Norse beefcake Thor is back for an intergalactic team-up with Hulk in a riotous screwball threequel.
Irreverent, helter-skelter and just a little off its Ragnarocker (in the best way), Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok has all the hallmarks of a superhero franchise confident enough to throw the ball to the most singular filmmakers and let them run with it. Take a bow, then, director Taika Waititi. The New Zealander has somehow parlayed his offbeat comic sensibility straight from indie gems like What We Do in the Shadows and onto a canvas a hundred times bigger. There are jokes galore (returning Norse bro Chris Hemsworth remains vaguely mystified, an asset), a heady ’80s vibe and a scene-stealing rock monster called Korg (motion-captured by Waititi himself, presumably on his day off). To crank up the giddiness even further, Jeff Goldblum appears as the hedonist Grandmaster, a kind of intergalactic MC who presides over a gladiatorial arena on the glitz-sheened junk planet of Sakaar.
If Ragnarok is the funniest Marvel movie to date—topping Guardians of the Galaxy—it’s not without frustrations. The standard third act CGI-fest feels leaden after the zip of what’s come before; it’s overlong, and there’s arguably one too many superpowered MacGuffins (we’d have quickly misplaced the Flame of Thingamajig). But these are minor grumbles. In a world of portentous blockbusters getting ever darker, it’s a joy to see one throwing on the disco lights.
Follow Phil de Semlyen on Twitter: @PhildeSemlyen
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