Thor: Rag­narok

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - CINEMA - HILARY A WHITE

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’

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