Walt Disney Pictures, still in their embarrassment of riches phase, has pretty much figured out that whatever the studio churns out will make money. Thankfully, Kevin Feige and company have no desire to coast to the finish line. The clear winner here, at least so far, has been the countless fans of the franchise. Being an industry built on profit, I’m sure Marvel Studios quite pleased with its out of this world revenue, totaling over $12.5 billion worldwide to date. If you build a solid product, people will support it. While the comic book competition struggles movie after movie to find an identity, the MCU continues to dominate and present new reasons to be excited. As we approach a major apex in the overall massive “big picture” storyline (whispers “just six months until Avengers: Infinity War), there are still some smaller areas that have life left in them. Thor: Ragnarok hopes to keep tradition alive while also paving a golden road to the next stage.
Thor (Christopher Hemsworth) has been keeping himself busy these days by doing a little galactic gallivanting. The tireless search is on to locate the mysterious Infinity Stones but he’s met by other, more immediate obstacles starting with Surtur, a fiery demon hellbent on laying waste to Thor’s home planet, Asgard. This is just the start of Thor’s new woes. He comes face to face with his most formidable and deadly foe yet, Hela (Cate Blanchett), and she’s playing for keeps. If that isn’t enough, Thor ends up displaced on a garbage planet run by an interesting individual simply called the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). It’s here that Thor crosses paths with several unexpected characters, but none more surprising than his old friend Hulk. Thor gains a new perspective on his situation, and in the process he also gains a new team. If he is to defeat the all powerful goddess Hela, Thor must evolve to new heights.
Thor: Ragnarok is the theatrical equivalent of a Jerry Springer episode. There’s more family drama than you can shake a stick at. I envy those that don’t know the detailed history of the comic stories or any moviegoers that have been able to avoid the countless promotional trailers, commercials and clips. This is easily one of the most enjoyable, from a fun perspective, feature films of the MCU thus far. It’s up there with Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Ant-Man (2015) for sure. And that’s saying a lot for a Thor-led feature. Aside from the wonderfully mischievous Loki (Tom Hiddleston), there weren’t too many opportunities for lighthearted banter in past films. Just like Thor’s signature hair, the dullness has been chopped.
Cate Blanchett will be the new actor you’ll love to hate. Jeff Goldblum’s scattered behavior will add to the comedic side, as will Taika Waititi’s rocky character, Korg. Waititi not only directs these enjoyable mix of characters, he’s leading by example. Other actors of note are Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson and Karl Urban. At “only” 130 minutes, Thor: Ragnarok must keep up a pretty brisk pace in order to cover the wide scope of characters as well as their stories.
From a pure enjoyment perspective, Thor: Ragnarok is where all the fun is at. It has everything you’d want to see in a big budget production like this. You’ve got great characters to lean on, the story is first rate and there’s a ton of funny scenes. How can you go wrong? In a time where there are so many sequels flooding the market, Marvel has found a way to make us anticipate them rather than dreading their arrival. And accomplishing this feat with so many different moving parts is simply amazing. With other potential big hitters invading theaters this holiday season, I think Thor: Ragnarok is going to set the bar pretty darn high. Catch it in theaters now.