My off the cuff review of THOR: RAGNAROK

We saw THOR: RAGNAROK. The Jewish/Maori New Zealander director of such relatively modestly budgeted films as What We Do in the Shadows had to really step it up to get this gigantic thing done. The scope of this film is huge. We had a good time watching it, and drinking it all in… The decision to bring so much comedy into it–there’s drama and serious stuff and  lotsa action but the comedy is there most of the time–might’ve been controversial at the studio, but it paid off for this, people seem to dig it. Also the film would be too ponderous without it. It comes right up the edge of being the tone of a sitcom in many scenes. Even a bit of slapstick. (Eg, the scene with Dr Strange.)

I felt that Taika Waititi’s directing was good–especially with the comedy–but some cuts and edits and directorial moves didn’t quite work. As an example when Strange was magically moving Thor from room to room, that wasn’t set up very well, in terms of continuity and comedy, but just well enough that I enjoyed it when I figured out what was up. Mostly the direction is good, and the imagery is so rich, it’s so very eye candyish (with occasional lapses of “realism” in the background images), that one feels quite rewarded for this ride. There’s some great satirical moments especially Jeff Goldblum’s grandmaster turns–and as for the comedy writing…Occasionally it’s a bit too cutsey sitcom, with predictable lines too much like internet snark, and other times it’s rather witty. It kept me smiling and sometimes laughing. Chris Hemsworth does comedy quite well…Visual inventiveness was really at a high level on this film. Set designs, art design, stunning…oh and Cate Blanchett makes an excellent super-Maleficent type villainess in this. Very sexy as the goddess of death…And yes the semi-comical tone was likely influenced by the success of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Here’s the thing–if you are into going to an ESCAPIST film, right, this is it. It’s fast paced, writing ranges from good to very good, acting is all good–the director  voices the big rock guy Korg and he’s SO funny, the incongruity, and his style–lots of Thor heroic action, moments of Thor without his shirt for those who particularly enjoy that, lots of funny scenes with the Hulk…and there’re lots of science-fiction space opera-ish action as well as the fantasy stuff…well, nothing’s perfect, but for escapism, yeah, this offers it. Spend your money.

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