MARIA DUARTE loves the latest episode in the saga of the hammer-wielding super-hero
Thor: Ragnarok (12A), directed by Taika Waititi
PLAYING the hammer-wielding God of Thunder for the fifth time, Chris Hemsworth revealed in recent interviews how he was bored with the character and wanted to shake things up and reinvent him.
Luckily, both Marvel Studios and Thor: Ragnarok’s director, New Zealander Taika Waititi, apparently agree. Taking a leaf out of The Guardians of the Galaxy book has resulted in the most entertaining and hilarious action-packed film in the franchise.
With its tongue set firmly in its cheek, this third Thor adventure shot in Australia plays it for laughs, with killer gags poking fun at the Avengers and the Marvel cinematic empire.
In it, Thor looses his hammer and his long golden hair which, like Samson, leaves him weakened.
But it does lead to him discovering his funny bone instead.
Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, he finds himself in a race against time to return to Asgard to prevent Ragnarok — the “end of days” in Norse mythology — and the destruction of his people at the hands of new villain Hela. She’s played by a deliciously evil Cate Blanchett who, armed with a disturbing antler headpiece, makes an outstanding and formidable foe.
But, stuck on Sakaar, he’s forced by its tyrannical ruler the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum at his most whimsical and surreal) to fight the champion in his gladiatorial games, which turns out to be the Hulk (the wonderful Mark Ruffalo).
Waititi, who also stars in the film, is more accustomed to independent and low-budget features such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople and does a phenomenal job with his stellar A-list cast in delivering a unique and unforgettable standalone Thor film. It’s as comic as it is emotionally engaging as it explores dysfunctional families, sibling rivalries and the destruction of a civilisation.
It also contains some surprising and priceless cameos, while Stan Lee’s obligatory appearance has a point to it for once, and it’s worth staying until the very end of the final credits.
At a time when it feels like we are living our very own Ragnarok Marvel’s best film to date is much-needed escapism.