Susan Granger’s review of “Thor: Ragnarok” (Marvel Studios/Disney)
For comic-book fans, Marvel’s hammer-throwing hero is back – in the BEST Thor movie yet!
Since “Ragnarok” means apocalypse, the story picks up where the last one left off: Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the God of Thunder, is trying to save Asgard, his home planet, only to discover that he and his treacherous brother Loki (Tim Hiddleston) have a power-hungry older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), Goddess of Death.
After tracking down their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who is determined to die in his native Norway, the challenge facing Thor and Loki is reclaiming Asgard from Hela, who once led Asgad’s armies for Odin. At their first meeting, Hela shows her supremacy by smashing Thor’s hammer.
Travelling through a space portal, hammerless Thor is then captured and imprisoned on a parallel world called Sakaar. That’s where he meets the demented, flamboyant Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), the hard-drinking warrior Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and a cheery, giant rock golem named Korg (Taika Waititi).
Since high-stakes gladiator matches are the Grandmaster’s passion, Thor’s long, blond locks are trimmed before he finds himself in the ring, facing “a friend from work” who turns out to be The Incredible Hulk, another key member of the Avengers.
After they do battle, Thor recruits Hulk and his alter-ego, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to take on Hela, a formidable opponent – with antlered battle headgear covering her jet-black hair.
Adroitly helmed by New Zealand director Taika Waititi, it’s irreverently scripted by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, revealing Chris Hemsworth’s surprising flair for physical comedy, making Thor more natural and appealing than he’s been in the past.
As for cameos: In a zany, identity-confusion ‘play’ at the very beginning, Matt Damon impersonates Loki, Sam Neill mimics Odin with Chris Hemsworth’s brother Liam as a fake Thor – plus, later, Benedict Cumberbatch pops up as Dr. Strange.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Thor: Ragnarok” is a silly, superhero 7. It’s thunderful!