Third time’s a charm for Thor

Lennox Herald - - REVIEW -

Thor: Rag­narok (12A)

For many, Thor has been seen as the Avengers’ weak­est link when it comes to the qual­ity of his solo movie ad­ven­tures.

Harsh, in my opinion, as I en­joyed the first fish-out-of-wa­ter-in­spired flick and was a big fan of the divisive Dark World.

Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thun­der’s third out­ing sees him re-team with an­other Avenger suf­fer­ing from solo film blues – The Hulk (Mark Ruf­falo).

As if be­ing forced to face off against each other in a deadly glad­i­a­to­rial con­test wasn’t enough, the pair – and oth­ers – must take on the might of the ruth­less Hela (Cate Blanchett).

Eye­brows were raised when New Zealan­der Taika Waititi – best known for bril­liant, zany come­dies Hunt for the Wilder peo­ple and What We Do in the Shad­ows – be­came the third di­rec­tor to helm as many Thor movies.

He was just the man to lead the se­ries in an ex­cit­ing new di­rec­tion, though, as his com­edy back­ground helps make Rag­narok ar­guably the fun­ni­est Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse (MCU) en­try yet – and that’s say­ing some­thing.

De­spite fears the apoc­a­lyp­tic theme could see dark­ness pre­vail – and the threat lev­els are raised con­sid­er­ably – this is a ri­otous thrill ride filmed in such bright, vi­brant colours you could be for­given for think­ing the cinema reel has been dragged through a rain­bow.

Hemsworth has not only grown into his role more and more with each film, but is now the perfect con­duit for pure hero­ism; hand­some, phys­i­cally im­pos­ing, no stranger to a dam­aged look and hi­lar­i­ously funny.

Thor un­der­goes a dra­matic trans­for­ma­tion here, and the Aus­tralian throws ev­ery­thing into his ca­reer-best per­for­mance.

Ruf­falo is tremen­dous too and it’s nice to see The Hulk him­self con­tinue to blos­som on the big screen after a rocky start.

Blanchett rev­els in her de­struc­tive role and Hela delivers where so many oth­ers have failed in the MCU; por­tray­ing an in­ter­est­ing an­tag­o­nist who you gen­uinely feel could de­feat our he­roes.

It’s won­der­ful see­ing Jeff Gold­blum (Grand­mas­ter) get to em­brace his kook­i­ness on such a grand scale, Creed’s Tessa Thomp­son ( Valkyrie) is so good you’re long­ing to see more of her and Tom Hid­dle­ston’s Loki and An­thony Hop­kins’ Odin make wel­come re­turns.

There are two or three char­ac­ters too many, how­ever, as the story strug­gles to jug­gle the weight of its ex­pan­sive worlds.

Waititi in­evitably makes con­ces­sions to his new block­buster play­ground, but it’s re­as­sur­ing to see he keeps an ec­cen­tric, out­landish mo­tif across the board.

The vi­su­als are breath­tak­ing and peak with an awein­spir­ing, fiery fi­nale that com­fort­ably slots in among the MCU’s top three cli­maxes.

Thor re­turns next year for In­fin­ity War, but after the soar­ing suc­cess of his third stand­alone flick, let’s hope this isn’t the last we see of Waititi in the block­buster world.

New look Chris Hemsworth’s hero faces a test­ing time

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