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Brawn and A Lot of Laughs in Thor: Ragnarok

Thor:  Ragnarok

Starring:  Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett and Mark Ruffalo

Rating:  PG-13

Run time:  2hr 10min.

When I first heard that Marvel was making another Thor movie, I could not help but ask myself why.  The first Thor movie was okay; good to add to the Marvel movie universe, but not spectacular.  The second installment was laughable.  Thor is great as an accompany cast member, but certainly not lead material.  So, when viewing the Thor:  Ragnarok trailer, the concept of the Hulk vs. Thor as gladiators certainly caught my eye, but I have fallen under the spell of cinematic marketing before.  Will I be duped again?  Not this time.  True, the Thor vs. Hulk fight scene is good marvel universe stuff; but, the heart of the story was the comrade among the characters and the comic team of Thor and Hulk.  Yes, the comedy team.  No, they were not Smith and Lawrence (Bad Boys

but more like Carey and Daniels (Dumb and Dumber) with higher IQs.

Imprisoned, Thor (Hemsworth) finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk (Ruffalo).  Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Blanchett) from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.  Is Thor overmatched?  Or must he tap into his true inner strength and rely on an unconventional “band of brothers” to save his beloved planet?

The movie is full of cameos, from the ordinary, Stan Lee (of course) Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange) to the surprising.  For example, this person (intentionally unnamed)  stated in an article in The Irish Examiner, when asked if he ever would appear in a superhero movie, that he would consider anything with the right director, but he could not imagine there are any superheroes left.  He believes that they have all been taken at this moment.  He must have found the right director in Taika Waititi, because his cameo appearance is priceless.

Waititi not only directs the film but has an unforgettable role as one of the characters.  His scene-stealing performance as Korg, the revolutionary offbeat gladiator who befriends Thor and enlightens him of the fate of his dear friend, Bob, is outstanding.   Waititi uses his unique skill set to create an offbeat marvel movie that is comparable to the Guardians of the Galaxy.  The storyline is simple, but the connections between the cast of characters and their distinct personalities make it more than interesting and entertaining.

Thor and Hulk’s evolving relationship trying to better one another as the most powerful Avenger is hilarious.  Instead of the Hulk being trapped in Banner’s body, it is Banner trapped inside the Hulk.  The Hulk has more dialogue than that of any other Marvel movie in the past.  Imagine an oversized child going through the terrible twos with unmatched power and strength.  Unable to control his temper; his tantrums are unavoidable, and Thor finds himself on the unfortunate end of his “acting out” behavior.

For some reason, the CGI is a bit disappointing.  Although, the fight scenes (for the most part) are “marvel worthy”, the special effects are not up to pare in comparison to Marvel films of the past.  At times the scenes look a bit amateurish; fake, even.  It is not as bad as 80’s Flash Gordon days, but it is a step back and not forward to what Marvel has put out in the past several years.


So, what do you get, when watching Thor:  Ragnarok?  Well, what you do not get is a disappointment or a stale storyline with a bunch of uninteresting characters.  But it is, shall I say, a Marvel makeover for Thor.  The “powers that be” have found a way to make him interesting and new.  As a side note, in graphic novel lore, Ragnarok is a cyborg clone of Thor (created by Tony Stark), who has a similar appearance and abilities but uses them in opposition to other heroes.  We have yet to see Ragnarok, but it will be an interesting series evolution if future films play to the comics.


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