‘Thor’oughly entertaining

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Nov 2017 10:39:20


By Farina Salim Quraishi

He comes, he fights and he conquers it all; including our hearts. Putting his most ferocious yet funny foot forward in his 6th outing as Thor, Chris Hemsworth is ‘Thor’oughly fantastic and entertaining. Third time’s definitely a charm for the God of Thunder, who shatters the hyped grimness of the earlier underwhelming editions with nonstop action and laughs. Packed with a ‘Marvel’lous cast, including the likes of Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, and also the new favourite, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Thor: Ragnarok is essentially an overflowing bag of gags and gore (in that order thankfully), which is impossible to look away from.

Set in events post Age of Ultron and Dark World, the heir of Odin, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is still in exile hammering away time and baddies. After a showdown with fire demon Surtur - who prophesies the arrival of Ragnarok - Thor returns to Asgard more due to his recurring dreams of doom than the ominous warning. Back home, Thor is surprised to find the austere kingdom making merry, with Loki statues and homages reigning supreme!

Thor soon finds that Loki has been impersonating as their father (Anthony Hopkins), after banishing Odin to earth. Back on earth to retrieve him, the brothers find Odin as he is breathing his last fearing the worst for Asgard. For, it has been Odin’s mortal body which kept his over-ambitious first-born Hela (Cate Blanchett) in captivity. True to Odin’s worst fears, Hela appears soon after and crushes Thor’s mighty hammer like a tissue, before tossing Thor and Loki in the realms of death.

Even as Hela begins to conquer Asgard, Thor survives and finds himself on a dump-yard-of-a-planet Sakaar. Taken captive by alcohol-guzzling Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Thor is later sold as a slave to Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). While looking for ways to freedom, Thor can’t wait for the gladiatorial contest of champions, all the while thinking of a way to put together his team of ‘Revengers’ to take down Hela.

Among the many things new in the MCU’s pet franchise, is its standout crackling humour, in addition to strong performances, amazing action sequences and the insanely colourful cinematography. Thor breaks the all-too ‘serious’ smugness that weighs down most superhero movies in Thor: Ragnarok . For much of its 130 minute-run, the film refuses to take itself seriously and has an unending supply to ROFL wisecracks. So alright Robert Downey Jr is still the top draw in the humour, but make no mistake, Director Taika Waititi’s Thor will make you chuckle more than you can care to count! Just check out the sequence wherein before a face-off with Hulk, Thor refers to the green giant as ‘A Friend from Work’ or the portion of starting a spaceship with ‘Strongest Avenger’ password!

While the bruising bromance between Thor and Hulk fuels the quirky fires, the fraternal sparring between Thor and Loki is really the heart of the movie. The action is grander than ever and thunders down relentlessly, much to the delight of fans. The finale fight, a dizzying blur of brawn and blood, will satiate even the most avid action aficionado.
Though Thor is unconventional and unformulaic (despite the threat of Apocalypse), the story and the baddies are of the standard superhero order. The plot is weak and only works up to the return of the prodigal daughter for vengeance. Also, the action-set pieces are one too many, the delightful yet unnecessary cameo of Dr Strange being the most glaring one. But these are mere surface shortcomings in the otherwise the boldest and most bashful Marvel addition.

No one really doubted Cate Blanchett’s talent for vileness after the Oscar-winner was announced as the Thor villain! And in true form, the gifted actress as the gothy Hela is malevolent and magical in equal measure. Dressed in form-fitting Black with spiky antlers, she’s the Maleficent of Norse! Her special talent of skewering her opponents with knives, notwithstanding, Blanchett has brought shades of black into her hardball character making it connect!

And if you thought Hemsworth was glorious with his golden locks, wait until you see his brutal buzz-cut on 70-mm screen! Chiseled to steely perfection, the snazzy hair-cut makes him truly droolicious! Hemsworth blends in playfulness and toughness in his fleshed-out character perfectly and is an embodiment of ‘God with feet of clay’! Those who doubted his comic stint in Ghostbusters need to see Thor: Ragnarok to know better! Also, after being subjected to years of grunting from Hulk, it was pure joy to hear the taciturn green giant string together rudimentary sentences, which are as funny but few. A fan favourite, Tom Hiddleston as Loki nails it as a bad boy unable to resist the temptation of deception. Given the fact that he’s now mastered sly smiles and unreliable eyes, it’s little wonder that everyone loves to hate him!

Jeff Goldblum as the hedonist Grandmaster - who likes his slaves to be addressed as prisoners with jobs - is delightful as the eccentric dictator. Rock monster, Korg (voiced wonderfully by Taika) brings the house down with his dim-witted conclusions, while new addition, Tessa Thompson - sporting a serious swag -fits right in! So as the pompous God of Thunder trades in the gruff for the goof, seriousness for sauciness in Thor: Ragnarok, brace yourself for a bright and colourful ride and be sure it’s going to be a hilarious one.

The Hitavada Rating: