Finally here for us to pick-a-part, Marvel Studios Thor Ragnarok feels like we as New Zealander’s own this particular Marvel Studios film; and there’s a couple of reasons for that. Sure, it’s a Kiwi-director-made-good story that we like to take ownership on but it’s also that mischievous Cross Tasman sensibility that we share with Aussie where we like to claim each other’s best and brightest and let’s be honest, in New Zealand…we’ve all pretty much decided that Chris Hemsworth is now, by default “one of us, one of us, one of us”. One thing is for certain though; Taika Waititi has come a hell of a long way since Scarfies (1999) to bring us a piece of cool escapism and inclusive intergalactic fun, even if you’re not a sci-fi super fan.
On Thor Ragnarok, Taika Waititi does do an impeccable job in the director’s seat and as most are clamouring to say, he makes this a kiwi, ANZAC inspired Marvel film. It’s not just the straight up kiwi-centric jokes or nods that Waititi threads into Thor Ragnarok, what works is the kiwi sense of comedic timing, having a funny piece of slapstick here, or a cheeky little comment there that makes it feel like it’s uniquely Antipodean; especially considering that Chris Hemsworth keeps proving himself to be the funniest Avenger and also for his crack-up work in the Ghostbusters sequel-reboot; making Hemsworth and Waititi a great comedic partnership. Waititi’s comedic sensibilities draw you in at the beginning of Thor Ragnarok then dissolve away to reveal a very accomplished action film that hits all the right spots, is bang on for scale while also interlacing a slew of comic book storyline Easter eggs to impress even the most die-hard fans of Marvel canon.
Cropping up in a fun cameo part, Waititi brings his own flourish as the lovable bro-beast Korg; whom I did laugh along with, but sometimes wondered if Korg was say, a bit toooo kiwi for non-New Zealand audiences to wholly enjoy – but I suppose I’ll let the international acclaim of Boy, What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople assuage my concerns on that…and it does. Thor Ragnarok matches up to the Marvel films before it well, including some cool pieces set on earth where Thor is moving through this environment in jeans and a denim jacket, taking selfies with Avengers fans which takes Thor Ragnarok to a cute, meta place as well. The Avengers make appearances through a few Black Widow and Tony Stark McGuffin’s that help us anchor back to Thor’s other “friends from work” and ties us in to the Avengers tapestry.
Visually Thor Ragnarok is eye-popping stuff. Loaded with amazing backgrounds you really get a feel for Asgard in this Thor instalment; we’ve seen the Bifröst before but now you have a sense of how you would move through the home of the Asgardian civilisation and where to find things. The Grandmaster’s (Jeff Goldbum) home planet of Sakaar is a nice mirroring of earth as the poor forage in the trash proclaiming intruders as “Food!” while the rich are entertained in their de-sensitivity by gladiatorial battles and sup on extravagant food and beverages in the corporate boxes. Both versions of Sakaar are gloriously realised environments that also feel as though you could wander around them IRL. Costumes for all characters are intricate and realistic; the soundtrack has a cool 70s Sci-Fi feel with blooping synths and digital ripples to spur Thor on as he kicks butt. Thankfully Thor Ragnarok stays light on the pop culture music favourites as soundtrack fodder and prefers to just select one, kickass track that everyone will have in their heads for weeks following their watch…in this case, Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, with its pointed references to Valhalla that match nicely with Thor Ragnarok’s Norse story origins.
I’m excited to watch Thor Ragnarok again immediately, it’s probably what I was hoping Guardians 2 would deliver but didn’t to be honest; it’s fun, action-packed, a bit sexy and relishes in it’s raucous, big set pieces and scenes. Seeing Thor Ragnarok in 3D gave me the feel of Tilt-Shift photography where the selective focus causes the scene and action to take on a miniaturization effect; which is handy for when we’re witnessing Thor up against insurmountable obstacles and helps to make him seem small in comparison to the task he’s facing. Heads up! There’s two, potentially three post credits moments to check out that offer one more joke, a hint of what’s to come and a confirmation on something we’re all assuming so those are exciting…don’t rush off from your seat and miss those; but do rush off to see Thor Ragnarok ASAP!
So, c’mon tell me, what are YOU most excited to see in Thor Ragnarok? Already seen it and wanna chat? Hit me up in the comments