This, the third Thor movie, is the best of the bunch (quite a compliment when you remember how good the first two movies were) and also wins the prize for the funniest Marvel movie by far.
Much of this is down to director Taika Waititi, who made last year’s wonderful Hunt For The Wilderpeople, and here realises the full comic potential of his cast – most notably Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Yep, the big green guy is as hilarious as he is, well, big (and he gets the most dialogue he’s ever had, too).
Ragnarok begins with muscular god Thor being held captive by a big fiery fiend named Surtur, who predicts death and destruction will come to Thor’s home realm of Asgard. While Thor defeats him, when he returns to Asgard he discovers things are not as he left them and it is not long before the real threat appears – the all-powerful, and pretty vengeful, Hela (Blanchett).
It’s going to take more than just Thor and his mighty hammer to stop her destroying Asgard, and while the Asgardians go into hiding as Hela rampages about, Thor finds himself stranded on a strange planet run by the Grandmaster (Goldblum, over-the-top brilliant) where he is expected to fight the resident champion, gladiator-style. And that champion is none other than Hulk, who seems to have no memory of his human side, Bruce Banner, at all.
Aside from a brief stopover on Earth, Waititi keeps the action in the other realms, introducing new characters – Thompson’s terrific Valkyrie, Waititi’s adorable rock-like Korg – while bringing back familiar faces such as Odin (Hopkins), Loki (Hiddleston), Heimdall (Elba), and Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch).
As you’d expect from a Marvel film, there are lots of impressive action sequences, including a battle between Hulk and Thor, a spaceship chase and Thor’s opening fight with Surtur, but the joy of this movie comes from the humour that is woven throughout. Goldblum, as you’d expect, is a hoot, but the real surprises here are the comedy double acts that add sparkle and fun to the film – Thor and Loki, Thor and Hulk, and in one eye-wateringly funny New York scene, Thor and Doctor Strange. Chris Hemsworth carries off each pairing with sharp comic timing, while the script – which covers everything from Thor’s love for his hammer to his annoyance when people keep calling him Lord of Thunder – delivers a slew of quotable one-liners and laugh out loud moments.
Extremely silly, this is slightly meandering in places, but ultimately it’s a brilliantly bonkers comic book movie that deserves more than one viewing to catch all the laughs.
Can Taika Waititi direct all Marvel movies from now on, please?
Thor: Ragnarok is a 12A certificate in the UK, rated for moderate fantasy violence, and is a PG-13 in the US.
It is aimed at older children (10+) and adults. There are action scenes, such as the battle between Surtur and Thor, which may be too intense for viewers under the age of 10. Younger children (under 8) would also find Surtur and Hela scary.
There are various fight scenes, and injuries are shown, but not in great detail. Weapons are used, and one character is vapourised but it is not frightening.
There is some mild bad language.
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