Who knew that what Marvel needed to overcome superhero fatigue was an indie filmmaker from New Zealand?

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok is a raucous, insane, hilarious, visual assault and it's everything superhero films were ever supposed to be.

Waititi is the first director in the Marvel roster who fully delves into the fun side of heroism, Ragnarok is fun and outlandish and hyper-stylised with all the comedy the comics used to have and then some.

Visually, it's a mind-blowing cross between heavy metal album art, 90s PlayStation game Tekken and 80s poster art and - somehow- Michelangelo paintings. The action sequences are slick, quick-moving and bloody, filled with lightning and fire and Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song blaring in the background. It's the definition of badass.

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Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Photo / Supplied
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Photo / Supplied

Through all the big action and effects that Marvel is known for, Waititi does what he does best. While anyone else would've made a film about a death goddess wreaking destruction on an alien planet, Waititi made a film about family, loss, friendship, love and honour, which also happened to have a death goddess and the impending end-of-days.

It's the first time Marvel's really shown the personal side of heroism. It focuses on relationships and throws back to past events in terms of personal memories rather than global-scale events.

The other thing Waititi handles notably well is the film's treatment of women. They're all badass, they all have their own stories and motivations and they're never hyper-sexualised, despite the fact that we do get gratuitous shirtless shots of Thor and even a naked Hulk.

Even the villain Hela is essentially just fighting patriarchal double standards - albeit in the most bloodthirsty way I think we've ever seen a Marvel villain behave.

But it's Waititi's character Korg and the constant flow of Kiwi humour that really breathes life into this franchise.

The whole thing is frankly insane and risky as hell, but it's paid off. The question is: How's Marvel going to top the Waititi effect?

Cast:

Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo

Director:

Taika Waititi

Running Time:

130mins

Rating:

M (violence, offensive language, sex scenes and content that may disturb)

Verdict:

A hilarious, balls-to-the-wall space romp with a tonne of heart.


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