It’s been two years since the events of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is still searching throughout the galaxy for the remaining Infinity Stones. When he finally returns to Asgard, Thor realizes his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has cheated death and returned to rule his homeland, after placing Odin in a retirement home on Earth. When the brothers find their father, they discover he is dying and to make matters worse, his death frees firstborn daughter Hela (Cate Blanchett) from a prison she was trapped in long ago. More powerful than both brothers combined, Hela destroys Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, with a flick of the wrist, showing she is not one to be messed with.
Loki attempts to escape back to Asgard via the Bifrost Bridge, not realizing this also gives Hela an open gate to return home. During the trip back, Hela knocks Thor and Loki off-course, causing them to crash land on the garbage planet Sakaar. In order to get back home to save Asgard, Thor is forced to win his freedom in a gladiator match, perhaps against a “friend from work.”
If it were up to me, THOR: RAGNAROK would’ve been named CATE BLANCHETT: GODDESS OF CINEMA. Hear me out. RAGNAROK is a really fun and entertaining ride, bringing some much-needed eccentricity to the typical superhero format. Director Taika Waititi brings his unique perspective and humor, similar to his 2016 hit, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, to add a level of quirkiness that is different from Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY or DR. STRANGE. Sometimes it seems the script is trying a little *too* hard to be weird and cheeky, but better that than some of the dreariness we have seen on the Warner Bros/DC side of the house.
The real problem is the Hulk’s huge (pun intended) presence in the film; I would much rather reclaim my time for more of Cate Blanchett’s snarling Hela. Comic fans don’t get mad at me; I have admittedly only seen the cinematic versions of the Hulk and don’t have a good sense of the Planet Hulk phenomenon. But at its best, all of the Hulk smash stuff gets to be a bit boring, and at its worst, it’s annoying… especially when there is such an awesome character as Hela! I would’ve preferred 75% of the time be spent on exploring her character and having our heroes interact with and fight her instead of having the storylines split for a lot of the film. Every time we switched from Asgard (where Hela was wreaking havoc) to Sakaar (where Thor, Loki, and the Hulk were getting their gladiator on), it was a disappointing transition.
Would I recommend RAGNAROK? Absolutely. Even the biggest Debbie Downer is going to crack a smile and have good time with this offbeat action film. But please, do yourself a favor and avoid seeing the film in 3D. I hate watching movies in 3D to begin with because it makes the picture so dark and the glasses are usually uncomfortable. I know it’s tempting to want to see Chris Hemworth in all of his 3D glory, but with RAGNAROK’s vibrant colors and wackiness, you want to make sure you see it in a complementary format. And don’t forget to stay ’til the end of the credits for two scenes, one setting up INFINITY WAR and the other showing what happens to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) after all is said and done.
My Review: B