Exploding onto the screen in a kaleidoscope of colour and Electro-Pop, synthetic, funk music, Thor: Ragnarok grabs you by the ponytail and takes you on an adventure that’ll leave you wanting more and questioning whether you’ve just watched an outright comedy rather than an action film with funny moments.
Director Taika Waititi and writers Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher L. Yost make full use of the cast’s excellent comedic talents to create the daftest, silliest and darn right funniest of all the Thor films, indeed even of all the Avenger’s films.
The Goddess Of Death, Hela (a spectacularly sultry Cate Blanchett), is coming to claim the throne of Asgard for herself and to initiate Ragnorak, the end of Asgard’s civilisation. Thor (the always brilliant Chris Hemsworth) and some of his pals have to stop her.
Along the way we crash land into the fighting pits of Sakaar, run by The Grand Master (a deliciously eccentric Jeff Goldblum – was he really going to be anything else?!), who sets up Gladiatorial fights for his own amusement. Here, Thor bumps into a friend from work, a forgotten Asgardian and the three team up to return to Asgard to try and prevent Ragnarok from happening.
Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk is an awful lot more eloquent this time round, and his verbal sparring, not to mention physical, with Hemsworth’s Thor is a joy to watch. Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner is also a highlight as his bumbling, scientist geek persona attempts to come to terms with his predicament and he somehow manages to keep a straight face whilst delivering lines such as, “We’re coming up on the Devil’s anus!”
Chris Hemsworth is proving himself as an incredibly versatile actor. Appearing in some recent comedies, regardless of how bad the films were – Ghostbusters, I’m talking to you – has helped him to hone this area of his repertoire and his turn is effortless and accomplished.
Bum gags, inside jokes, A-list cameos by both Hollywood actors and Marvel characters, even a masturbation joke are all, ahem, finished off with style. But the film’s highlight is the director himself, Taika Waititi, lending his voice to the CGI character, Korg. A total scene-stealer, Waititi’s dry New Zealand delivery is a masterclass in comic timing.
If I’m being picky, Cate Blanchett’s character, Hela, is a little too petulant. The squabbling between Thor and Hulk or Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been earned and established and therefore tolerable and often funny, but Hela arrives like a spoilt child that’s been taken home early from a party for throwing a tantrum. Granted, her tantrum actually involved genocide and slavery as she got carried away with her powers, but let’s try to keep this light.
There’s also the death of a major character in this film. I only say that so I can write the line; By Thor’s hammer, by the sons of Odin he shall be avengered. Clever, I know.
Thor: Ragnarok is a delightful hoot and a smile all the way through. Thord times a charm.
Oh, and stick around for two extra scenes during the end credits.
Film reviewer for Time and Leisure Magazine, The Movie Waffler and We Are Cult.
Former actor (a regular in The Bill) and voiceover artist with Rhubarb Voices.