It becomes apparent within moments of Thor: Ragnarok that New Zealander Taiki Waititi is at the helm; in live with his unique sensibilities and brand, tonally belonging to him. This shows the freedom that Marvel give to their filmmakers, and it’s what makes their productions so riotously entertaining, and so triumphant with it. This is no different, easily the best of Thor trilogy, and up there pretty damn high in the ever-expanding table of MCU delights.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) like most men, likes to hold on to two precious things; his freedom, and his hammer, and yet he finds both mercilessly taken away from him when he’s left imprisoned on the distant planet of Sakaar. Captured by the mercenary Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), he’s taken into the hands of the eccentric, nefarious Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and entered into a gladiatorial contest – against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Desperately vying to survive, he becomes obsessed with returning back to Asgard to save his people, since the ruthless Goddess of Death Hela (Cate Blanchett) is now occupying the throne. But to defeat this formidable opposition, he may even need to call on the help of his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
Ragnarok is an emphatically comedic endeavour, in the same mould as Deadool, Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, and much like the aforementioned productions, this film never once compromises on the severity and implications of the narrative, the stakes are still high and the villain seemingly impossible to overcome. This helped by the fact Blanchett’s Hela is a wickedly evil creation, and a multi-layered one at that, bringing out an unsurprisingly commendable performance from the actress. But the real star of the show here is Goldblum, making this character truly his own. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in this role, nor what Waititi had to direct him much on set either. The directr has a small role himself, giving himself some of the film’s funniest lines as the character of fellow prisoner Korg – delivered with that unmistakable droll wit he carries.
Thor: Ragnarok ridicules the formula of the genre and the characters that inhabit it with a deft execution and vital sense of affection that allows this to work. This movie represents about as much fun as you could possibly hope to have at the cinema, and provides such entertainment in an unashamedly, overt way. Marvel have only gone and done it again.