The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) “Thor: Ragnarok,” premiered in theaters Nov. 3, and everyone’s favorite characters are back for more action-packed fun.
“Thor: Ragnarok,” the third addition to the franchise, took a hint from two of Marvel’s most successful films, “Deadpool” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and emphasized humor, proving the perfect recipe for a Marvel movie is action, sci-fi and a generous dose of comedy. The film’s director, Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “The Hunt for the Wilderpeople”), is known for his unique brand of dry humor, which made him the perfect choice as director.
The last time we saw the blonde god of thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), he was fighting a robot army in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Two years later the story continues as Hela, the goddess of death and Thor’s sister, is released from imprisonment, prepared to claim her right to the throne of Asgard, the planet Thor calls home. Thor must form a scrappy team of “revengers” to defend his home planet and defeat Hela.
“Thor: Ragnarok” once again proves Hemsworth isn’t only a pretty face, but a versatile actor who cares about his portrayal of the longtime beloved character. While once serious and preoccupied with nobility and honor, Thor has become a much more charming, likable and slightly awkward character. It’s difficult picturing anyone other than Hemsworth play the role.
The cast features several familiar faces — Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight,” “Now You See Me”) reprised his role of the Hulk, and Tom Hiddleston returned as fan favorite, Loki, the god of mischief, whose constant unpredictability and allegiance to himself makes him an enticing antagonist. Amidst countless other projects, including the upcoming movie adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower,” the brilliant Idris Elba (“Star Trek: Beyond,” “Zootopia”) somehow found time to protect Asgard as Heimdall, Thor’s trusted friend and ally. Jeff Goldblum was a delight in his Marvel debut as the charismatic Grandmaster. Even as a villain, he’s loveable. Cate Blanchett as Hela was thoroughly riveting. Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie proves you don’t need to be justice-driven to be a tough female heroine; it’s refreshing to have a non-archetypal feminine hero.
The jam-packed action scenes are more than satisfactory, especially the final battle between Thor and villainess Hela. Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” plays during the scene, acutely producing feelings of adrenaline and nostalgia.
As far as diversity is concerned, it seems the casting directors, Sarah Finn and Kirsty McGregor, tried to be more inclusive with “Ragnarok.” Out of the five new characters introduced in this movie, two were women and two were people of color. While this isn’t quite half — since most of the original actors are white males — it’s a step toward the direction of progress.
The only cringe-worthy aspect of the film was the giant black wolf, known as Fenris, who seemed to have climbed out of a Harry Potter movie to join the MCU. While Fenris Wolf has legitimate origins in the Thor comics, he seemed out of place beside ancient Norse gods.
While it certainly doesn’t hurt, you don’t have to be a Marvel buff in order to appreciate “Thor: Ragnarok.” All you need is a couple hours of free time and maybe some popcorn — the movie takes care of the rest.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is currently playing in theaters nationwide.