Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok ★★★★

Reviewed on Cinema Eclectica.

Maybe Marvel franchises are always at their best when they're following up an indifferent second instalment? (Over to you, Avengers: Infinity War) Just as Shane Black's Iron Man 3 reached the series-destroying conclusion that Tony Stark's superhero persona wasn't relevant to who he was, Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok begins with the heir apparent to the Asgard throne chained up and exiled, then contrives to put him in a series of even less dignified situations. Stripping away Thor's pomp and circumstance proves a liberation for Chris Hemsworth, who plays delightfully off all his sparring partners: Mark Ruffalo's grouchy Hulk, Cate Blanchett's slinky-kinky Hela, Tessa Thompson's hard-drinking and utterly lovable Valkyrie, Jeff Goldblum's Jeff Goldblum.

If there is a problem, it's that the originality of Waititi's comic voice doesn't quite filter down to the visuals. There are some wonderfully idiosyncratic costumes, sets, props and weird beasties, but perhaps the sheer amount of second-unit and SFX shots mean they can't be shot in a comparably unusual way. The scene where Valkyrie decides to hang half-out of her spaceship and get drunk made me wish for a Brazil-mode Terry Gilliam to come along and give all these wonderful visual geegaws a true sense of scale and majesty. Otherwise, this is easily one of the most entertaining Marvel movies to date, and another feather in Waititi's already impressively plumed cap.

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