The solo Thor and Hulk movies are often referred to as the outcasts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe along with their pal Iron Man 2. The God of Thunder had two decent outings at the box office, but Thor: The Dark World is seen as the worst the MCU has to offer. The Big Green Guy’s situation isn’t much better with only one solo film attached to the overall series due to franchise rights issues with Universal and Disney that starred Edward Norton who was eventually replaced by Mark Ruffalo. To make matters worse, the two strongest Avengers hadn’t been seen in the MCU since Avengers: Age of Ultron over two years ago, but that changes in a major when the two team up for the cosmic comedy adventure Thor: Ragnarok.
Director Taika Waititi in many ways demolishes the Thor mythology and rebuilds the character giving Odin’s son a new persona that is light-hearted, but still tough even if he has to find new and inventive ways to fight his battles. During this deconstruction in order to reboot Thor, the first act is a little clunky trying to tie up all the loose ends from the first two films as quickly as possible. All these big moments in the Thor movies are given closure so quickly, it deminshes the initial plot twists meant to excite the fans, but never fear though. Once Waititi finishes telling the other stories that came before him, the director takes the audience on a wild and colorful ride as Thor bounces around the realms in a quest to return home to Asgard and save his people from Hela the Goddess of Death played by Academy Award Winner Cate Blanchett.
Thor: Ragnarok has a feel, look and sound of the charming Saturday matinée Sci-Fi films of the 1980s. Comparisons to Flash Gordon, Big Trouble in Little China and The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension could all be made concerning Chris Hemsworth’s third solo outing as the magic hammer wielding big lug. Did those movies have a few issues? Sure, but they were also a really good time just like Thor: Ragnarok. There are so many bright neon colors to distract you from the problems as Thor bounces from world to world set to a 1980s electronic synthesizer score that is definitely the coolest original score in the MCU.
There’s also a great deal of scenery chewed with a fair amount of laughs thrown into the mix thanks to an extremely talented cast. Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo are perfect playing off each other as the two lost Avengers who find each other in the most unlikely place. Also Tom Hiddleston proves more Loki is always a positive thing with the on again, off again villain showing he’s the real star of Thor movies once again oozing slimy charisma. We also get to see Jeff Goldblum hamming it up and really looking to be enjoying himself as the quirky Grandmaster who Thor and Hulk must deal with in order to get home.
There are some issues with Thor: Ragnarok including Hela who is basically a villain who just wants to rule and see her enemies burn. Thankfully Cate Blanchett is there to save this one-dimensional adversary with her presence on-screen really bringing so much more to this character that was given to her initially. Still even with the rushed start and a very busy story line, Thor: Ragnarok is still a highly entertaining ride full of humor, stunning visuals and a new direction for Thor in terms of his character growth in the MCU. Movies can have a few flaws and still be a highly enjoyable experience and Thor: Ragnarok proves that in this crowd pleasing space buddy road trip.
Overall, I give Thor: Ragnarok a solid 3 out of 4 stars.
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