Movie Review: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Is a Winner and May Be Marvel’s Funniest Movie Yet
In the Marvel Universe, there is an ongoing theme: A hero’s work is never done. Thor, arguably the greatest warrior and son of Odin, has made it his life’s mission over the years to save the universe from plunging into complete annihilation. In Thor: Ragnarok, it is once again up to the God of Thunder — this time to save his beloved home, Asgard. It is a family endeavor with the on-again, off-again help from his mischievous brother Loki — likably revisited by Tom Hiddleston.
They band together against the wrath of their sister Hela aka God of Death. She wakes up her army with a flicker of the eternal flame. Cate Blanchett as Hela is deliciously evil, with jet black hair that turns into a crown of pointy antlers when she smooths it back. She has stripped Thor of his trusty hammer, shattering it like glass and rendering him defenseless — at least until he finds his true powers. On paper, this appears to be a daunting task, but screenwriters Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost have comically tapped into the implausible zeitgeist and created a story in which the characters themselves make jokes about their seemingly impossible situations. There are laugh-out-loud moments combining the comic book world with a wink to the real and contemporary world. Chris Hemsworth as a newly coiffed Thor beefs up the cheeky humor with his penchant for comedic timing. “So much has happened since I last saw you,” Thor says breaking the fourth wall, looking directly into the camera. Already, we know we’re in for something completely different. Thor winds up on some foreign planet but is rescued by a drunken savior, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), who arrives in a cool ride — courtesy of the outstanding special-effects team. Implanting a chip, she is able to control Thor with a clicker that shocks him into powerlessness. It turns out Thor is her new warrior recruit for the maniacal Grandmaster, portrayed with kooky aplomb by Jeff Goldblum, for a gladiator-style game show. The film was directed by performer and comedian Taika Waititi, who used those talents to bring out the humor in otherwise serious actors. Waititi also has a turn as the voice of Korg — from the Planet Hulk animated series — who is one of the imprisoned contestants with the voice of reason. His amiable New Zealand accent coming out of a man made of rocks is amusing, to say the least. What also makes Thor: Ragnarok such fun to watch is the Marvel Avengers relatives Thor encounters along the way, including Doctor Strange and the Hulk/Bruce Banner, who help him get home a la The Wizard of Oz. Mark Ruffalo as Banner also gets to try out some comedic repartee with Hemsworth. You might say Thor: Ragnarok brings a healthy dose of much-needed humor to the otherwise weighty, heroic Marvel Universe. Make sure you stay through the credits for a snippet of what’s to come next for Thor in Avengers: Infinity War. Thor: Ragnarok opens Nov. 3 nationwide.
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