Taika Waititi, helming this latest addition to the Marvel and Thor cinematic worlds has more or less done away with most of what has come before. Thor and the supporting characters are almost indistinguishable from their previous appearances: Gone are the serious tones and the weight and in come levity and a large amount of humour. And I have to say, for me, it totally worked.
When the only thing keeping the Goddess of Death at bay from the peaceful people of Asgard is taken away, a cruel and ambitious warrior returns to claim her place on the throne of the Gods and is willing to take over more than just the 9 Realms by any means.
Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the titular God of Thunder and in this he has found a new lease of life and is allowed to show a great deal more personality here than he has been allowed to in the past. Having read Neil Gaiman‘s Norse Mythologies recently my understanding of the Norse Gods and some of the stories surrounding their adventures has been greatly increased. Thor is just as much of a mischief (or trouble) maker as Loki (ok, he isn’t quite that much, but he does enjoy his jests and tricks!) and gets into all manner of scrapes. The tone that I got from those stories is, I think, replicated really well in this film, much more so than the previous two. As a minor downside with the lighter tone it sometimes doesn’t feel like the action and threat are maybe quite as serious as they should be. However the action sequences are breathtaking at times, with the arena battle being my personal favourite.
Cate Blanchett is absolutely awesome as Hela, Odin’s eldest child and the Goddess of Death. She is powerful, imposing and with serious attitude and to top it all off she totally looks amazing, she just comes in and completely takes over. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) plays a major part in this and he is allowed to some some emotion and humour. Karl Urban has a great little role as Skurge. Idris Elba gets to do more than stand around with a great big sword in his hands in this one, he actually gets to swing it, and swing it he does! Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie) is another character who has bundles of personality and no small amount of kick-ass-ness. Mark Ruffalo is released from his Hulk cage for a little bit and gets to show his face but the most part he is the big green guy, smashing things as is his wont. Last but not least, Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster (ably supported by Rachel House’s Topaz) is a strange choice as leader of Sakaar, but he does his bit and is affably over the top, camp and entertaining to watch. As much as I loved Taika’s appearance as Korg, and he does provide a great deal of humour in his own inimitable style, it does get a bit much towards the end, it would have been nice to see a slightly different side to him, even for a little bit.
Gorgeous to look at, there is a great glut of colour splashed across almost every frame (although still not as fantastic looking as the Guardians of the Galaxy films), the effects look great as you would expect from a Marvel production and a great big budget. The score and music work ok, the repeated Immigrant Song (aah, aah, aaaaaaaah, aaah!) gave the sequences/scenes where it cropped up some impetus and weight, and it was needed at times to cut through the laughter.
I throughly enjoyed this, it is right up there with Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2 for fun and visual style and is a clear leader of the Thor films. Speaking of the previous two films (Thor and Thor: The Dark World), I have to say that I actually really like them. OK they may not be the best films in the Marvel stable but they are entertaining and they have some hugely redeeming features: Tom H’s Loki for one and, of course, Thor himself (by far my favourite character in the MCU) and Anthony Hopkins is also a great choice for the All Father, Odin.
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆