Movie Review: Thor – Ragnarok

Taika Waititi is the director who brought us Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a charming and spirited comedy adventure from New Zealand. Hilarious, enjoyable and even touching, the independent film demonstrated Waititi’s knack for high-spirited, entertaining and funny film-making. Drawing experience from Flight of the Conchords and What We Do in the Shadows, he was well poised to transplant his directorial talents into the making of long-awaited sequel, Thor: Ragnarok. Bringing some of his favourite collaborators on board for the ride, he’s managed to create a superhero comedy action adventure with comic book flair.

The story follows Thor, who must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the looming destruction of Asgard. The page-turning tone of the latest installation makes this a fresh, pulpy, enjoyable and lighthearted entry into the Marvel canon. From hilarious comedy interplay to self-deprecating heroics, this spectacular action adventure has many parallels with James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Borrowing plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour and mixing it with daredevil attitude, the new Thor has a much sillier and funnier feel, embracing its camp undertones. 

Chris Hemsworth has fun playing up the character, who finds himself out-of-his-depth, disrespected and humiliated more often than a God of Thunder should be. Hemsworth keeps the usual Thor antics at play, spicing things up with a more clumsy, spontaneous and reductive take. It’s an opportunity for many of the film’s dramatic actors to flex their comedic side with Cate Blanchett taking on a Maleficent type role, Tom Hiddleston becoming the fall guy and Mark Ruffalo going academic. The stellar cast also includes: Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Karl Urban and a spunky turn for Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie.

“Go on, say ASS-GARD one more time…”

Much like Iron Man did with AC/DC, Thor: Ragnarok takes Led Zeppelin’s rock epic Immigrant Song and supplants it in its rightful place, cranking up the “hammer of the gods” cool and turning this explosive adventure into an exciting and self-aware beast. As if the ensemble wasn’t strong enough already, a slew of heavyweight actors chime in with sharp cameo appearances, making the film epic and star-studded.

Almost every frame is laden with visual effects, giving the sci-fi fantasy an ever present and otherworldly vibe much like Guardians of the Galaxy. Thor: Ragnarok gives The Incredible Hulk more screen time and lines to the point of almost being classified as a co-lead. The vibrant colours and imaginative visuals are comparable with The Fifth Element, playing to laughs and thrills over drama and substance. It may not add up to much and could have had more heart, emotional resonance and substance – but it’s one of those slick box office blockbusters that simply bursts with entertainment value.

The bottom line: Entertaining