|Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Hulk (Marvel Studios)|
MOVIE REVIEWConsidering all of Marvel Comics characters, Thor and The Hulk are my two least favorite movie franchises. The studio has yet to make an enjoyable Hulk standalone film (and probably won’t at this point) and the first two Thor movies were convoluted, overly serious and confusing. With that said, I love how Marvel has allowed Chris Hemsworth’s natural comic timing to take root in the past Avengers films and Mark Ruffalo is the best Bruce Banner. Even so, my movie screening partner told me as we were walking in that this was one of those movies that he would usually wait for it to come on DVD rather than see it on the big screen. However, we were wrong.
While overly long and just as chaotic as ever, Thor: Ragnarok is a blast. With most of the story based on other planets, Marvel put together a popcorn movie that looks and feels like it was ripped from the pages of comic book. It’s bright, colorful and very funny. The villains are either over-the-top funny or deliciously evil and while it wasn’t necessary to the story, a few surprise characters pop up in the story as well.
|Cate Blanchett as Hela. (Marvel Studios)|
After a scene where Thor (Hemsworth) is battling his demons … literally, demons … Thor comes back home to Asgard to find his father (Anthony Hopkins) missing, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) honored with statues and dramatic performances sharing of Loki's (false) heroic nature, his hammer (which he loves more than anything) missing and the revelation that he has an older sister he never knew existed. Hela, aka the goddess of death (Cate Blanchett), was the king’s first born child who apparently got too big for her britches and had to be contained. Now she has been freed and is ready to make up for lost time. She doesn't have much time to celebrate a family reunion since she believes that she is the rightful heir to the kingdom. But while the townsfolk aren’t too thrilled with her arrival, she is Hela-bent on making sweeping changes.
Before Thor and Loki can band together to remove their sister, they are thrown into another mysterious land known as Sakaar which appears to be built with other planet’s garbage and ruled by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). This has got to be one of Goldblum's best roles ever. His snarky brand of humor is perfect for the role as an overzealous tyrant of a leader who lives to please himself at the expense of others.
Thor soon finds that he is sent to a coliseum of sorts to fight to the death against a local hero … The Hulk! Thor is thrilled to see his old “work buddy” but Hulk doesn’t seem to recognize the god of thunder and so the battle begins. So, essentially, Thor has to find a way to stay alive in order to get back home and save his planet from his older sister with the help from Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) who is sort of Hulk’s trainer and servant to the Grandmaster. There is a lot going on here and in the grand tradition of the Marvel movies that come before it, things get really bad (lots of explosions and toppling of buildings) before they get better.
|Jeff Goldblum in his best role yet. (Marvel Studios)|
Thor: Ragnarok is rated PG-13, but honestly, if your little Thor enjoyed and could handle the first two Thor movies, then they should be able to sit through this one just fine. Foul language is at a minimum, the violence is cartoon-like and there is very little blood, if any. The film even has a few redeeming messages about the friendship too. Finally, it should be said that it is refreshing to watch a superhero movies where the heroes never waver or sulk or just sit around being moody. They don’t hesitate to risk their lives for the sake of the others because that’s what heroes do.