It's that time of the year again, when the unstoppable behemoth of Hollywood, Disney (yes, you read right, Disney, in case you weren't aware), makes another billion or so USD. But that's the business side of the matter, and who really cares about that other than the shareholders?
No, this is the thing that is going to make them a billion bucks: Thor: Ragnarok. Otherwise known as "Breaking the curse of the threequel 101: Hire Taika Waititi for every third movie and you're set".
The film is relatively simple, of course. Joining our noted characters Thor, Loki, Odin and Hulk on this space bros adventure are Scrapper 142, a Celestial (I think Grandmaster might just be one), "a few colourful Infinity Stones things", a flame demon bigger than Godzilla, Odin's never-before-seen firstborn, a wolf, a zombie army, a rock man (handsomely played by Taika Waititi himself), Shady Acres, Stephen "Dormammu, I've come to bargain" Strange, Sam Neill, Matt Damon, Liam Hemsworth (shout out if you recognised them) and an exceptionally well-placed Stan Lee cameo, and last but not the least, Led Zeppelin. (Let me know if I missed someone here, yeah?) in an adventure soaring across the cosmos....well, Muspelheim, Asgard, Sakaar and Earth at least.
One has to truly appreciate Marvel for bringing out the movie the way they have. Getting Taika Waititi is one thing, but getting the 'Immigrant Song' is no mean feat (this is where you bow down to Marvel and Disney for being able to casually fork out seven-figure checks for a song). Going into the film, I was apprehensive because many of the reviews I saw said the movie was a slacker till the Stan Lee cameo came along, but I have an odd feeling those people were simply trying to make people expect less of this for reasons unknown.
The movie started out pretty fast, then slowed down, repeat ad infinitum. From the hellish flames of Muspel to the golden sheen of Asgard, to the serene cliffs of ol' Norway (rest in pieces, Mjolnir), then to the trash pile ruled by the Grandmaster, where our Strongest Avenger is the reigning champion. From there, comes a plan to overthrow Hela and restore peace (and hopefully keep Ragnarok stopped while you're at it, even though Surtur and Odin himself say it's happening no matter what).
Now that we have the plot overview through with, here's what I loved about the film:
The sibling dynamic: Gone are the days where Thor would trust Loki and then fall into his inevitable betrayal. The Lord (sorry, God) of Thunder has clearly come a long way from the last time he saw Loki, grown indifferent and wiser to his tactics, but one can see he still cares about his half-brother. Hela, though, uh, is quite the thorn in everyone's side, and like Thor says, "just the worst".
Odin's send-off: Marvel is infamous for lack of meaningful character deaths. Of all the movies so far, the only ones that had an impact, at least for me, were Yisnen from Iron Man and Yondu from Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2. Pretty much everyone else in between was meh or outright boring (so glad they glossed over Uncle Ben for Spider-Man: Homecoming).
The Hulk/Banner dynamic (or lack thereof): I shan't speak of this in detail, but Banner's increasing paranoia is a sight to behold as he tries to keep his nerves intact in an alien world where Hulk is basically God.
The MCU call-backs: From the Bifrost bridge ragdoll to Hulk's "Puny God vol. 2", the movie was a treasure trove for those who have been with the MCU since its inception. Thankfully, it didn't detract from the experience either.
Takia Waititi's brand of comedy: Last but not the least, the brilliant brand of comedy brought to the film by Taika Waititi was one of the film's best points for me. Be it the well-placed Stan Lee cameo, to Thor being ultra-casual while addressing Surtur, to Skurge's accent and the masterful use of Goldblum's trademark eccentricity, the film was loaded with Waititi's comedy, and for all intents and purposes, was his child, and was the better for it. Marvel could easily have gone the dark(er) route as they have with the past Thor films, but this is what the solo trilogy needed to break free from the stigma of two underwhelming outings, one of which all but wasted an Infinity Stone. Special mention goes to Korg, who carried the entire film on his soft-spoken perishable rock shoulders.