Despite starting to go through what I can only describe as ‘superhero fatigue’…I still do like me a good Marvel flick! Even as a self-proclaimed geek, I find the sheer volume of comic book-related media floating around in Pop Culture these days INSANE! Some of it’s great, some is good and some sucks shit…luckily, ‘Thor Ragnarok’ falls into the grey zone between ‘Good’ and ‘Great’. I didn’t wake up on this Remembrance Day Holiday Monday with the plan to hit the theatre burned into my mind…but the stormy fall weather and the need to give my GF some ‘alone time’ (studying for school) prompted me to hit The Big Screen yet again. My original intention was to check out ‘Blade Runner 2049’ again, but the first showing was too late in the day for an early bird like myself. So ‘Thor Ragnarok’ 3D it was!
‘Thor Ragnarok’ catches up with ‘Thor’ (Chris Hemsworth) returning to Asgard after a harrowing mission to confront ‘Loki’ (Tom Hiddleston), who’s been masquerading as ‘Odin’ (Anthony Hopkins) for the last movie or so. In the process of finding where the real ‘Odin’ has been kept hidden, it’s revealed that a certain Asgardian super villain (and incidently Thor’s sister) named ‘Hela’ (Cate Blanchett) is on the verge of escaping her bonds and returning to wreak havoc on their disc world. During the first battle with the fiercely powerful and pissed off sibling, both ‘Thor’ and ‘Loki’ are forced out of their rapid interstellar escape passage to crash land on a bizarre, junk-strewn world named ‘Sakaar’. Here, ‘Thor’ is captured and sold into the gladiator / slave ranks of the flamboyant ‘Grand Master’ (Jeff Goldblum). It’s into this scenario that the long-missing ‘Bruce Banner’ / ‘The Hulk’ (Mark Ruffalo) turns up. A wacky, quipping team is assembled…and they all plan their escape.
This movie was pretty great. I had a lot of fun with the action but even more so with the flick’s sense of humor and vibrant colour palette. If I had to compare it to any other entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the one that automatically pops to mind is the first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (2014), where the jokes and sight gags are concerned. The banter between all the characters was rapid fire, with a good mix of clever retorts and amusingly dimwitted quips, along with an equal dose of situational, physical comedy and sight gags, as I mentioned earlier. To me, that was easily the movie’s biggest selling feature, second to the crazy visuals.
The effects, as in any Marvel flick, were top notch, with the planet of ‘Sakaar’ giving them license to be a little more creative and…well…wacky (THAT word again!), with what they show us. On top of the cool cityscapes and expansive sci-fi vistas, we also get some sweet high-velocity CG action scenes that were handled in a way that I could MOSTLY follow. Of course, being a ‘Thor’ movie, I again found myself a little overwhelmed by all the CG light shows on display in Act 3 (all three of them share this trait), but there was enough cool and amusing stuff happening around the ‘sparkle’ that I wasn’t bored by yet another patented Marvel-style finale’.
The cast is great…another major plus for this one. On top of Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Goldblum, Hopkins and Blanchett, we also get Idris Elba returning as ‘Heimdal’, Benedict Cumberbatch in an extended and amusing cameo as ‘Dr. Strange’, Karl Urban as ‘Scourge’, Tessa Thompson as a kickass Asgardian Valkirie named..well…’Valkrie’, who’s also a lush and bisexual…and a number of small cameos (including two hilarious ones that I will NOT spoil here) that tie back into the other Marvel films. Everybody seems to be having a good time here and it’s rumored that up to 80 % of the dialogue was ad libbed, which would explain the more natural deliveries that pop up throughout the 2 hour and 10 minute run-time.
As previously mentioned, I opted for the 3D version and was mostly pleased with the effect. There were times where, again, the depth wasn’t as deep as it could’ve been, but other times I was pleasantly surprised. I’d say the added dimension DID add something to the crazy sci-fi shit this movie wants to show you.
All in all, ‘Thor Ragnarok’ is yet another solid entry into the Marvel MCU and I had a good time checking it out in the theatre. It’s funny, gorgeous, action packed and easy to follow, and I applaud director Taika Waititi for being able to craft a tight and well-paced story that added to the established mythology while also having fun playing with what we already know about it. If you’re a Marvel fan, or just want to turn your brain off over some buttered popcorn and be effortlessly entertained for 2 hours, give this one a look. It’s a good time.