MOVIE: THOR: RAGNAROK
STARRING: CHRIS HEMSWORTH; CATE BLANCHETT; TOM HIDDLESTON; TESSA THOMPSON
DIRECTED BY: TAIKA WAITITI
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
I thought the comedic side of the Marvel universe was limited to the Guardians of the Galaxy? Step aside Rocket, because Thor has a sense of humor. In the original comics, the story of Ragnarok was a violent, sweaty, and bloody battle for the God of Thunder, where he struggles to save his people. Since that type of darkness isn't always the Disney way, Thor: Ragnarok brilliantly has the mind of Taika Waititi to inject his comedic style instead. With Chris Hemsworth returning as the golden haired hammer thrower, in a narrative mixture of part warriors journey and buddy comedy, Thor: Ragnarok is a vibrant adventure that fans will love.
There are multiple reasons to why I enjoyed the newest installment to the Thor movie collection, but it's extremely fun to watch Chris Hemsworth come into his own. The Australian star has his ups and downs, with successful work in a film like Rush and a box-office failure like Blackhat. Ragnarok, however, opens with one of the cooler Marvel intros, with our hero wrapped in chains, held by the evil horned demon Surtur. Thor's goal is to defeat his enemies and find out why earlier in The Avengers: Age of Ultron (if you don't remember), that he was having visions of his peoples destruction. Of course, he can't defeat the bad guy too fast, not without a few good laughs, then defeating a swarm of evil minions. The visuals of this battle are phenomenal, set to the tune of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, which is a tone setter of what's to follow. The score and soundtrack are straight up awesome.
Thor returns to Asgard to find his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) posing as Oden (Anthony Hopkins). Waititi and writers Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost deliver loads of laughs and introduce us to evil third sibling Hela (Cate Blanchett displaying her excellence in wickedness). She has returned to get revenge, rule over the kingdom, and cast out Thor in the process. His story becomes a heroes journey back, where he must survive the world of Sakaar, run by a string pulling, throne sitting man called the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). It's here where warriors are forced to fight to the death, much like Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome or Ridley Scott's Gladiator. The surprise is that the person Thor must defeat turns out to be the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), in a scene that's one of the best in the Marvel movie history. It's a unique mixture of laughs, seat shaking action, and grand spectacle.
Typically, Marvel movies in the past have used directors that seem as guns for hire, where the material is more important than the auteur. That's not the case for Waititi. If you've seen his past films Hunt for the Wilderpeople or What We Do in the Shadows, you know the New Zealand director is excellent at making us laugh, but also brings a unique brand of humor. There's a witty friendship between Hulk and Thor, but when he throws into the mix the fierce Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) in the middle of the two, it becomes just like an intergalactic version of the relationship Harry, Hermione, and Ron had in the Harry Potter films. And I mean that in a good way!
Most superhero movies build up to the climactic battle where the superhero must defeat the bad guy in the end, and there's plenty of that in Thor: Ragnarok, but it's pure fun in the process. The performances from Blanchett and Goldblum are scene stealing good, while Hemsworth grows more confident with each Thor installment. I felt a bit of the length and I wanted more action sequences, but the direction by Waititi is still fresh and carefree. That is something we don't get enough of in movies. Thor: Ragnarok is the kind of movie you watch on multiple occasions and you laugh a bit more every time you see it. These Thor adventures really know how to (Ragna)rock!
Written by: Leo Brady