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Rob Morris
Rob Morris

Thor: Ragnarok -- Bromance and Action from Marvel

Nov 03, 2017
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Directed by: Taika Waititi

Written by: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARVEL STUDIOS 

Marvel’s first two Thor movies were heavy on the action and drama while going very light on humor. That changes in spectacular fashion in “Thor: Ragnarok”, the third outing for hammer-wielding demi-god from Asgard. Taika Waititi (Flight of the Conchords, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) is at the helm this time around and he takes a page from the very funny (and very successful) Guardians of the Galaxy movies – remember that you’re a comic book movie and don’t take yourself too seriously.

 

That light touch may upset some fans of the genre. But you have to admit that it’s difficult to balance (yet another) end of creation threat by beings of unthinkable power against the fact that your characters are comic book superheroes. There’s plenty of room for action and drama, but as Marvel has done so successfully over the years, you have to allow your actors have a little fun with their characters. I’m looking right at you, DC Comic movie-makers. In the immortal words of “Stripes” Sergeant Hulka, “Lighten up, Francis.”

 

Waititi succeeds with this balancing act in spectacular fashion. Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) monologue that sets up the movie is ripe with comic self-awareness. The son of Odin is on a mission to prevent Ragnarok, a prophecy about the complete destruction of Asgard. The entire opening segment cements this thematic balance between comedy and dramatic action, which Waititi and cast are able to effortlessly carry throughout the rest of the movie.

 

Tom Hiddleston is back as Loki, master of mischief, lounging around the Asgarian palace wearing the outward form of Odin, whom he abandoned on earth at the end of “Thor: Dark World.” Thor confronts Loki (keep your eyes peeled for an uncredited cameo by a Hollywood A-lister that had the audience howling in laughter) and they go in search of Odin. That search is partly successful, but still ends in disaster with the appearance of Hela, the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett). Turns out she’s the older sister of Thor that Odin never mentioned. Banished for a few millennia due to her vicious ambition to conquer the universe, Hela is back in town and it’s not so that she can enjoy some warm and fuzzy sibling time.

 

Hela easily defeats Thor and he ends up crash-landing on the planet Sakaar, which is basically a cosmic garbage dump surrounded by wormholes. There Thor is forced to fight as a gladiator, where his first opponent turns out to be the Hulk(Mark Ruffalo), last scene at the end of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” running away in a Shield jumpjet. With his trademark hair now cut short, the hammerless demi-god must find a way to beat the Hulk in battle, escape from Sakaar, and get back to Asgard to prevent Hela from destroying the kingdom.

 

My guess is that aside from a few surly purists, this go-round with Thor is going to be immensely satisfying. There’s plenty of action to keep everyone satisfied, along with a much-needed boost in comic relief. And of course you’ll find a score of Easter eggs that will tie the movie to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the upcoming Avengers showdown with Thanos. Frankly, the only complaint I have is there’s not enough of Heimdall (Idris Elba). But let’s be honest…can you EVER get enough of Idris Elba?



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