“We’ll drive our ships to new lands, to fight the horde and sing and cry Valhalla I am coming! Ah-aahhh, ah!”
Robert Plant’s screech perfectly sets the tone for the God of Thunder’s third outing. Ragnarok is a very much needed fresh take on Thor, dispelling the boredom of Dark World to the realms of Jotunheim. Now well into Phase 3, Marvel are preparing for the arrival of Thanos in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, which surely means a lot of doom and gloom. So why not lighten it up first...
The trailers – which of course featured Led Zeppelin’s iconic Immigrant Song - teased a glorious amalgamation of 80s retro cliché – dazzling colours, electronic music, and plenty of slo-mo. And boy does it deliver!
The playful and humorous spirit of Ragnarok is set right from the get-go. Dangling from a chain, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) continuously interrupts demon Surtur's supposed-to-be-menacing monologue, before finding himself in a delightfully funny showdown with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) disguised as Odin – also watch out for some absolutely hilarious cameos.
But the story itself isn’t as light as you’d expect. Ragnorok – a concept that has its origins anchored in Norse mythology – is literally the end of days; foretelling the demise of Odin, Asgard, and genocide on a biblical scale. Cate Blanchett's Hela aka The Goddess of Death is here to deliver said prophecy, but before Thor and Loki can stop her, she hurls them from the Bifrost and straight onto the colourful planet Sakaar, a Luc Besson-esque world ruled by The Grandmaster (a delightful Jeff Goldblum). And this is where the real fun begins.
The laughs are plentiful and coming thick and fast, but without entirely degrading the whole affair into farce. Ragnarok is truly a shining example of exactly what a blockbuster Marvel film should be. It is far removed from its two darker predecessors, but still recognisably 'Thor'. Hemsworth has really settled into the role, and is entire comfortable within this fresh humour approach. Hiddleston, equally, is on fire, and shares some great banter and sight gags with Hemsworth. Also along for the ride is Mark Ruffalo's Hulk, whose entrance elicits perhaps the biggest laugh of the film from Hemsworth.
And the two Marvel newbies Jeff Goldblum and Cate Blanchett are welcome additions to the MCU. Goldblum was simply born to play The Grandmaster, and couldn't get any more Goldblum-y if he tried. Blanchett is wonderful, clearly relishing her opportunity to play the baddie. Elsewhere, there are some great stand-out characters. Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie threatens to steal Blanchett's thunder at times, and look out for the superb Korg, a rock-like gladiator voiced by director Taika Waititi.
Ragnarok is one of the finest entries into the ever-expanding MCU, and has it all – fire demons, a giant wolf, zombies, the Goddess of Death, and Bruce Banner uttering the line "Guys, we're coming up on the Devil's Anus" without batting an eyelid. Now what more could you ask for!
The best offering from Marvel so far. If you can, see it on the largest screen you can find - and in 3D!