‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is silliest, funniest Thor yet

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This is the third and best, by far, of the “Thor” trilogy. In the Marvel Film Universe, hunky Australian actor Chris Hemsworth returns as the celebrated Norse God of Thunder. On the 55th anniversary of the “Thor” Comic, we are wowed by the action and incredible effects, but there’s something very different about this spectacle; humor, lots of it.

Over the years, comic book movies invested serious time, effort and hundreds of millions of dollars to convince the world their stories had weight, content and relevance. The first two “Thor” flicks (2011, 2013) were entertaining, but were produced toward the end of an overdone genre that pleased fan boys, but became stale to the general public.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) changed all that by poking fun at itself with hilarity that utterly mocked the genre. Then, “Deadpool” (2016) turned the tables completely upside down with wit, humor and shockingly rude and crude vulgarity. Thankfully, “Thor: Ragnarok” remembers this is a comic book and is intended to entertain, which it does.

If “Guardians” and “Deadpool” were fun, “Thor” is funny, hilarious and almost slapstick. New Zealand director Taika Waititi, fills the screen with action, visual radiance and one-line zingers in equal parts. Waititi claims the lines were only 20 percent scripted. Based on specific concepts of the storyline, the actors improvised the remainder. Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe expressed this experience as both satisfying and frustrating.

This is Chapter Five of Phase Three in the Marvel Cinematic Film Universe. If you’re a fan boy, you already knew that, and if not, you probably don’t care; and that’s the attitude of this picture. It throws numerous inside jokes and references to the Marvel Universe, but doing so tongue-in-cheek puts a smile on everyone’s face.

In an early scene, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) creates a theatrical play as an ode to himself. Matt Damon plays Loki, Sam Neill plays Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Luke Hemsworth (brother of Chris) plays Thor. But, later in the movie, Jeff Goldblum steals the show as a dim-witted, narcissistic, self-glorifying emperor called the Grandmaster.

Thor becomes a prisoner of the Grandmaster. His only means of release is to beat the reigning champion, who turns out to be The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Thor reveals to the crowd, “We know each other, he’s a friend from work!” Afterwards, Thor explains to Hulk’s alter ego, Bruce Banner, “I don’t hang with the Avengers anymore, it all got too corporate.” When asked the name of his team, Thor responds, “Uh, The Revengers.”

They join forces to prevent Thor’s all-powerful sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying their home and the Asgardian civilization. Hela, Norse goddess of death and apocalypse, is the first female main villain in a Marvel Comic Universe film. Blanchett accepted the role to impress her children, big fans of Marvel Comics.

Most of the supporting cast members are big stars but do not have enough to do, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Idris Elba, Karl Urban, Ray Stevenson and Zachary Levi. In a rare musical soundtrack contribution, Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” was selected for its powerful vocals as well as its reference to Norse mythology.

“Thor: Ragnarok” is 130 minutes and rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and suggestive material. This is Hemsworth’s third solo outing in this role, but sixth film appearance as Thor. He bulked up with twenty pounds of muscle for the role and is the only Avenger who has a shirtless scene in all three of his solo films. Good decision, are we right ladies?

This movie is not only fun, but delivers more funny for your money. In one scene Loki glares at his brother Thor like Eli Manning did when Peyton won his last Super Bowl. This movie sets up next year’s “Avengers: Infinity War.” When Thor is asked what makes him think he can succeed against Ragnarok, he states, “Because that’s what heroes do!”

Ron’s Rating: A-
Leigh’s Rating: B+

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Ron & Leigh Martel