Stirling Observer

Third time’s a charm for Thor

- 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 Wilderpeop­le 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.

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 ??  ?? New lookChris Hemsworth’s hero faces a testing time
New lookChris Hemsworth’s hero faces a testing time

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