Cert: 12A; Opens Tuesday
And the Marvel juggernaut rolls onwards, devouring whole economies and climaxing each episode with a delectable foreshadowing of the next. Nothing dents the behemoth, not the shoddy comedy writing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, not the tired quips-and-kablamo formula of the Avengers franchise.
And just when you think the sheen might be coming off, a Doctor Strange or Spider-man: Homecoming comes along to breathe new life into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with bombast and brains. Hating Marvel is a short-lived hobby.
Granting arch Kiwi director Taika Waititi ( Eagle vs Shark, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) with the keys to a new Thor film is perhaps the very kind of thinking that’s worked all these years. Under him, Thor: Ragnarok reaches levels of silliness and tomfoolery not yet plumbed by a superhero film of this budget.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a buff himbo, cocky in a fight but fragile of ego (which is actually not a million miles off his Norse mythology source). While enslaved as a galactic gladiator, he crosses paths with Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) again. It’s perfect timing because all-powerful sister Hela (a goth Cate Blanchett, perhaps the finest marvel of them all) has returned to enslave Asgard. Even gods sometimes need a hand.
Waititi puts the gags up front with mixed results. At times, it feels too needy of laughter and frivolity at the expense of heart (unusually for a Marvel film). Elsewhere, the camp overtones and dotty support cast (Jeff Goldblum, Rachel House, Waititi himself ) pull you mercifully away from chest-beating smugness. It is, alas, at its best when beautiful gods and huge monsters are walloping one another to the strident gallop of Immigrant Song.
Cate Blanchette stars in American superhero film ‘Thor: Ragnarok’