Sunday, 12 November 2017

Review: Thor - Ragnarok (second-pass)

Thor: Ragnarok (2D / second-pass / SPOILERS)
Cert: 12A / 130 mins / Dir. Taika Waititi / Trailer

And so, I somehow find myself with surprisingly little to say about Thor: Ragnarok. Especially odd given a) how much I loved the film the first time around, and b) how long it's taken me to schedule this second-pass despite singing the praises of the film to everyone in between*1, to the point where I've missed the 3D screenings*2, so have only seen this most psychedelic of Marvel movies in two dimensions.

And this shorter-than-usual review is certainly not because I enjoyed the movie any less the second time; quite the opposite in fact. The self-defeating mechanics of the villains in Surtur and Hela made more sense when viewed from a distance, as that's basically something that's spread out over the whole screenplay but quickly explained by Thor in the middle of the final battle. It's a neat solution to Marvel's usual problem of either nerfing the bad guys and making them too easily beaten, or having them survive and making the heroes look weak. Because everybody loses here, we all win.

And speaking of losses, I also love how much has changed at the end of Ragnarok. I've mentioned on occasion that despite enjoying The Dark World very much, not a lot has developed by the time the credits roll other than Frigga sailing off the waterfall and Odin being missin-in-action. This time round, Thor's lost Mjölnir, lost his hair, lost an eye, lost his father (for real this time), lost his home and very nearly lost his people. And yet the film is so resolutely hopeful in its final moments.

Mark Mothersbaugh's score stood out a little more this time, too. I still maintain that the orchestral sections are mainly Loud Film-Type Noises™, but I'm loving the more disco-infused synth tracks which evoke the iconic Scarface soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder. Although I also still maintain that the Led Zeppelin moments are greater than either of those.

The under-writing of Hela's character is more evident on re-watching, with the Goddess of Death never really making it past the pantomime-villain marker, even though she's personally responsible for a considerable number of screen-fatalities. Also, some of Cate Blanchett's ADR-work for the character is dreadful; the sync is word-perfect, but the emotion in her 'final' voice doesn't match the face she was acting with on-set. But I got an extra chuckle from watching Matt Damon in the theatre-scene, as it occurred to me that this is the second time he's played Loki, the first being in Kevin Smith's Dogma.

But all in all this is magnificent, Marvel reaching further than before and still effortlessly securing their grasp. Ragnarok is a great end to a great year for the studio (cinematically, at least)…

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
All of The Marvels.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Hell, yes.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Hell, yes.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
This film will be on the front-page of many CVs for some time to come.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
A little bit, but not enough for you to worry about.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Another pass; still didn't hear one. Not impressed.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: As well as what could be described as an absolute shit-ton of visual and audio effects crew, this film features the guy who's the voice of Gar Saxon.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Come on, I'm a busy blogger. I can't very well go swanning off to watch repeat-viewings of movies when things like A Bad Moms Christmas are awaiting the scalpel of criticism. [ BACK ]

*2 The 3D/RealD showings traditionally play for the first two weeks of a 'big' release, with that second being significantly pared down in the screen-share. But when Ragnarok opened at my local, it didn't go into 3D until its second full week. So all those of us queuing up on the first day to see the movie were all paying less to the cinema, the distributor and to Marvel as a result. I've got no great feeling on 3D either way, but I like to try and see Marvel movies in the format at least once, where it's available. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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