By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
the latest installment from the Marvel Universe is a superhero movie that thankfully doesn’t take itself so super seriously. It’s light, loose and funny.
New Zealand director Taika Waititi (“Boy” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”) brings his comedic sensibilities to “Thor: Ragnarok” and turns it into a weird, wild and welcome adventure.
“Thor Ragnarok” picks up after “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Thor, aka The God of Thunder (a jovial Chris Hemsworth, “Ghostbusters”), has been kind of hanging around. Actually, he’s been in the realm of Muspelheim and chained inside a dangling cage by the evil fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown, TV’s “Tangled the Series”).
Of course Thor cleverly manages to defeat Surtur all while exchanging some nifty one-liners with him. He also claims Surtur’s almighty and powerful crown. With it, Thor is convinced he can avert Ragnarok, the apocalyptic annihilation of Asgard his homeland.
When Thor returns to Asgard, he’s shocked to find his adopted shape-shifting brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston, “Kong: skull Island”) posing as his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins, “Transformers: The Last Knight”). Thor demands Loki help them find their father.
They get a big assist from doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, TV’s “Sherlock”) and travel to Midgard/Earth searching for Odin. They find him in Norway and he’s in poor health. Odin warns Thor and Loki about the rise of their long-lost sister Hela (a terrific Cate Blanchett, “The Jungle Book 2”), “The Goddess of Death” who sports a powerful, antler style headdress.
Hela used to be the leader of Asgard’s armies, but her ego apparently got too big for her antlers and she wanted more power like her big brother Thor.
She's been exiled now by daddy Odin and after all these years is a bit ticked off. Hela’s now ready to reclaim what she believes is rightfully hers and show she’s the baddest one of all in the Nine Realms. She wastes little time convincing Thor she’s not one to play with and decimates his trusty hammer to prove it.
Left with no power and unable to stop the wrath of Hela, Thor is banished to the dystopian planet Sakaar which is run by the flamboyant and maniacal Grandmaster (a funny Jeff Goldblum, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”).
Somehow Loki manages to get in good with the Grandmaster. However, Thor is captured by a former legendary, drunken Valkyrie warrior turned bounty hunter known as "Scrapper 142" (the talented Tessa Thompson “Creed," “Selma” and Avengers: Infinity War”). She now works for the Grandmaster and he wants Thor to fight in his gladiator styled “Contest of Champions.” Thor’s opponent is none other than his “friend from work,” Hulk/Bruce Banner (the wonderful Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”).
Thor and the Hulk’s CGI filled smack down is one of the best action sequences in the movie. Even more enjoyable are the quieter and humorous moments they share especially when Thor discusses Hulk’s anger issues.
With time ticking away, Thor must also convince Loki, Valkyrie, the Hulk, Heimdall (an underused Idris Elba, “The Mountain Between Us”) and a rock like creature named Korg (director Taika Waititi) to escape from the Grandmaster to save Asgard, destroy Hela and get to her henchman, the Asgardian warrior Skurge (Karl Urban, “Pete’s Dragon”).
“Thor: Ragnarok” has cheeky pop cultural references, some note-worthy cameos, the ridiculously handsome Hemsworth and even Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” tossed in the mix.
Did I mention that it’s pretty fun too?
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Take A Peek At This Trailer For "THOR: RAGNAROK"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.