10-16 November 2017 #883

Thor: Ragnarok

The seventeenth film in the Marvel universe and the third installation of the Thor series, Thor: Ragnarok is worth seeing
Sophia Pande

There is nothing much to be said about the Marvel films these days, aside from whether it’s good and worth your time or bad and not worth your time, money and the increasingly self-interested cinema goers in Kathmandu theatres.

The seventeenth film in the Marvel universe and the third installation of the Thor series, Thor: Ragnarok is worth seeing even while it is not quite as good as The Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), which was so shockingly good (funny, entertaining and thoroughly original) that director James Gunn became a hero for a time among tired movie-goers – until the inevitable next installment, which was fine but not as great as the first one.

Taika Waititi’s first attempt at a big studio film follows in the footsteps of Guardians of the Galaxy. Waititi, an indie director from New Zealand whose successes have come from the most irreverent of films such as the hilarious What We Do in the Shadows(2014) – a vampire spoof, pulls off a rather astonishing feat by taking a fairly formulaic Marvel film and making it side-splittingly funny at times. Unfortunately, he does have to pay attention to the (in this case) bad girl-good guys complex and so, as usual, one may as well fall asleep in the last twenty minutes – so irrelevant is the ending.

Ragnarok deals with the end of Asgard, the storied home of Thor (the loveable Chris Hemsworth) and his mischievous, malevolent brother Loki (good old Tom Hiddleston). As we move towards this rather tragic ending we experience a number of astonishing, self-indulgent nonsensical plot points scripted by people who clearly want to outdo the previous films. These are leavened by Waititi’s humour, Hemsworth’s excellent, slightly rueful delivery, a few hilarious cameos (including Waititi’s), the appearance of the great Benedict Cumberbatch in his most recent character of Dr. Strange, and the introduction of the lovely, tough Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, one of Asgard’s famed female warriors.

The inception of the bad girl in this film, Hela (played by Cate Blanchett who sometimes gets it right and sometimes doesn’t), is the main plot spoiler and so I will leave you to wonder where she comes from and why she is so very wicked. While you ponder, there also a few old faces that appear along the way to help us along, with the ever-wry Mark Ruffalo reprising his role as Dr. Bruce Banner aka The Hulk and the charismatic Idris Elba as Heimdall – the keeper of the Bifröst bridge that allows Thor and his sidekicks to gallivant across the universe.

Since Thor: Ragnarok is not made for 3D and has already recovered more than double its $180 million budget to date, I advise waiting to watch this film comfortably at home without having to brave the girls in the bathroom during interval who are busy taking selfies in the floor-length mirror, and the people who chat freely during the film in normal voices as if the cinema were their own living room instead of a communal space for all.

Watch trailer