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Thor: Ragnarok

The God of Thunder finally gets a movie worthy of Valhalla in this delightful action romp

© Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Pictures Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok — the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger, the Incredible Hulk.
     Visions of the destruction of Asgard send Thor (Chris Hemsworth: Ghostbusters) on a quest to save his kingdom. Returning home after battling monsters, he finds chaos.
     Posing as their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins: Transformers: The Last Knight), Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston: Kong: Skull Island) has taken control. Before Thor can stop his mischievous brother, a new problem arises in the form of a long-lost sister Hela, the goddess of death.
     Banished by Odin, Hela (Cate Blanchett: Song to Song) has come to reclaim Asgard’s throne. Without the Allfather to protect the kingdom, Thor and Loki must thwart their sister’s bloodthirsty designs.
     Their attempt is disastrous, and the brothers find themselves stranded on a faraway world ruled by a lunatic (Jeff Goldblum: Independence Day: Resurgence) who organizes gladiator combats for popular entertainment. The most popular gladiator is an angry big green guy. 
      Reunited with the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo: Now You See Me 2), Thor devises a plan to defeat Hela and reclaim Asgard before Ragnarok is triggered. 
      After three tries, the Thor series has finally found a winning tone and storyline. Under the direction of Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), the God of Thunder becomes more than sound and fury. Ably transitioning from quirky and sidesplitting small films to big-budget action blockbusters, Waititi focuses on the fun and whimsy of a world of Viking gods and magical intergalactic travel. The result is a candy-colored piece of synth-pop-fueled action that is hilariously entertaining. 
     Gone are the dark Shakespearean pretensions of the disastrous Dark World film. Instead, Waititi keeps the visuals interesting and the audience laughing. In his first attempt at action sequences, he crafts heart-pounding fights to the wails of Led Zeppelin.
     The cast shares in the success.
     As Thor, Hemsworth is fantastic as an immature, slightly goofy god. He uses his innate comic timing to wring laughs from nearly every scene. His good-natured, bull-headed Thor barrels at problems at top speed rather than thinking out solutions. Even at his most obtuse, Thor is sympathetic and charming. 
     The best moments, however, belong to Tessa Thompson (South Dakota). Her Valkyrie is fierce, funny and whip-smart. 
      Though one of the better recent films in the Marvel universe, Thor: Ragnarok has a couple of problems. The last act drags slightly, so you’ll likely feel the over two-hour running time. Blanchett looks divine, but much of Hela’s screen time feels perfunctory. 
     Still, with a great soundtrack, impressive visuals and a winning story, Thor: Ragnarok is one of the best popcorn action flicks of the year. Adults will laugh at the nuanced jokes, and kids will enjoy the bright colors and slapstick. It’s a needed reboot to the one underperforming franchise in the Marvel Comic universe. Though Ragnarok means the end of the world for Thor, it looks like the beginning of great things for the Viking hero. 
Great Comic Action • PG-13 • 130 mins.
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