By Adam Brannon
Film Reviewer from Movie Metropolis for What’s on Hub
Thor is arguably one of Marvel’s strongest characters. Played by the superb Chris Hemsworth since 2011, the God of thunder is one of the MCUs most popular assets.
It’s unfortunate then that he’s been lambasted with the weakest solo films of the entire series, the son of Odin really has deserved much better.
Thor’s inception in the first of his three solo outings was a competent if unremarkable origins story and the less said about Thor: The Dark World, which remains the poorest film of the entire MCU, the better. Now, just in time for Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok rolls into cinemas. But does it do its leading man justice?
Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor (Hemsworth) finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk (Bruce Banner), his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful goddess of death, Hela, (Cate Blanchett) from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilisation.
This third film for our mighty Avenger is really something. A film more akin to Guardians of the Galaxy than its overly stuffy predecessors. Director Taika Waititi in his first big-budget feature has managed what many had thought was impossible, he’s given Thor a rather brilliant movie.
But how? Well, he’s realised what no-one else has. The premise surrounding our titular hero is utterly ridiculous. Rather than shy away from that and create something serious, he’s embraced it with humour, music and my goodness, a lot of colour.
If you thought Guardians of the Galaxy used every colour on the spectrum, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Thor: Ragnarok is quite something to watch. From the gold-tipped spears of Asgard that glisten like never before, to the trash-topped planet of Sicar, everything is dripping in colour.
Speaking of Sicar, it contains one of the MCUs best new additions: Jeff Goldbum. Sorry, I mean the Grandmaster. Casting Goldblum in the role of an immortal game-player really is an inspired bit of casting. The 65-year-old legend has made a career on playing himself and it works exceptionally well here. His improvisation is absolutely spot on.
Ragnarok throws up a few other surprises too. One being that Chris Hemsworth is absolutely hilarious. He and Tom Hiddleston bounce off each other incredibly well and we see real chemistry – the chemistry that should have been evident from the start. Cate Blanchett also turns the cheese up to 11 as the latest throwaway Marvel villain, Hela.
She fares better than the majority of Marvel villains and is certainly more interesting than Christopher Eccelston’s, Malekith, but they never quite make the impact that the scriptwriters were clearly looking for. Nevertheless, Blanchett is excellent.
Thankfully, Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t suffer from the absence of Natalie Portman’s dull Jane Foster, and though she is referenced early on, newcomer Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie provides a fitting replacement and possible future love-interest for our intrepid hero.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. Surprisingly the first 30 minutes feel incredibly rushed as numerous loose storylines are brought together and the improvised nature of the script lends itself to a little too much humour. Yes, we get it, Marvel films are funny, but this should not be at the expense of the more emotional sequences that the movie tries to put across.
Nevertheless, Thor: Ragnarok is a resounding success, created by a man who clearly has a passion for this corner of the MCU. He manages to make an absolutely preposterous film – and that’s exactly how Thor should be. Take a bow Mr. Waititi.
A little tip – there are two end credit sequences waiting for you. You’re welcome.
Our score: ★★★★☆
Watch if you liked: Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Thor: Ragnarok is showing now at Odeon Cinema, Hull