Review by Christine Thompson
Go ahead, indulge in the latest Marvel Installation Thor: Ragnarok. It’s a rollicking good time, with laughs, drama, action, big stars and a great if predictable story. But this is Marvel, and this Thor, Asgard, The Hulk and a few new characters -including a sister they never knew about. Once they do find out her – boy are they sorry. After all, she goes by the moniker Hela, The Goddess of Death. Played with cool, even ice cold aplomb by Kate Blanchett, this terrifying big sister has it in for everyone. Even Loki is afraid of her. Surely this chick had some real-life little brothers squirming in their theater seats with flashbacks of their own lives.
Stan Lee’s Marvel world has always been relatable, and a family squabble erupts full force creating a chain of events that…oh wait. This film actually starts with a chain, the opening scene has Thor wrapped like a cocoon in a large chain, dangling and spinning. As he breaks the third wall, he poses the question to the audience with “Now, I know what you’re thinking. How did this happen?”
This is New Zealand Director Taika Waititi’s first Hollywood film, having been nominated previously for an Academy Award for the short film “Two Cars, One Night.” His feature films “Boy” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” became top grossing New Zealand films. Horror comedy “What We Do in the Shadows,” which he co-directed with Jemaine Clement, also won critical acclaim (and is available on Amazon, another must see). There’s some seriously funny, tongue in cheek humor in Thor: Ragnarok you can attribute to Waititi. Pretty good for a guy who was started making films with the 48-hour film festival in 2005.
The all-star cast is rounded out by an amazing Jeff Goldblum, playing a dastardly Grandmaster who pits (spoiler alert) The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) against his erstwhile friend. The addition of Tessa Thompson as a Valkyrie who reluctantly aids our heroes between swigs of alcohol, adds another layer of the “us against them” theme.
Stan Lee’s cameo is well-timed and very funny. Mark Ruffalo’s sulky Hulk is matched by Chris Hemsworth’s petulant Thor, further layering the “family” dynamics of the film. The end result is a movie that’s great fun and leaves you wanting the next Marvel installment sooner rather than later.
Here’s the trailer. You’re welcome.