Well strewth, if it isn’t the first superhero film that is basically an Australian-made blockbuster.
Shot in Byron Bay and Brisbane, Thor: Ragnarok, showing at Sunset Cinema on Saturday 9 December, stars Chris Hemsworth and is directed by New Zealander Taika Waititi. The film transforms the weakest Marvel standalone series into one of the best – and definitely the funniest of the current superhero crop.
It’s clear they hit the reset button here, and in keeping with a suitable genre for each hero (Captain America as a spy thriller, or Ant-Man as a heist film for example) Thor has become an imaginative comedy with Guardians of the Galaxy vibes, with the right amount of story and engrossing special effects to keep you glued to the screen for 130 minutes.
I can’t recall ever laughing at a superhero movie this much – including Deadpool. The dialogue is geared for my style of humor, low-brow and awkward, however the execution is masterful in its almost accidental style – rife with improvisation and battles of wit among the vastly impressive cast comprised of Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Idris Alba, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Ruffalo, plus some scene-stealing newbies; keep your eye out for Korg (you can’t miss him) the Kiwi-bouncer Director’s cameo and Jeff Goldblum is impeccable too as the weird and mysterious ‘Grandmaster’.
Narrative-wise, the story is solid. Character development – check. A satisfying and cathartic third act – check. A few plot twists – check and mate, this is a bloody ripper of a movie! It is also the first film to set the wheels in motion for the impending Avengers Infinity War in 2018, tipped to be the most expensive movie of all time.
The chemistry of the characters is what makes this movie whole, and a tone that embraces our ‘superhero fatigue’ whilst not being swept up in the whimsy of it all. Plenty of surprises and moments and some nice nods to idiosyncratic Aussie life; the ‘Commodore’ spaceship for example or a not-so-subtle line of dialogue “Tell em they’re dreamin”.
This is a Marvel film that feels like it was made for Aussies, and without a weak scene to show for it, hopefully this bodes well for our industry here. Thor: Ragnarok could be the catalyst for a new generation of expensive homegrown filmmaking luring overseas cast and franchises to foster the film industry here.