treatment is somewhat different. What we have here is and absurdist lark packed with jokes, and not just "easy" visual/slapstick ones (though we do have a few too many of these unfortunately). Among the many examples the one that sticks to the mind is a character with a Kiwi accent (apparently played by Waititi!) who introduces himself as “a being made of rocks, but don’t let that intimidate you… unless you’re a being made of scissors”, thereafter proceeding to helpfully explain that this was “a paper-scissors-stone joke right there”. Waititi acknowledges the silliness inherent in all the MCU films  and, predictably, embraces it in almost every scene of this.

But also predictably, a lot of the usual MCU problems are present, such as not really having much of a story, Thor being somewhat peripheral in his own film, the usual weak villain who is “the other side of the coin” to the main hero (despite Blanchett's best efforts and innate sexiness), and it is about 20 minutes too long with a couple of very superfluous scenes post credits.

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