by Lachlan Anderson
Rated M. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo. Directed by Taiki Waititi.
Marvel films have a track record of hitting a peak on the third instalment and Thor: Ragnarok continues that trend, taking the God of Thunder to weird and wacky new places. New Zealand director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do In The Shadows) probably wasn’t the obvious choice for a superhero action spectacular, but he deftly steers the film to becoming one of the franchise’s best yet.
After two years of travelling the galaxy, Thor (Hemsworth) returns to Asgard only to meet Hela, Goddess of Death (Blanchett) who has returned from exile to take the throne. After being banished to a distant planet, Thor becomes enslaved in a gladiator competition, meets up with old pal the Hulk (Ruffalo), and must fight for his freedom and return home to stop Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse.
If you thought that synopsis was bonkers, then be assured that it really does the film justice. Thor’s third outing has mostly done away with any po-faced superhero tropes and embraced the daftness of a cosmic road trip film with a Norse God of Thunder. Brimming with colour and playing up on all the 80s nostalgia it can, Ragnarok is just a whole lot of fun. Waititi proves he can handle the big budget stuff, but makes sure to still inject enough life and Antipodean humour in to make this something unique in the Marvel canon.
Regulars Hemsworth, Ruffalo and Tom Hiddleston are all in great form and what movie isn’t made better by Jeff Goldblum? Blanchett’s Hela, whilst a good change for the actress, falls into the camp of less-than-exciting Marvel villains who can’t quite live up to the standard set by Hiddleston’s Loki.
Thor’s driving force throughout the film is to stop the coming of the dreaded Ragnarok. The end of the world can be a scary thing and if movies teach us anything, it usually involves a lot of explosions (and aliens). But the book of Revelation actually paints a very different picture of the end of the world. There is destruction, and judgement, and a righteous judge appearing before all. But for those who trust in Jesus there is also a hope to long for. The vision of a perfect city, restored without sin awaits those who are in God’s family. They will live in perfect relationship with God forever. If we trust in that, then we really have nothing to fear, even from Ragnarok.
The Verdict: Completely bonkers, and all the better for it, Thor: Ragnarok is easily Thor’s best outing and one of Marvel’s best. A jaunty mix of cosmic colour and witty repartee, it’s the film equivalent to a theme park ride (if you like that kind of thing). 5/5
Thor: Ragnarok is in cinemas now.