Humorous and Rousingly Exciting
Rabid fans of Marvel Comics -- and of all the characters Marvel has created -- will be thrilled with director Taika Waititi’s irreverent take on hammer-wielding, muscle-bound Thor in this smashing Marvel/Disney production. Laced with comical scenes and dialogue, Thor: Ragnarok takes a lighter view of all the doomsday predictions about the loss of Asgard, Thor’s home planet. This is probably due to director Waititi’s penchant for comedy routines as he is a professional comic himself. He toured successfully in his native New Zealand and Australia with partner Jemaine Clement. Thus, the levity sprinkled throughout, with some funny lines given to the various characters, is prevalent. Mostly, however, it is Chris Hemsworth’s Thor who gets most of the comical text, and he shines through as an actor who might possibly be a sensation in a comedy film.
Waititi explains that Ragnarok means “the destruction of everything,” but he says it’s really disassembling what’s there already and rebuilding it. Thereby we have the theme of the film: Thor’s apprehension about his home planet being destroyed, but he wants to save it, of course, for his people.
And who wants to carry out this dastardly deed? Why, his evil sister Hela, of course. Thor’s battles with his evil brother Loki (deliciously played by Brit Tom Hiddleston) have gotten him nowhere, so out of the blue comes a sister his dad Odin (Anthony Hopkins) didn’t tell him about. An “Affaire du Coeur” perhaps? Pardon my fractured French!
When Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the Universe, he has to do battle with his former friend Hulk. With Hulk being three times the size of Thor, the action scenes are slam-bang, wrecking crew style. So naturally, Thor must use all his resources, He has a big hammer and he clouts the Hulk into submission. Or does he?
Meanwhile back at the asteroid, black-hearted Hela (Cate Blanchett) has plans of her own, and they don’t include living as a happy family with her siblings. She wants power, she HAS power, and she nearly wipes out everything she touches. Ms. Blanchett, of the Sydney school of theatre acting, chews the scenery and blows everyone away who might come near the camera. She’s not about to share the frame with just anybody, but Hemsworth holds his own and doesn’t let mean little sis get away with much. They are a formidable couple, each at odds with the other, and Blanchett wins the acting honors. She’s phenomenal and makes what could be a stock characterization into someone special and delectably evil.
Kudos go to the production and art direction teams as well as to set director Beverly Dunn. Much attention has been paid to futuristic architectural styles, and many of the buildings depicted show an imaginative mind created the designs. Mayes Rubeo’s costumes add to the out-of-this-world feeling of interplanetary design evolvement.
The more than two-hour running time of the film is greatly softened by the many comic situations and sharply funny dialogue. It is not stodgy or stuffy in the least, as you might imagine a sci-fi film to be written.
Director Waititi has made a rousingly exciting film enhanced by its comic moments. Hemsworth proves worthy of his salary as he is the hunk of the day (apologies to Bruce Banner), and his Aussie good looks will make many viewers swoon over his hamhock-sized biceps and his “jump-on-me” come-hither looks. Ladies beware! It’s a terrific show!
(Released by Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios and rated “PG-13” for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material.)