by Charles Kirkland Jr.
The Marvel Universe does it again with the God of Thunder!
Thor (Chris Hemsworth, as if you didn’t know) has a problem. He discovers that there is a prophecy called Ragnarok where Asgard is destroyed. As impulsive as ever, he sets out to stop the one person he believes to be responsible for the destruction and in his haste set loose an even worse threat to all of Asgard. A strange, striking and powerful woman named Hela (Cate Blanchett) appears and reveals a gigantic secret along with an unbeknownst connection to our hero. In their confrontation with Hela, Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) are flung across the galaxy to a strange world. Thor gets captured by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and imprisoned and the only escape for him is through the gladiator pit where The Hulk is the grand champion!
Thor: Ragnarok is the latest Marvel enterprise directed by Taika Waikiti. Waikiti (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Eagle vs. Shark) is known for having a being a facilitator of off-beat and strangely funny pieces of cinematic comedic gold. Thor is no different. Comic book lovers will be tickled at how the base of the movie is true to the comic books but suddenly it takes off on an improvised tangent that no one could anticipate. Those who were familiar with Waikiti’s work may have been suspicious of a “sell-out” with him signing on to this movie, however, nothing could be further from the truth. In Thor: Ragnarok, Waikiti creates a quirky, outrageous comedy action film that rivals the first Guardians of the Galaxy as the most entertaining Marvel movie ever.
Don’t get me wrong. Thor: Ragnarok is a comic book action movie. DC fans, in their quest to proclaim their movies as superior, have always complained that Marvel movies are too light. That may have been the case. In this movie, though, there are serious, permanent consequences that occur and not just Thor’s haircut. The themes of both the Planet Hulk and Ragnarok comic book storylines clash in this movie in ways that pay homage to their source material but also carve its own path. They entwine themselves into something completely fresh, original and exciting that have interesting repercussions for the rest of the Marvel Universe. While Hulk is not the only guest in the feature, there are some really bad things that happen to some really good, known characters in this movie and no one comes out of this movie the same as they went in.
Thor: Ragnarok is bright and beautiful at appropriate times and dark and foreboding during others. Waikiti gives credence to both sides of the coin in the picture, allowing the bright and dark moments to grow and be rich in its scope. Because of the beauty of the shooting, Marvel decided to engage in 3D conversion of the film. No. Thor was not shot in 3D nor was it shot in IMAX but the conversion for both of these formats was excellently done and encapsulates almost all the best of what 3D was meant to be, a compliment to the film, not an annoying gimmick.
Mark Mothersbaugh, formerly of the avant-garde rock band Devo, has forged a stellar career scoring a wide range of films from The Lego Movie and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to the Jumpstreet revivals and Pitch Perfect movies. The composing work he does in Thor fuels the fantastic and fun feel of the movie with a soundtrack that seems to pay homage to The Last Starfighter, old comic book cartoons and even Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Mothersbaugh’s work is an excellent choice that compliments the movie perfectly.
Jeff Goldblum is a particular delight. Breaking out of the slump performances he submitted in Mortdecai and Independence Day: Resurgence, Goldblum reprises the role he briefly played in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the Grandmaster. Goldblum is hilariously and gleefully mean as the man behind Thunderdome who pits his champion Hulk against Mr. Sparkles. The role is perfect for Goldblum who even seems to be having fun playing it.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action and brief suggestive material, Thor: Ragnarok is a glorious creation that is more than worth the wait. Kudos to Marvel for allowing this glorious trip down the road that Guardians laid while forging on into the greater vision which is the next Avengers extravaganza coming in May.
Note: As with all Marvel films, Stan Lee makes his appearance (no way you could miss him) and there is a mid-credit and a post-credit scene. So stay through those credits!