Thor: Ragnorok 2016 ****

The regular reader of this blog will recognise that there’s few franchise films; no Avengers, just a few superhero films, no James Bond, a couple of Star Wars spin-offs; what we’re looking for is unknown or known but underrated films that are worth bring to people’s attention. That’s not so say we’re immune to the charms of a good superhero movie, with Sam Raimi’s original Spiderman and Iron Man 3 coming to mind as good examples of the form. Taika Waititi has made such a good name for himself as the director of Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do In The Shadows, that it seemed inevitable that he would add value to the standard Marvel package, and so it proved with Thor: Ragnorok, a great-looking, funny and consistently amusing package that puts most Marvel entries to shame. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is stranded on a distant planet with only the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) for company. It seems like they’re destined to battle it out in the ring as the playthings of Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), but Valkerie (Tessa Thompson) is on hand to help them out and to raise an army to fight the forces of Hela (Cate Blanchett). There’s also well-timed cameos from Matt Damon, Anthony Hopkins, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), always the MVP of the Thor franchise. Waititi gets comedy, and the dialogue has plenty of funny moments, but he also conjures up a thunderous score and some real hallucinogenic visuals in the style of 1980’s Flash Gordon. You don’t have to be following the on-going plotlines to enjoy Thor; Ragnorok; it’s a good example of a comic-book movie that’s not just for fanboys.


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