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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Thor: Ragnarok

In anticipation of seeing the new Avengers film, I had to catch up with the one MCU film I missed, and that was the third Thor film, subtitled Ragnarok. Released in 2017, it was directed by Taika Waititi, and took a different approach than other Marvel films. It is really a comedy.

All of the Marvel films have had tongues firmly in cheek, and the non-MCU Deadpool film was an out-and-out comedy. But Thor: Ragnarok pokes fun at itself and the comic book genre much more than previous MCU films. I have to admit I found this almost disrespectful--Thor deserves more gravitas.

Anyway, the film begins with Thor captured by Surtur, a devil-like creature who has sworn to destroy Asgard, which he calls Ragnarok (I guess it's just the Scandinavian version of Armageddon). Thor escapes and defeats Surtur, but arrives back home to find Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in charge and Odin (Anthony Hopkins) missing. The brothers find him, only to be told that they have an older sister, Hela. She's the Goddess of Death, and she's coming loaded for bear.

Hela is played campily by Cate Blanchett (much like she did in Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). She takes over Asgard, while Thor and Loki end up on a planet run by Jeff Goldblum, who amuses himself by having gladiator contests. Thor ends up in the ring with his old pal the Hulk.

This section of the film is the most comic, as Goldblum uses an expert touch to his character. Thor and Hulk make peace, and Loki tries to play both sides. Hiddleston has made Loki one of the more interesting characters in the series, as you never know what he's going to do (although he will usually end up helping his brother). The Asgardians find a Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and she will end up part of the team that battle Hela.

Chris Hemsworth is once again Thor, and he also has a fine comic touch. Mark Ruffalo is Bruce Banner (the Hulk's alter ego), and he looks a bit old and tired. After seeing The Avengers: Infinity War today (a review will be up on Monday) one wonders how many of these actors are going to hang up their costumes soon. No matter when it is, it was a good run. I'm guessing we won't have any more stand-alone Thor films, though.

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