Thor: Ragnorak Review

I finally got to see Thor: Ragnorak. (Psst. It’s good.)

Yes, it’s still in theaters, so spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

I can’t claim to be a Marvel aficionado, but I have seen a number of the movies (all of them) and found this one to be a delightful addition. It did feel like more of a stand-alone film than a direct relation to the whole Marvel Universe or even the first two Thor films, which, after the second, is probably a good thing. Besides characters, linking the film to the Avengers are a few lines about infinity stones and robots, but these were necessary and not too distracting.

Thor, the God of Thunder, played by Chris Hemsworth, finally returns to Asgard after he learns Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is no longer there from a talkative fire demon he’s been captured by. Don’t worry, it’s all part of the plan. Odin may not be there, but Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is. The two seek out their father together with a little help from Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Odin lets them in on the fact that his firstborn, their sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett) will escape her prison as the only thing keeping her there is the fact that Odin is still alive.

From there the film splits in two. One half following Hela and how she plans to take back Asgard from the people who remain behind and the other a buddy comedy with gladiator accents: Thor gets trapped on the planet Sakaar, a backwater where an untold number of wormholes deposit the detritus of the galaxy. There he must fight the Grandmaster’s (Jeff Goldblum) reigning champion, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). With some help from a hard-drinking Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Thor finds a way off the planet and back in Asgard for a big showdown with Hela. If you’ve seen previews for Avengers: Infinity War you can guess who comes out on top.

There’s no performance I can’t recommend in this film. Even Karl Urban’s Skurge, who is reduced to a foil for the slinky Blanchett, is fun to watch. The camera captures his unhappiness, making his anguish almost palpable, but also identifiable. The supporting cast here held its own, including Idris Elba as Heimdall, who I could have used more of, but I’m not complaining. Always good to see Elba as Heimdall.

Also, who knew Thor was funny? We all did, I think, from the twinkle in Hemsworth’s eye, but he never really got the opportunity before now. His character grows more naturally and with less fanfare in this film than the previous two installments, especially in his relationship with his brother. They appear to have made peace with the fact that they are who they are and they’re not going to change. Perhaps it’s the death of Odin that brings them closer, but it was nice to see Thor not get played by Loki for once.

I would recommend the film to fans of Marvel or fans of film in general. The end comes around fast enough, but I could have used more of what makes the first 90 minutes fun to watch.

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