The first two Thor solo adventures are in no way bad films, but there is an argument for them being the worst parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is 17 films deep, with no end in sight. So when it was announced that there would be a third film centred on the God of Thunder, many were quick to overlook the film in favour of "Captain America: Civil War" and "Avengers: Infinity War." But on the third time lucky, we have finally been delivered the most entertaining Thor film yet.

The film is primarily based in Asgard and on a new planet named Sakaar, which takes inspiration from the popular Planet Hulk storyline from the comic books.

It is here where the majority of the story takes place, with Thor and his “resurrected” brother Loki fighting to return to Asgard in order to stop the Goddess of Death, Hela, from taking over the realm. It is here that we finally see what the Hulk has been up to since the events of the last Avengers film, and meet a fellow Asgardian named Valkyrie.

Journey to Planet Hulk

Seeing Thor in an environment apart from Earth provides a much more refreshing insight into the character. Previous films have made the mistake in thinking that they could make Thor more relatable by having him interact with human characters, but Thor doesn’t have to be relatable. He’s a hammer-wielding God with the power of lightning and talks as if he is straight out of a Shakespearian novel, so witnessing him interact with characters in gladiatorial combat on an alien planet is a much more entertaining prospect, which ultimately delivers.

"Thor: Ragnarok" features an ensemble cast with Chris Hemsworth starring as Thor. Hemsworth possesses an extremely funny personality, with previous roles in "The Cabin in the Woods" and "Ghostbusters" demonstrating his comedic ability, so being able to see him finally bring his talent to the character of Thor is extremely refreshing for the franchise.

Tom Hiddleston also returns as the mischievous Loki whilst Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba reprise their roles as Odin and Heimdall.

However, some of the stand out performances come from new characters in the franchise, such as Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, who turns out to be an alcoholic Asgardian who has turned her back on her previous life.

Whilst her character arc is very predictable, its great to see a new, interesting performance of an Asgardian that diverts away from the Shakespearian stereotype we have been presented with before.

Obviously, it is impossible to talk about this movie without mentioning the return of Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk. Surprisingly, we see much more of the Hulk in this film than any other film that he has been present in thus far, with his alter ego Bruce Banner taking a back seat. Having an articulate Hulk provides some of the film’s funniest moments and the MCU’s CGI motion capture is as flawless an ever. However, whilst watching the introduction of the Hulk, I couldn’t help but wonder what if his presence in the film had been kept out of the marketing material for the film.

This surely would have given us the biggest surprise in the MCU to date and would have enormously increased our excitement levels during the viewing. In spite of this, I understand that it is very difficult for big-budget films to take such risks, with the presence of the Hulk in the trailers probably bringing in a lot of viewers. Despite this, there is the presence of a surprise character that will be sure to please the MCU fans.

An infamous problem with the MCU over the years has been its weak, largely forgettable villains, which disappointingly hasn’t been fully addressed with Cate Blanchett’s Hela. Whilst Blanchett delivers her usual best, for a large portion of the film she is either used as an exposition mouthpiece or an unstoppable, killing machine.

Whilst entertaining, I can’t see myself remembering her as the best part of this film in the future. Jeff Goldblum also stars as, well, Jeff Goldblum. As the minor villain, the Grandmaster, we arguably have a more interesting villain than Hela, as his interactions with Thor and Loki and his control over the planet of Sakaar provide some of the most hilarious scenes in the film. In the same way as Hela though, I can’t see myself remembering his character in the long term.

Who knew the end of the world would be so funny?

Taika Waititi takes the helm of "Thor: Ragnarok" in arguably his biggest film to date, and his fingerprints are evidently all over this film. The 80s aesthetic and score are the real stars of the movie, providing an exciting, fun experience that hasn’t been present in a Thor film before.

It’s also great to see Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” from the trailers actually being used in the movie, which helps to heighten the frenzy and hysteria of the action scenes.

Ragnarok’s gags are the highest points of the film, keeping a constant smile on my face throughout. Giving a small anecdote about my viewing experience, I actually went to see the film with my girlfriend who has a minimal interest in films. So when I dragged her along with me, I was not optimistic that she would have an enjoyable experience, especially as she has not seen any others MCU films. So imagine my surprise when she was constantly laughing out loud throughout the film and asked me afterward whether the other films in the series are as good as that?

Therefore, Waititi must be praised for being able to make the MCU’s most “boring” character entertaining for those who have no interest in superhero films whatsoever. That is the highest compliment I can possibly give.

Apart from the film’s forgettable villains, my only other criticism actually corresponds with the film’s title. Ragnarok is the Norse interpretation of the end of the world and the death of the Gods, and involves the fire giant Surtr setting Asgard and the Bifrost on fire. Taking this into account, the film has every right to be serious in nature, with the end of the world and the potential death of Thor being no laughing matter. Instead, the whole story of Ragnarok takes a back seat in the film, with a lot of its plot being made fun of instead of being taken seriously.

Don’t get me wrong, I would bite your hand off for a comedic Thor flick instead of the serious, dull affairs that have come before, but this shouldn’t have been titled Ragnarok, as many diehard Thor fans who have an avid interest in the Ragnarok storyline from the comic books will be let down by how the story is treated in the movie. If anything, this is a Planet Hulk movie, with all the events taking place on Sakaar proving to be much more interesting and entertaining than anything that is happening in Asgard.

Final verdict

Thor: Ragnarok is easily the best out of the three Thor movies thus far, proving to be a hit among diehard MCU fans and newcomers to the series. The chemistry between Thor, Loki, Hulk and Valkyrie is excellent and I hope this isn’t the last we see of #TeamThor.

Whilst the Ragnarok storyline definitely takes a backseat to the events on Sakaar and the villains are again, mostly forgettable, this film is definitely worthy of lifting Thor’s mighty hammer.

Rating: 8/10