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Film/TV Thor

Published on October 24th, 2017 | by voxx

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Thor: Ragnarok

Out: Now
Cert: 12A
Length: 130 minutes
Rating: 4/5

Director: Taika Waititi

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo

Plot: Imprisoned, Thor (Hemsworth) finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk (Ruffalo), his former ally. Thor must then fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Blanchett) from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

Like chanting Betelguise’s name, for Marvel products the phrase third time’s a charm really works. Of course, well-earned nods to brother directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s ‘Captain America: Civil War’, which accomplished all fears for its enchanting, eye-shattering Leipzig airport battle scene having the heroes involved showing what they can do. The standout there was Black Panther and the introduction of the newer, younger and much improved Spider-Man. Then we had Shane Black’s turn at ‘Iron Man 3′, which vastly improved on its predecessor. Now, the third and final entry in the Thor series is one of the most ridiculous, most hilarious adventures Marvel has ever produced; it’s essentially like eating a badger sandwich, and no, we don’t know what that is either.

This daftness comes from none other than New Zealand-born director Taika Waititi, who, over the last few years, has created some of the most bizarre adventures ever told in cinema, with his hilarious vampire-mockumentary ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ and secondly ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’, which had a stunning performance from Sam Neill in a hat made from a collinder. However, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is his most ridiculous adventure yet.

After Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is hurled from the bifrost, he’s captured on a strange planet, which from first glance is obviously the universe’s trash can, under the rule of Jeff Goldblum’s daft, yet tyrannical Grandmaster. He looks like he just wears anything he finds in the 80′s factory, complete with a blue line under his lip and a lot of Goldbluminess – he’s funny as hell. He gives Thor the ultimate fight against his champion, Hulk, and Hulk’s (Ruffalo) welcome is really no surprise. He comes with a roundhouse of applause, particularly with the well-drawn hand-to-hand combat in a Star Wars-esque gladiatorial coliseum which can’t escape Thor’s scream of joy and a few quick-witted jokes to get you going. Meanwhile, on the other side of the universe the Asghardians are held for a fight for their survival after a vicious attack from Cate Blanchett’s goddess of death Hela, looking a tad like Alice Cooper’s twisted sister, complete with a horned helmet for ferocity. Sadly, her performance is the film’s weakest point; she doesn’t exactly come with Galadriel’s strength or depth and she’s not Marvel’s best villain, though a better improvement over ‘Thor: The Dark World’s Dark Elves. She’s not in many scenes and when she does appear her delivery is often heavy-handed and empty with little feeling.

The script, penned by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, is an improvement over the previous instalment too – the funnier scenes are along the same lines as James Gunn’s unadulterated joy for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2′. Here there are arse gags and penis gags aplenty, which is a vast improvement over the previous two films’ barriers of seriousness, meaning the actors are allowed to let loose. Particularly good is the shared chemistry between Thor, who hates having his hair cut, Hulk, angry as ever, and Tessa Thompson’s surly Valkyrie, who can’t stop drinking yet comes with a humanising story giving her performance some emotion. Yet there’s humour to them too; they each share their time with the whims and the jokes that the script has to offer, and the three arguing in a room with an angry Hulk and a teamed final fight are obvious standouts.

Sadly, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ doesn’t come without its flaws. It’s not utterly thunderous and the last few minutes of the final fight are a little CG heavy. There’s a lot going on in a few shots making it difficult to follow a certain point, which can be on occasion daunting to the eyes if watching in 3D. Though there is some goodness the CG images on show. The destruction of Asghard, though upsetting for the fans, is thoroughly stunning, plus this is the most impressive vision of Hulk yet. This is vintage Waititi and he is clearly at home here. In the huge immersive worlds of space or the cramped space of Hulk’s chamber he allows you to breathe with the world he has created. The finale of the ‘Thor’ series is one of the most intense, boldest adventures Marvel has ever created. Does it bring on the thunder? You’re damn right it does.

VERDICT: Daft, ridiculous and hilarious, Waititi manages to retain his unique brand of humour and goofball madness in this neon-infused 80′s style finale. 

- By Corey Denford


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