Thor: Ragnarok ★★★★

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A great time. So the god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth) is back. He has his work cut out for him when his long lost sister and the goddess of death (Cate Blanchett) shows up, and she has the domination of all the realms on her mind. To further exacerbate things, Thor finds himself stranded on a scavenger planet that is home to a people that fancy themselves gladiator connoisseurs, so some brawling seems to be in his near future, and the cherry on top of it all is that he has to do all of this without his hammer. Just when you think that superhero movies have reached their saturation point, Marvel shows up and goes 3 for 3 for 2017. I was hotly anticipating Ragnarok in advance, even before all of the positive word of mouth started to circulate. This did not disappoint, and I walked away a happy camper.

If the consolidated team up movie is the new Marvel model between the giant crossover events, I am all about it. It worked with flying colors with Homecoming, and it is a raucous good time here as well. The thing you have to understand about Ragnarok is how much of a comedy it is. Sure, the first Thor worked the whole fish out of water angle for a few comedic moments, but it was largely serious, as was The Dark World. This is played as a comedy on the forefront, and a well-written one at that. At this point, you are already very familiar with these characters that have larger than life personalities, so not a ton of set up is required to make jokes at their expense. It makes it so this moves at a good clip, and you are always laughing with it. Doing your homework and watching all of the proceeding movies isn’t mandatory, but there are a few cameos and in jokes that are featured to give you an extra reaction for those who have been keeping up. And even if you have no background at all, you can at the very least appreciate what Jeff Goldblum brings to the table. He is essentially playing an alternate universe version of himself, and it is wildly entertaining. It’s to the point that I wouldn’t mind seeing a spin off movie about his rise to power, and I am sure it would be as great of a movie as he is an actor.

Now I don’t think the second Thor was terrible, but it was definitely a stumble. They rebounded here in spectacular fashion, and I feel that this is easily the best Thor movie yet. All it really took was abandoning the human characters on Earth; all of the best parts of his other movies all have the common denominator in that they were all not on our planet, and Marvel finally took a hint. I liked all of the designs to this, and I dug the 80’s esque vibes and soundtrack; it wasn’t so much that it hit you over the head with it (as it would have been easy to do), and it gives a unique feel to this. I hope that Marvel keeps trying new things like this, and you’d be hard pressed not to have a fun with Ragnarok.

– Critic for Hire