REEL REVIEWS / Josh Simpkins
If I have said this once, I’ve said it a hundred and one times: Sometimes I just love my job. Especially when my job requires me to watch a film I quite genuinely want to view. I recently had the privilege of watching Marvel Studios 17th (17, my favorite number) film of the storied MCU, Thor: Ragnarok—starring Chris Hemsworth (Ghostbusters), Tom Hiddleston (Kong: Skull Island), Cate Blanchett (Song to Song), Jeff Goldblum (Independence Day: Resurgence), Mark Ruffalo (Now You See Me 2), Tessa Thompson (South Dakota), Anthony Hopkins (Transformers: The Last Knight), and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Current War)—and it is not only amazing, but it is the best Thor film in the God of Thunder’s trilogy of films. Perhaps even the whole MCU—and that’s not just whistling Dixie.
Thor: Rangnarok follows the title character Thor Odinson (Hemsworth) as he continues the quest he undertook in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Namely, locating and safeguarding as many infinity stones as he can lay his hands on. This is a dangerous quest fraught with perils of all sorts, but it is a journey that eventually leads him home to Asgard, where his finds his father Odin (Hopkins) lounging and watching theatre. After a brief war of words, it is revealed that Odin is none other then Loki (Hiddleston) in disguise. Thor makes Loki take him to the last place he left their brain addled father, only to discover Odin is missing. This leads the feuding sibling to an encounter with New York’s Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch). The good Doctor reconnects them with Odin an a cliffside in Norway.
Odin warns his sons that when his life-force leaves his body to become part of infinity, his oldest offspring, their sister Hela, The Goddess of Death (Blanchett) will be released from her prison to wreak havoc on all 9 Realms. Odin bids his boys farewell and promptly dissipates into the ether. Moments later, a portal rips open in the fabric of reality and Hela steps forth, free of her cage. Thor pleads with his sister to see reason, and when she refuses, Thor sends Mjölnir to persuade her. Much to Thor and Loki’s shocked surprise, Hela grabs Thor’s hammer out of midair and shatters it like glass. Afraid for his life, Loki calls for a quick Bi-Frost exit, only for Hela to hitch a ride and kick both of her brothers out into the cosmos.
Hela goes on to Asgard to enact her plan of total domination. Thor and Loki, on the other hand, wind up stranded on Sakaar, essentially a dump planet surrounded by portals in which derbies falls through. Thor is captured by Valkyrie (Thompson), one of the best scrappers on the planet, and taken to Grandmaster (Goldblum) the leader of Skaar and purveyor of a gladiatorial games. Loki, on the other hand, has weaseled his way into Grandmaster’s favor and is doing quite well for himself. Thor reluctantly agrees to fight the Grandmaster’s champion to attain his freedom. However, it turns out that Grandmaster’s champion is none other then the Incredible Hulk (Ruffalo). An epic battle ensues, with both contestants taking each other to their limits. Unfortunately for Thor, the contest is a draw, and his freedom is kept at arm’s reach.
I am going to stop the synopsis here. I just realized I could go on for another dozen paragraphs detailing how awesome Thor: Ragnarok turned out. Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella) directed the first Thor film, and I applauded his efforts. Alan Taylor (Terminator Genisys) directed the sequel Thor: The Dark World, and I appreciate the dark places he took the character. Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) was given the responsibility of helming Thor: Ragnarok, and what he delivered is a visual masterpiece. Thor: Ragnarok literally has it all: fighting, betrayal, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, a touch of romance, gut-busting hilarity, and one big, green Hulk booty. Go see Thor: Ragnarok. You will not be sorry you did. See it twice even. I did, and I’ll most likely go see it again. Now get together your crew and go have some fun at the movies.