HOLLYWOOD—I seriously wanted to be a big fan of the “Thor” films, but let’s be honest, “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World” were not great movies. They attempted to capture a bit of Marvel fun without really knowing what direction to take the character and the franchise. Well, it looks like third time is a charm because “Thor: Ragnarok” might be one of the most entertaining comic book flicks I have seen in quite some time America.
For starters, we have a slew of new characters that are interesting, full of unique quirks and deliver plenty of entertaining moments for the movie. Thor, the God of Thunder is portrayed by Chris Hemsworth who gets a fresh new look in this latest entry. Those long locks are no more people, and the look is not only a great distraction, but brings a bit of freshness to the character that the audience hasn’t seen before. In previous installments, Thor has always been quite stoic, but in “Ragnarok,” he’s a bit of a goofball. His one-liners are witty and he has been knocked from grace in a way that makes the audience root for the hero that much more.
This is primary the result of a villainess turn by Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett who steps into the role of Hela, Thor’s long-lost sister and Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) first born child. I’ve always been an advocate that when it comes to the superhero franchise, the protagonist matters, but the villain is vital not only to the narrative, but the personal growth of both the protagonist and antagonist. Those movies that focus more on the protagonist compared to the antagonist, always suffer; because the film feels one-sided. That is not the case here. Hela is a force to be reckoned with, and Blanchett, oozes villainy in a way that is quite fun to watch on the big screen.
Hela is an important element to the narrative, but also is the presence of the Hulk aka Bruce Banner portrayed by Mark Ruffalo. I’ve seen two Marvel flicks now that I think with perfection utilized characters who have their own franchise, yet appear as sidekicks in other films and carry their own weight. The addition of Black Widow in “The Winter Soldier” was perhaps one of the smartest things ever, as is the on-screen collaboration between Thor and Hulk in the third chapter in the “Thor” franchise.
The two have always traded spars in the previous “Avengers” flicks, so to see them butt heads constantly throughout an entire film is even more fun. Ruffalo proves to have more comic edge then one imagined, and having such a ferocious character on screen, alongside a hero who seems unstoppable is the absolute definition of chemistry. We also have the additions of Tessa Thompson and Jeff Goldblum as Valkyrie and Grandmaster, other members of Thor’s team, who helps him alongside his treacherous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to go after taking down Hela and her army. Thompson is great as a female superhero and Goldblum brings fun to a character that has a bit of secrecy to say the least.
“Thor: Ragnarok” works so well thanks to the work behind the camera by director Taika Waititi who brings an element of excitement to the franchise that was well needed. He brings patience to the franchise, a level of wit and comedy that works without being over-the-top. This movie has personality, fun characters, plenty of action, explosive visual effects and a plot that is so enthralling that as a viewer you’ll be so entertained you won’t even think about looking at your watch.