Review: Thor Ragnarok is wall-to-wall fun

It's hammer time - Thor's back. 

Unless you've been living under a (Ragna)rock on a desert island communicating only by Norse Code (urrrm), you'll already know that this Thor is unlike any Thor before him.

I am very relieved to report that the cinematic universe is a far better place for it.

It's hard not to call this Thor our own. When you settle into a massive Marvel superhero blockbuster knowing it's directed by the current reigning New Zealander of the year (a title he already deserved but continues to deserve even more with each passing day), we are already on board; it would be unpatriotic not to be, right?

But flag-waving nationalistic allegiance to the silver fern and all things Kiwi aside, it's not because our hometown kid done good that will give Thor: Ragnarok the edge for New Zealand audiences, it's because he delivers his enormous storytelling talents and his inimitable and incisive take on our Kiwi humour to the world, and by crikey it's funny.

A few things to note about the plot of Ragnarok; for a start, it pays to keep up. The pace is fast, the delivery is cosmically psychedelic and action-packed and only multiple viewings will fully ensure maximum intake of all the jokes and in-jokes. 

Central to the story is of course Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his friend from work, Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Their bromance is mined for maximum laughs, especially when Bruce Banner is around.

Let's not forget too Thor's love/hate relationship with his (adopted) brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who also joins this Waititi fray.

But the boys and their petty squabbles fade into obscurity when all Hela breaks loose; the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett) wants to bring that death and destruction to all of Asgard and certainly won't be tolerating any lip from the God of Thunder.

In fact, let me talk about the Women of Thor for just a minute, for they are serious talking points. Blanchett's Hela is Marvel's first lead female villain and this Killer Queen is all business, all of the time.

She's ruthless, remorseless and rarely takes prisoners. And when she recruits her executioner Skurge (Karl Urban) to carry out her killing it's hard not to exclaim, "SHIT JUST GOT REAL!"

Taika Waititi's Thor Ragnarok five star review.
Photo credit: Marvel

Our second major talking point is Tessa Thompson as Valkerie. I won't say much about her story apart from any time she's not on screen scowling and kicking serious butt I am already waiting for her to return. She's more than a match if not more so for Thor and praise be her upcoming inclusion in Avengers: Infinity War.

Along with Hela and Valkerie there is another addition to the MCU here, and his name is Korg. Taika casts himself as a mountain of rocks who works as a gladiatorial warm-up act for Thor. And if you think he looks funny enough, wait until he opens his mouth.

Now I refuse to let this review pass by without mention of one of the stand-out highlights of Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok – Jeff Goldblum. A goodly chunk of this story unfolds on the crazy planet Sakaar  and thank the Norse Gods for that. It means we get to spend a tonne of time with Goldblums' Grandmaster; his every look, his every line of dialogue is just pure, unadulterated Goldblum.

What this Thor is, is just wall-to-wall fun - big screen blockbuster superhero escapism, Marvel merriment delivered directly into the heart of the mainstream multiplex through the Taiki Waititi Kaleidoscope.   

If there is one movie this year I need to see the DVD extras of RIGHT NOW it's this one. And if Ragnarok means 'the end of everything', I'd argue the exact opposite - this feels much more like the start of everything to me. And bring it on!

Five stars.

* Thor: Ragnarok opens in New Zealand cinemas on October 26.

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