Admit it, now I’ve changed the name of the film to have Fraggle Rock, the them tune will be stuck in your head for ages. All part of the plan folks! But if you’re wondering if this is just mocking the title of the film, actually in this case, it’s more complimenting the tone of the new Thor film from Marvel Studios / Marvel Money Printing Machines Inc.
Directed by Taika Waititi, the happy go lucky scamp who brought us Hunt for the Wilderpeople. You know, that delightful comedy drama type thingy set in New Zealand with a cast quite mad. It was a surprisingly good film, and to this day, I would still honestly recommend it to anyone who gets the sense of humour.
And that sense of humour is actually going to be required here, as make no mistake, the first two thirds of Thor: Fraggle-Rock holds an insane amount of jokes in the same vein as Hunt for the Wilderpeople. In fact this is one point where it’s such a departure from the previous Thor films, you could actually think at various points they chuck out any of the chracter development that came before. This will lead into one of the biggest potential issues you may have with this film though I suspect the majority of people will be fine.
In terms of plot, we begin the frolics with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) swinging around in front of a naughty evil bloke who wants to destroy Asgard. The evil guy has to stop a few times in his diabolical speech due to Thor spinning around and facing away from him, which to be fair, isn’t his fault. But of course the evil bloke doesn’t get to destroy Asgard, and Thor returns with his head in tow.
Cue an ridiculous play staged for Odin (played wonderfully as usual by Anthony Hopkins) who is revealed to be the naughty Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and a hunt for Odin takes Thor to earth and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).
However, once they find Odin, it all really comes apart as Cate Blanchett appears as the evil sister Hela (The goddess of death of course) who was jolly miffed at being thrown out of Asgard and now wants to rule it. She’s much more powerful and succeeds in dispatching Thor and Loki off to a garbage world where Jeff Goldblum rules. I’m not even going to bother using the character’s name, because honestly, it’s Jeff Goldblum acting like Jeff Goldblum. Really strong Jeff Goldblum. Somehow it just works brilliantly and remarkably I hope we see him again further down the line as he always borderlines steals every scene but I digress.
We also meet the Hulk / Bruce Banner played very very chaotically by Mark Ruffalo, as he struggles to comprehend where he is and what’s happened to him since we last saw the hulk fly out of the havoc wrought in the Avengers: Age of Ultron film. There’s also Tessa Thompson who plays a lady bounty hunter working for Jeff Goldblum (who has a hidden past and a drinking problem of course) and finally a special mention to Karl Urban who plays a bloke on Asgard who ends up having chats with Cate Blanchett a lot of the time and knows how to save his own skin.
So then, we must kick off about the change of direction this film had from previous installments; The comedy is for the most part very well done, and there’s always one or two little jokes you may miss, given how fast they come at times. However, this is to the detriment of the film and flow of the story as there are moments where the mood does need a different tone. There are certainly some moments which will surprise and sadden. While the mood does change for those moments, it’s not long before jokes start all over again and perhaps give the feeling of rushing through emotional turmoil.
In fact, if you’re not a fan of the New Zealand style of humour here, then this is where you may actually not be that engaged with Thor and his band of merry men as you may in fact get sick of the rapid fire nature of the humour and stupid asides. That is a danger to be sure, but luckily, most people are more than happy with the humour as is, so just a note here in any case about it.
The story is insane at times, given the level of comedy here, but it actually still remains entertaining throughout. Cinematography is fine, with some excellent fight scenes wonderful music underscoring the action on screen. The acting is good, in terms of they all are believable and great to see. Cate Blanchett must have had a riot playing Hela, as she’s wonderfully campy in a truly destructive way as she takes over Asgard. She really does stand out as being a memorable villain.
The others play their parts well, with Chris Hemsworth really up for providing the lighter side to Thor, even when he faced some terrible events. Hell they even just chuck aside Natalie Portman’s chracter as a one-line joke and carry on with the story. Fair enough! There are some wonderful camo performances by the cast of the Hunt for the Wilderpeople too, like Sam Neill and Rachel House. Idris Elba is ever reliable as Heimdall and honestly you would be hard pushed to not find a decent performance here.
Some of the CGI is a bit suspect, and it’s somehow only at the final third that it remembers it’s a Marvel Comics Film and returns back to the tried and tested super hero formula, with redemptions aplenty and deaths too. There of course are questions left open, but naturally we come to expect that these days as we then look forward to the next Marvel film.
So Thor Ragnorok, can I recommend you see it? Hell yes, without even breaking a sweat.
Despite a few niggles mentioned in this mini meh, Thor Ragnarok was utterly entertaining and honestly I’d watch again right now if I could. A brave choice of direction in getting Taika Waititi on board really has paid off in one of the best, unforgettably funny Marvel films ever made. In a toss up between this and Justice League which was also just released, it’s not even close to being a fair fight. Thor wins hands down.