Directed by the New Zealand film director Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok is the third installment in the Thor film series to follow up Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013). While Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston reprise the roles of Thor and his adopted brother Loki, respectively, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Tessa Thompson are new addition to the film’s ensemble cast. The film features cameos from Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Mark Ruffalo. The story is basically set two years after the turn of events in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) as Thor is forced to come to terms with the reality of his father Oden’s mysterious disappearance. Also, during a nigh fatal encounter with the fire demon Surtur he learns about the impending doom that’s awaiting Asgard and its people in form of a vicious Ragnarök—a series of disasters resulting in great loss of life and property as per Norse mythology. What ensues is a race against time for Thor as he must make new allies to overcome the nigh insurmountable odds.
Like all superhero movies, Thor is as much about the heroes as it is about the villains even as Hiddleston’s Loki continues to be an enigma. His loyalties shift faster than Mad Hatter’s mood. “You will always be the God of Mischief. But you can be so much more,” says Thor after Loki tries to trick him yet again moments after winning back his trust. As for Thor, he is always this warrior who is willing to put himself on the line for his people. Although, he doesn’t come across as all brawn and no brain he nonetheless lacks the wisdom of his father. The humor quotient in Thor: Ragnarok is higher than most superhero films and that both works in the movie’s favor as well as takes away its edge at times. Ultimately, it depends on the viewers how well they take to this new trope, formally inoculated into the world of superhero movies by Deadpool (2016)
The strongest point of Thor: Ragnarok are its two kickass female characters. While one is played by the inimitable Cate Blanchett, the other is essayed by the ravishing Tessa Thompson. Blanchett has this rare gift of getting into the skin of the characters she plays to such an extent that when she essays Jude Quinn— an embodiment of Bob Dylan—in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There. (2007), we can’t help but see her as Dylan in body and flesh. In Lord of the Rings, she plays Lady Galadriel—a truly benevolent character but one that in the inside is no less convoluted than someone like Gollum. Tessa Thompson plays a hard-drinking bounty hunter with the perfect mix of beauty and brains.
Overall, Thor Ragnarok is a sumptuous feast for action lovers that riding on the back of some solid performances manages to deliver several moments of insane visual brilliance. It perfectly fits into the definition of cinema that’s both cool and calculated. In terms of its themes, it comes across as a stylish rehash of films like Star Wars, The Mummy and Gladiator. Thor Ragnarok makes for a decent one time watch but if Hollywood-spawned formulaic escapism is not your cup of tea then you better steer clear
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