“Thor: Ragnarok,” the third entry in the “Thor” series, finds banished sister Hela laying claim to the throne of Asgard.
Hela is played with a vicious stride by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (“The Aviator,” “Blue Jasmine”). This entry has plenty of laughs. The title character, played by Chris Hemsworth, is around for most of the movie. He shares plenty of scenes with Anthony Hopkins, Mark Ruffalo and Tessa Thompson. Co-stars also include Idris Elba, Karl Urban and Jeff Goldblum. Hemsworth also shares screen time with adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Although they are not flesh-and-blood identities, the characters’ closeness seals a bond between the men.
For the first time, Hemsworth’s Thor loses his blonde locks. Gone are the days of introducing characters just so their existence will be viewed as a futile attempt to keep them around for later chapters. I think both “Captain America: The First Avenger” and the mediocre “Iron Man 2” were notorious for dabbling into this end of Disappointmentville, U. S. A.
Thompson is worthwhile as Valkyrie who battled Hela years ago with Odin (Hopkins). These scenes are just a few of the backstories inserted into the plot.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is all about comedic timing and rapport the characters show with one another. The banter between Hulk and Thor makes for some amusing moments.
This movie plays up the humor factor quite a bit, something that has been lacking in most superhero movies. That is the whole point of even seeing movies in the theatre.
“Thor: Ragnarok” also has plenty of inside jokes such as the code to turn on the spaceship is “Point Break,” something Robert Downey Jr.’s character said in the first “Avengers” movie referring to a 1991 Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 action movie with Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves.
Karl Urban is Skurge, a reluctant warrior who pledges himself to Hela for the sake of saving his own life and does what he can to make sure he stays in Hela’s good graces. Director Taika Waititi knows how to present the comedic timing. Part of this goes back to his earlier work like in the little-seen “What We Do in the Shadows” (2014), a vampire satire that made fun of the undead and all of the nuances that occur when being part of the creatures of the night.
A New Zealand director, Waititi also did a credible job with “Hunt for The Wilderpeople,” the tale of an orphaned boy who struggles to find a family that will accept him. I am one of the few writers covering the film industry who does not mind the constant onslaught of superhero productions. Part of that rests in bigger production budgets and attention to detail that is played out in large-scale productions. I have not quite reached the point of superhero fatigue. The closest I got was Ryan Reynolds’s turn in Martin Campbell’s abysmal “Green Lantern” (2011).
The whole point is that “Thor: Ragnarok” does what it’s supposed to do and truly entertains the audience. It runs slightly over two hours and is worth every minute. One’s eyeballs stay glued to the screen with this film.