Main Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett and Tom Hiddleston
Running Time: 130 mins
Take one Kiwi indie director, a couple of big Australian stars, some Shakespearian actors, some rather quirky Americans and a tired franchise and what have you got?
Well, in the case of Thor Ragnarok, lightning in a bottle or, in other words, probably the funniest, silliest, most original and best Marvel movie yet.
On the surface asking one of the quirkiest independent movie directors in the world to take the helm of the third Thor movie was a bit of a gamble.
Letting him film it at the other end of the planet (the Gold Coast) away from Marvel headquarters was an even bigger one.
And yet it paid off and how – and the best bit is that Marvel didn’t try to change his vision instead they let current New Zealander of the year Taika Waititi make a Taika Waititi movie (What We Do In the Shadows and Hunt For The Wilderpeople) with all the Marvel bells, whistles and budget.
This time around Asgard is under threat and Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his hammer and to escape and save his home world he must fight his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk.
Thor Ragnarok is funny, unapologetically so, and Chris Hemsworth is at his best showing that his comic timing from Ghostbusters (where he upstaged four comedians) was no accident.
But it has a serious and heart-warming underbelly which is never lost in the humour.
Add to that the fact that Waititi has assembled a pretty impressive cast including Cate Blanchett as the Goddess of Death (Marvel’s female super bad) – the big sister that Thor never knew he had and, quite frankly, never wanted, Tom Hiddleston as his meddlesome little brother Loki, the scene stealing Tessa Thompson as the drunken Valkyrie, a hero turned bounty hunter, and the amazing Jeff Goldblum at his most Jeff Goldblummiest.
Of course, the funniest part of the entire movie is Waititi himself as the incredibly Kiwi alien rock-monster Korg though it’s hard to pick a weak link in this little gem of a movie.
Well-paced, fun and heartful – if there was such a thing as the perfect Marvel movie then this one is pretty darn close.
– Tania Phillips