Superheroes to the rescue!
After a lackluster summer at the box office, Hollywood hit back in a big way as Disney sent a film to the big screen for the first time since June with “Thor: Ragnarok.”
The latest in the ever popular Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise brought home $121 million nationally, giving moviegoers their first slam dunk reason to head to theaters since Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in July.
An amalgamation of several popular Marvel Comics including the Ragnarok and Planet Hulk series, “Thor: Ragnarok” follows god of thunder Thor as he seeks to prevent a foretold apocalypse aimed to destroy his home world of Asgard. His travels find him pitted against – and possibly working with – his mischievous adopted brother Loki and fellow Avenger The Incredible Hulk.
Finally given material worth sinking his teeth into, Chris Hemsworth is at his best as the titular Thor.
The Australian actor excels at the quippy one liners throughout “Ragnarok” and seems to be more engaged in this film than in any prior installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Hemsworth is firmly in his element with light-hearted performances here and in 2016’s “Ghostbusters” remake. His Thor is decidely less wooden and considerably more memorable in “Ragnarok.”
Tom Hiddleston brings his considerable charm to the devilish Loki, though his performance suffers from a lack of quality material and limited screen time relative to his much better turns in the role in both the original “Thor” film and “Marvel’s The Avengers.”
Unquestionably the star of “Thor: Ragnarok” is director Taika Waititi, a terrific up-and-coming comedic filmmaker who steals the show as CGI rock monster Korg.
Normally such a dry comedic character is difficult to pull off through simply voice acting, but Waititi shines with a brilliant, side-splitting that mesmerizes audiences at every turn. Korg is worth the price of admission alone.
A shockingly game Cate Blanchett provides a solid supporting performance as villainess Hela, though limited screen time character largely wastes the Oscar winner’s considerable talents.
Jeff Goldblum delivers a very typical performance as the devious Grandmaster.
His turn is exactly what you might expect from Goldblum, but it’s exactly what Ragnarok needs to bring levity to its bloated yet entertaining second act.
Saying “Ragnarok” is the best “Thor” movie is like saying Alec Baldwin is the best Baldwin brother. This is technically true, but it doesn’t really mean a whole lot.
As Marvel movies this year go, “Ragnarok” is no better than second behind the significantly better “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and might not even be as well made a film as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”
This isn’t to say that “Thor: Ragnarok” isn’t a good movie. It most certainly is.
But for a movie franchise dripping in Shakespearean melodrama, the abrupt right turn Thor Ragnarok takes tonally is more than a little jarring.
The film’s humorous, engaging script from writers Craig Kyle and Eric Pierson meanders a bit too much in the middle third and lacks a linear central plot.
However, for a film intended to inch the overall storyline forward toward next year’s Avengers Infinity War, Ragnarok is nothing short of a total crowd-pleaser with the requisite action sequences, Easter eggs and surprise appearances to keep hardcore Marvel fans excited for films yet to come.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is a movie that begs to be seen in theaters and not just for its visually appealing fight sequences.
This is one of those rare films that will be a staple of watercooler talk throughout the next month.
Moviegoers who don’t want to be spoiled on the film’s numerous twists and turns or left out of the conversation need to see “Ragnarok” on the big screen.