Of late Marvel and Disney have been giving opportunities to up and coming directors to have a crack at the big time. Shane Black was given Iron Man 3, the Russo brothers were given Captain America: Winter Soldier (which would lead to Captain America: Civil War) and James Gunn was given both Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Due to the success of What we do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Kiwi director Taika Waititi was the next director given the chance to play with a big budget.
Two years after Battle of Sokovia, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur. Whilst imprisoned Thor learns that his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is no longer on Asgard and this gives the chance for the prophecy known as Ragnarok to become reality. Ragnarok is stopped as Thor defeats Surtur and claims his crown, however even greater danger lurks in the shape of Hela (Cate Blanchett), Odin’s first born, who wants to restore Asgard to its previous dominating might rather than its current dormant peace.
With the disappointment of Thor: The Dark World still lodged in people’s minds, another middling Thor movie would perhaps add a certain staleness to this side of the Marvel universe. Thankfully, the arrival of director Taika Waititi gives the impetus required to give this branch of the Marvel Universe a boost. Waititi’s comic touch, especially when the mismatched characters interreact with one another (something perfectly exemplified in Hunt for the Wilderpeople), brings the comic touch always present in Marvel movies.
Waititi’s style has allowed for a more goofy and clumsy side to Thor (it’s fun whilst not being entirely fitting for the God of Thunder), and with the injures he sustains perhaps there is even a more vulnerable side to him. Chris Hemsworth uses the comedic chops he learnt from previous Marvel films and other films (such as Ghostbusters) to excel in such a role. He is supported marvellously by newbies and familiar favourites who all bounce off each other with a perfect rapport, with the oddball relationship between Thor and Hulk being the highlight (this is much to do with Waititi’s handling of mismatched couples).
Where the film falls down is in the central villain. It’s such a common occurrence for Marvel films across the board that I can almost create a template for the following paragraph and apply is every Marvel film to come. Cate Blanchett is undoubtedly perfectly fine in a the main role but she is underutilised and thus all the build up to her being seemingly unstoppable seemed unconvincing, and whenever the film focused on her it felt slightly flat.