Thor: Ragnarok plays like a live-action special of Saturday cartoon. It is fun and (very) enjoyable in many parts, interspersed with tiny conflicts and squabbles between the cast but nothing severe and you somehow know things will be resolved later down the line. But it also fits very well into the Marvel Cinematic Universe grander scheme of things; the movie felt genuinely part of the big puzzle yet distinctive enough to stand on its own.

This has always been Marvel’s formula in its live-action movies since Iron Man; it rewards those who joined the journey since day one without ostracising the more casual audience. In Thor: Ragnarok, director Taika Waititi embraced this formula in such convincing manner that viewers are instantly sucked into Marvel’s latest offering without missing a beat.

Thor: Ragnarok follows up on two of our strongest Avengers who sat out of Captain America: Civil War – Thor (duh) and Hulk – along with our favorite Marvel misfit, Loki whom we last saw in The Dark World. Without spoiling it for you dear readers, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – casual and hardcore alike – will find no trouble connecting the dots and are instantly brought up to speed of the who’s and what’s of the MCU grand scheme of things thanks to the solid storytelling flow of the movie.

There imminent threat of Hela notwithstanding, the movie plays with the theme of family, blood-related and otherwise as Thor comes to terms with actual fates of Loki’s post-The Dark World, Odin’s whereabouts and of course, as seen in the trailers, what happened to The Hulk. Even side characters; Valkyrie and Skurge also have their own backstories – something that we surely will get to delve deeper later on. The introduction of Korg is a breath of fresh air too as he delivered some of the best lines in the movie while Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster is …. well, essentially Jeff Goldblum playing himself. Lest we forget, Benedict Cumberbatch’s cameo as Doctor Strange. Slotting in right after Doctor Strange’s standalone film, Cumberbatch’s brief screentime was executed almost flawlessly showing how good The Sorcerer Supreme is even when pitted against Asgardian Gods.

And how can we leave out the main antagonist of the movie, Goddess of Death, Hela played by the brilliant Cate Blanchett. Easily the highlight of the show with her ominous presence stealing every scene she was on, Hela is unlike any MCU baddie we’ve seen before. She’s cunning, calculative and easily the most badass MCU villain to date. Never before in MCU history we were genuinely worried of our heroes as they go toe-to-toe with the villain. Without slowing down the pace of the entire movie, the story of Hela was told in such crisp manner, allowing viewers to instantly understand her motive and drive and sources of her power.

If we are correct, we’ve seen Thor kick butt in four movies so far but we assure you; you have never seen him really kick ass like he does in Thor: Ragnarok. The choreography  was excellent in spite of the rawness in Thor’s fighting style. The rematch between him and The Hulk which was teased to death in the promos did not disappoint and we think we finally a clear winner between the two.

Several scenes in the final cut shows different background scenes as seen in the trailers (have fun comparing them after the movie!) – so it is safe to say while there were bunch of stuff alluded in the trailer really did transpire, they do not whatsoever spoiled the movie for its viewers. Several earlier reviews mentioned that Thor: Ragnarok is one of the funniest movies in the MCU and we have to agree with that. While there were complaints that the serious tone of the movie is affected by it, we have to disagree as most of the humor comes from interaction between the cast instead of them making light of the apparent threat.

Oh and the ‘Ragnarok’ bit? Yes that was the looming threat and premise of the whole entire movie but more than anything, serves as a mcguffin throughout; the key element which brought our heroes together. Last but not least, there are two post-credit scenes at the end of the movie so make sure you stay glued to your seats!

TL; DR

Positives 

– Seamless story integration into MCU’s overall storyline

– Action scenes felt fresh yet familiar

– Cate Blanchett’s Hela being one of the better MCU villains to date.

– A better look at the Thor – Loki – Odin dynamic

Negatives

– The back story of Sakaar could use some extra focus

– Not enough Heimdall-time

Thor: Ragnarok is easily the best Thor movie to date. An overall enjoyable spectacle which perfectly straddles for fans and casuals alike, the movie is a perfect connector to the ongoings in the MCU, and is a perfect bridge and lead-up to Infinity War. It is also a breath of fresh air for viewers as we are taken on a wild ride across the cosmos, far away from petty mortal issues in Queens and Washington as seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

SCORE : 85 /100


Thor: Ragnarok opens in Malaysian cinemas 26th October 2017. We caught the movie on iMAX via press screening courtesy of The Walt Disney Company (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd

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