MOVIE MONDAY: “Thor: Ragnarok”

The third time’s a charm. Following two uninspired Thor movies, Thor: Ragnarok gets the god of thunder right. The film is a fast-paced, interplanetary romp that takes Thor out of his element.

Lost, hammerless and—at one glorious point—shirtless, the Avenger finds himself on a quest to save his homeworld, Asgard, from a seemingly unbeatable threat.

Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth as the title character, Thor, Cate Blanchett and Tom Hiddleston. (Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

It’s not a new story, nor a deep one, but the film’s humour and lovable characters keep it fresh. This movie knows what it is and recognizes its limits. It’s silly but not sarcastic, bold but not obnoxious.  

Chris Hemsworth is endearing as Thor, and damn, that man is hunky. He plays the boastful adventurer but is still believable in the film’s more tender moments. 

Without his signature magic hammer, “Mjolnir”, Thor continuously struggles and feels more relatable.

Less Mjolnir means disappointingly fewer scenes of Thor spinning the hammer really fast and using it as a propeller so he can fly. But don’t think the movie skimps on silly, comic book goodness.

The story’s setting ranges from the high-fantasy world of Asgard to a sci-fi dystopia managed by the Grandmaster (played by Jeff Goldblum).

Spaceships and aliens abound, viewers are treated to a shot of the Hulk’s bare bum.

The green monster (played by Mark Ruffalo) is a welcomed addition to the movie. Both he and his alter-ego Bruce Banner play off Thor nicely.

The Hulk-Thor rivalry is hilarious, and the much-hyped gladiatorial fight between the two heroes does not disappoint.

Perhaps the best thing about Thor: Ragnarok is how it manages to stand out within the Marvel cinematic universe.

Marvel films are a brand. Normally, they come with a standard tone and increasingly standardized plots. But by exploring new worlds and capitalizing on its action-comedy genre, Thor manages to rise above that and be unique.

While too many Marvel villains are forgettable, self-indulgent douches, Cate Blanchett plays villain Hela like a Cruella de Vil in dominatrix garb. She’s bemused by her badness and doesn’t need to justify it.

And unlike some other Marvel films, this one is free of heavy-handed world-building. There’s crossover with other movies, callbacks and some light setup work, but nothing that feels out of place.

Marvel fans won’t want to miss Thor: Ragnarok, but the film is definitely worth watching even if you’re a more casual viewer of superhero cinema.

It avoids tropes, and plays up the laughs and action you’d want from a movie like this.

Four Hulk smashes out of five.

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