Third time is a charm as they say, and nothing could be more accurate in the case of Thor: Ragnarok. Directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Flight of the Conchords), the latest instalment in this particular Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise is perhaps the funniest and most accomplished offering yet. Packed full of brilliantly judged gags, the film could easily dethrone Deadpool (Tim Miller, 2016) and become the most loved and by far the funniest MCU production to date. Former stand-up comic Waititi offers an unashamedly fun movie which simply refuses to take itself too seriously. Let loose on the Marvel universe, the New Zealander manages not only to keep the faithful happy, but also bring his own brand of silliness to the proceedings without ever falling into predictable territory.
The action takes place four years after the events of Thor: The Dark World (Alan Taylor, 2013), where we rejoin Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who finds himself imprisoned, and without his hammer, on the other side of the universe on Sakaar, a planet ruled over by the evil Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Though he’s not alone, as he realises another Avenger is also kept prisoner by this tyrannical ruler; Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
Thor must find a way to escape and return to Asgard and rule over his people after his father’s death, and stop Hela (Cate Blanchett) from getting her hands on the throne. Joined by his ever duplicitous brother Loki (Tom Hiddlston), and a former Valkyrie turned mercenary(Tessa Thompson), Thor must stop Hela from subjugating the planet and its inhabitants at all costs.
Writers Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost offer a jubilant comedic screenplay. With hilarious one-liners and faultless slapstick, the writers and director Waititi are able to offer a genuinely gripping narrative. Casting Goldblum as the Flash Gordon-esque camp evil mastermind is nothing short of genius. Doing some of the best “hand acting” since Jurassic Park, Goldblum is mesmeric in every single scene he’s in and when he’s not on screen, you will find yourself wishing he were.
While Hemsworth and Ruffalo play brilliantly off each other, Waititi also puts in an appearance as Korg, a creature made out of rocks which delivers some of the funniest gags of the movie. Blanchett as Hela is a masterclass in villainous overstatement, mocking and scowling at those she feels are inferior to her. Meanwhile Thompson does a great job as the heavy-drinking, ball-breaking Valkyrie, and just to ensure we have a full house – Hiddleston is excellent as the stereotypical untrustworthy Loki, and Anthony Hopkins is as great as ever in the Odin role.
It’s clear to see that the franchise is more than safe in the hands of Waititi, his ability to tell a story which is not only captivating, but also genuinely funny goes to show that the MCU doesn’t need to do solemn in order to be taken seriously. His ability to push all the right buttons is a testament to his directorial skills. A genuinely thrilling and brilliantly well judged offering from Disney and Marvel which is packed to the rim with hilarious cameos and in-jokes. You won’t want to miss this one.
Thor: Ragnarok is released on October 24th.