In Thor’s third solo adventure, Asgard is, as always, in danger – this time from Odin’s first-born daughter Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of Death. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) attempts to defeat her, but ends up stranded on the despotic planet of Sakaar and thrown into a gladiator ring, where he meets an armoured-up Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Together, they must find a way to escape Sakaar and reach Asgard to stop its tyrannical ruling by Hela.
New Zealand director Taika Waitiki steers this spaceship, and has a lot more fun than Alan Taylor and Kenneth Branagh before him. Known for his indie and outlandish comedies like last year’s wonderful Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the filmmaker jolts some of that much-needed humour into Ragnarok. Marvel doesn’t struggle in its comedy, often revels in it, but previously the jokes didn’t always hit and often entered into cliché. The only refuge was Guardians of the Galaxy. But now, there is a competitor. Waitiki and screenwriter Eric Pearson have developed hilarious, witty dialogue that can’t help but infect the most fervent of superhero sceptics. If there’s anything that sets Ragnarok apart from the ocean of comic-book movies, it’s the laughs.
The story is given secondary priority to the CGI, which is filled with nauseating special effects that only succeed in hurting one’s eyes and stomach. Such depths of superficiality are closer to Pixar than live-action cinema. But the narrative is miles better than the previous Thor movies – our hero does need to save Asgard (again), but there are many unanticipated surprises along the way.
The picture is littered with weird cameos and a painfully brief appearance from Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), but the film shepherds these into the first 15 minutes, so as not to intrude on the intensely likeable protagonists. Waitiki creates more of a friendly atmosphere, making this latest instalment great fun to watch. This is enhanced even further by the use of good and refreshingly appropriate music. If Led Zeppelin could apply to any superhero, it is surely Thor.
Ragnarok is one of the better superhero movies of modern times – certainly the best of the Thor series. It possesses a rare level of comedy, which future comic-book endeavours can learn from. The jokes can’t mask the oversaturated CGI and hyperbolic scene dressings, but it’s not difficult to laugh through a sick stomach.
Thor: Ragnarok is released in nationwide on 24th October 2017.
Watch the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok here: