‘Thor: Ragnarok’- Enchanting effects and rib-tickling humour thankfully overshadow the story

As we settle down on our seats in the cinema hall, girding up the loins for what’s set to be showcased on the big screen and sporting a charcoal-black 3D glass, there’s an uncanny sense of exhilaration that engulfs the air. Maybe it’s just the repercussions of the build-up to the release. Nevertheless, as we sit through an adventure through Taika Waititi’s lens over the next two hours or so, not once does the exhilaration dip. Mind you, no exaggerations there, for Thor: Ragnarok really does whip up a storm that leaves you berserk even long after the end credits roll. Staged directly after the events of Ultron from two years ago, Thor is caught up in the dark, dystopian universe of Sakaar whereas the evil shadow of Hela, the self-proclaimed Goddess of Death, looms large on the kingdom of Asgard. The onus is now on the God of Thunder to protect his people from the colossal damage that she causes. Though this superhero-supervilllain face-off narrative reeks monotony, don’t be mislead, for there’s a lot to digest here. Ragnarok introduces numerous new faces – Taika Waititi’s rocky character Korg, Skurge The Executioner, cheeky and impudent Valkyrie, indulgent Grandmaster – all of which add their own eccentric touch to the narration. They all may not be the strongest characters but are a delight to watch. Hela’s dramatised body language and dialogue delivery is scary to the point of laughter while Hulk’s innocent oblivion is too adorable to ignore. Thor is his own self, wavering between confidence and making a fool of himself, vaguely reminiscent of Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy series. And not to forget how hot he looks when he goes shirtless! And behold, as Benedict Cumberbatch makes his entry as Doctor Strange, guarding planet Earth from dangers of the other realms. His encounter with the Asgardian brothers leaves you in fits of laughter! The characters and dialogues (and the VFX undoubtedly, which we will come to next) win it for this one more than the story. Humour here is hidden in the conversations, weaving them subtly with the previous Marvel flicks in a way that the movie appears to be so connected, yet having no relation to the earlier flicks. Also, this one’s perhaps one of the few films that’s entirely made on green screen. Such is the scale of its visual effects. Right from the first scene to the last, the movie tugs at your ocular nerves with some spell-binding visuals- two particularly being of Fenris Wolf and Surtur (which reminds us of Moana’s Demon Teka) in which you’re almost thrown off your seat. Other beautifully created VFX scenes include- Thor’s battle with Surtur and his army, Thor and Loki being thrown off into Sakaar, the landscape of Sakaar, Grandmaster’s main tower with gladiator faces, battle arena sequence and the climax sequence. Industrial Light and Magic, Framestore, Double Negative, Digital Domain, Rising Sun Pictures, Luma Pictures, Method Studios, Image Engine, Iloura, Trixter and Craft Apes have all weighed in with the animation and effects. No wonder the impeccability. Led Zeppelin’s hair-raising Immigrant Song that tugged at our chords while watching the trailer is one background score that stands out the most, making the war cooler and adding swag to the action sequences. Though the story has no substance and nothing of significance that may connect with the Infinity War, with Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel has truly upped its game and also laid down the gauntlet to its DC counterparts, who are gearing up with a league of their own. But until then, one cannot help but deliberate about the latest events in the MCU and the road that it has paved for an epic war that’s lurking around the corner. Verdict: Unmissable! Directed by Taika Waititi and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios, Thor: Ragnarok will hammer his way in theatres on 3 November 2017. (This review has been jointly written by Sachin Bhat and Anshita Bhatt)