By Bradley Griffith
“Thor: Ragnarok” is the third Marvel movie released in 2017, behind “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spiderman: Homecoming.” If you were to think that Marvel sacrificed quality for quantity, you would be wrong. “Thor: Ragnarok” continues the Marvel tradition of quality movies with great superhero action and humor that the entire family can enjoy.
As “Ragnarok” opens Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is encased in chains and hanging from the ceiling of a vast underground cavern. Thor’s jailer is the fire demon known as Surfur (voiced by Clancy Brown). Surfur tells Thor that his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is no longer on Thor’s home planet of Asgard. With Odin gone and Thor in chains, Asgard is unprotected. Surfur plans to bring about Ragnarok, an ancient prophecy that foretells the complete destruction of Asgard.
After dispatching Surfur, Thor returns to Asgard to find that Heimdall (Idris Elba) is no longer in control of the Bifrost bridge between Asgard and other worlds. Asgard itself has changed and Thor doesn’t know why until he finds his mostly evil brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) impersonating their father.
Thor and Loki travel to Earth to find Odin. They eventually make their way to Odin, with a little help from Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Odin tells the brothers for the first time about their sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of Death. Hela was banished by Odin and their father is the only thing stopping Hela from returning to Asgard and taking it for her own.
Hela quickly appears and destroys Thor’s hammer. In an attempt to return to Asgard through the Bifrost, Hela is able to eject both Thor and Loki from the bridge and onto a garbage planet known as Sakaar. Thor and (maybe) Loki must find a way to return to Asgard and save it from the clutches of Hela.
Marvel’s trademarks are great superhero action and lots of laughs. “Ragnarok” fits right in with those themes. In addition to great action with Thor, there’s little-brother-with-a-perpetual-chip-on-his-shoulder Loki, Hulk (played by Mark Ruffalo when Bruce Banner), Hela, Heimdall, and Tessa Thompson’s fierce Scrapper 142. The action comes quickly and the special effects are incredible.
The facet of the movie that was emphasized by the Director Taika Waititi was humor. All Marvel movies are funny, especially when compared with their dark DC Comics brethren. But “Ragnarok” takes the hilarity to a new level. I can say without reservation that “Ragnarok” is the funniest Marvel movie yet. Does it go too far in an attempt to make the movie funny above all else? Maybe, but you can’t deny that you’ll leave the theater with a smile on your face.
Though Thor is obviously the main character, the Hulk gets quite a bit of screen time in the film. The Hulk has more dialogue as the Hulk that in any other movie. Thor has a difficult time trying to get him to return to Bruce Banner and Thor and the Hulk have quite a bit of banter back and forth with the Hulk’s caveman humor being perfectly delivered. They also have one heck of a memorable fight that ended, apparently, in a draw.
As you may expect if you have seen the other Thor movies, all but a couple of scenes take place on other worlds or in other dimensions. “Ragnarok” is less an earthbound superhero movie and more science fiction superhero flick. So, be ready to travel the galaxy to enjoy the movie.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is a rollicking action-adventure packed with humor that entertains from start to finish. It’s easily the best of the three Thor movies.
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Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action and brief suggestive material.