“Thor: Ragnarok”- Movie Review

When you’re the third film in a trilogy and the seventeenth in a huge franchise, you need to make yourself stand out. Get new characters. Abandon old characters. Change the aesthetic. Change the story. Or if you’re really daring, change the formula. Who knows what the right option is. What’s important is that you spice it up a bit, and make it so the audience isn’t being treated to the same old shtick.

Thor:Ragnarok embraces the type of change I’m talking about. A few  years have passed since the events in Sokovia. The beloved God of Thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) gets sidetracked from his search for the Infinity Stones by the news that his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is no longer on Asgard and that the end of his world- Ragnarok- is fast approaching. To make matters worse, the long-lost goddess of death Hela (Cate Blanchett) has returned to wreak havoc on Asgard. And on top of all that, Thor finds himself trapped in a dangerous gladiator-esque game alongside the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and watched over by the glamorously manipulative Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). SO yeah, there’s a lot on his plate. Thor has to team up with Hulk, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to make things right.

Thor: Ragarok is a fun Saturday morning cartoon bursting with neon 80s flavor. It’s a fun action-adventure that satisfies on many levels. First and foremost, it succeeds as a Marvel movie. The film’s inclusion of new characters never feels forced or tacked on, and the sharp writing coupled with the actors’ performances help build them as identifiable, three-dimensional characters. The practical set design and the seamless CGI work make the world Thor goes to seem real, like you could live in these places. The kind of humor director Taika Waititi infuses into this movie work very well. It manages to be light-hearted and childish without ever being juvenile.

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There is no weak link in terms of performance. Every single actor is clearly having a ball, and the different relationships between them- whether between the heroes or the villains- feel one hundred percent genuine. Chris Hemsworth, yet again, does a marvelous job as the God of Thunder. He embodies the character so well that by this point, it’s impossible to picture anyone else playing this character. Tom Hiddleston as Loki is deliciously sinister as always. The Hulk is just as awesome as you’d expect him to be. The comradery he shares with Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie (who’s also a terrific addition) is heart-warming. Cate Blanchett just pops in every scene she’s in as Hera. She might not be the most compelling Marvel villain- not to mention in most scenes she’s the Queen of Exposition- but she is devilishly entertaining and has a definite presence. The same can be said for Jeff Goldblum, who basically plays, well, villain Jeff Goldblum.

Really, there’s not much else I can say about Thor: Ragnarok other than it’s a fun movie. Sometimes the film’s comedic tone overpowers the slower, more serious moments, but not enough to detract from the overall experience. It’s an absolute blast from start to finish, definitely one of Marvel’s best. It may be the third in a trilogy, but the film feels like a fresh start.

Cosmic Grade: 4.5 out of 5

 

 

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