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Review – Thor: Ragnarok – “A fantastic freewheeling and far out flipping funny fantasy film”

Chris Hemsworth (Rush) returns as Thor in the Marvel hero’s third solo film – Thor: Ragnarok. I say “solo”, but the God of Thunder is again joined by Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager) as his brother, Loki, as well as Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island) as Hulk/Bruce Banner, Idris Elba (Pacific Rim) as Heimdall, and Sir Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) as Odin.

There are also plenty of new faces too, with Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) directing this instalment, Cate Blanchett playing the villain Hela, Jeff Goldblum (The Fly) as mini-villain the Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars, Creed) as Valkyrie, and Karl Urban (Dredd) as henchman Skurge.

After the best Marvel pre-title sequence so far, Thor must do some housekeeping in Asgard, New York and Norway, before he can be launched into a cosmic fantasy film that is an absolute joy.

This narrative heavy lifting could be a chore in any other blockbuster, but in an MCU now full of charming heroes it is exciting and hilarious, and you don’t even notice all the set-up being set up: Thor gets teleported about by Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) while downing a giant self-refilling beer stein, sees an incredibly funny am-dram reenactment of his own life story with some jaw-dropping cameos, and also witnesses Anthony Hopkins’ spot-on Hiddlestone/Loki impression.

If you think it impressive that Waititi can not only smuggle plenty of plot past you – and also make it awesome, you should see how much of a blast he can treat you too when he’s just having fun. And Thor: Ragnarok is total fun. After “Point Break” is jettisoned across the galaxy by Hela – the Goddess of Death, who has seized power in Asgard – he finds himself on a Crayola coloured planet ruled by Goldblum’s Grandmaster and is forced into the life of a gladiator.

After meeting a scene-stealing Waititi himself as loveable rock monster Korg, Thor meet-fights the Hulk. The pair of “friends from work” enjoy an extended bro down, before joining up with Thompson’s alcoholic badass Valkyrie to somehow overthrow the Grandmaster and escape back to Asgard to try and stop Hela.

This is a big blockbuster property, that is somehow both beautifully put together and extremely satisfyingly told, but also feels almost constantly improvised – like a bunch of buddies are making it up in the playground at lunchtime. The chemistry between everybody crackles and zings, and Taika both spins old characters in new and exciting ways, as well as introducing brand new heroes and villains that you will completely fall in love with.

After this many Marvel movies, it should be hard to feel fresh – but Waititi makes Thor the freshest: reinvigorating and reinventing the God of Thunder, as well as revealing some bitter truths about Asgard and Odin’s past. Goldblum Goldblum’s gloriously, Cate is a wonderful scary and crazy goth Queen, Hids looks great in leather trousers, and double threat Ruffalo is both a stellar stressed out Banner and a perfect pure id, brutally honest brick outhouse Hulk.

If he was not already, Thor is about to become your new favourite Avenger in a fantastic freewheeling and far out flipping funny fantasy film that is lightyears better than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Thor: Ragnarok opens in the UK on 24th October 2017 and in the US on 3rd November 2017.

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