by Ian Morton
Bridging the gap to its past while attempting to stand on its own, Thor: Ragnarok is a riotously fun trip back to Asgard that has an interesting story, great use of characters and a truly infectious sense of humour.
Returning to Asgard following a quest to seek out the infamous infinity stones, Thor and his estranged brother Loki find themselves at each others side once more to take down the big-bad, Hela. Managing to escape an initial confrontation, the bickering siblings soon find themselves discovering new friends and battling old allies in a bid to escape the hostile planet of Sakaar and save their homeland from extinction.
Seemingly taking inspiration from fellow marvel director James Gunn, Taika Waititi manages to blend a nostalgic, almost retro blend of glam rock with his own personal sense of humour. Armed with a truly unique sense of comic timing and a gloriously likable cast, the New Zealand based director manages to bring us one of the best standalone entries in the Marvel Universe as well as end the Thor trilogy on high.
Wasting no time, the film sets off at a ferocious pace, setting the tone early with a hilarious opening monologue whilst laying the foundation for what’s to come. Thriving and benefiting from this new direction, the story ploughs on, resulting in a lack of narrative depth in a way that’s oddly beneficial to its enjoyment. By triple jumping its links to the past, it allows Waititi to start fresh early on, resulting in a film made fully in his image rather than having to unwind the boggy ‘Dark World’ the previous installment left behind.
In terms of story, things are fairly rinse ‘n’ repeat with regards to the now classic Marvel template; the opening act brings us up to speed, the second gives us a hurdle to overcome, while the third rocks a battle scene that wraps it all up nicely. True, it may not necessarily be perfect and there are some pacing issues as we move from one act to the next but thankfully the comedy is more than enough to to see you through.
Most of Ragnarok’s success however comes from the nurtured and loving banter between the main cast. Taking advantage of Waititi’s signature style, Chris Hemsworth and the rest of the avengers gang thrive within the improv-based working atmosphere with great effect. While it’s always good to see these fan favourites on screen, the added touch of comedy remind you why you fell in love with them in the first place.
As Marvel start to wrap things up heading into the Infinity War double, it’s good to see that these films can still be given fresh vigour in light of its ever expanding back catalogue! With seemingly fresh faced directors such as Waititi behind the scenes, the future certainly looks like good fun, even if it doesn’t roam too far from the template! 4 out of 5 stars!
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