|Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston|
"Asgard is not a place -- it's a people."
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) manages to defeat the fire demon, Surtur and his impressive dragon, but then learns that he has to take on his sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), who happens to be the Goddess of Death! (In the early Thor comic books Thor and Hela were not related). But while Hela is wreaking havoc on Asgard, Thor is imprisoned on a strange planet ruled by a weird character named the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), who pits Thor against his special champion in an arena -- the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)! Will Thor be able to convince his fellow Avenger, as well as his untrustworthy brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and a fierce Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to escape the Grandmaster and rescue Asgard from Hela? What do you think? Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge and unexpected hit, and it was played mostly for laughs, so it was decided to try the flippant, almost campy approach with this latest installment of the Thor series (following Thor and Thor: Dark World). As much as I may lament this approach in most instances, the fact remains that Thor: Ragnarok is better and much more entertaining than the previous Thor films. Although the characters perhaps dally too long on the Grandmaster's planet, the film is fast-paced, colorful, full of some amazing FX (including a gargantuan canine) and well-done action scenes, and features some amusing and lively performances. Hemsworth and Hiddleston make good, somewhat friendly brothers and adversaries, Goldblum is fine as a campy version of an old Marvel cosmic character; and Blanchett [Blue Jasmine] basically steals the movie with her stylish and impressive turn as the dark goddess Hela. There is also nice work from Anthony Hopkins as Odin; Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange; Karl Urban as Skurge; and Idris Elba as Heimdall. The art direction is striking, as is Javier Aguirresarobe's cinematography; and Mark Mothersbaugh's music is effectively "grandiose" when required. NOTE: To read about the comic book adventures of Thor see The Silver Age of Comics.
Verdict; Too silly and flip perhaps but undeniably well-made, good to look at, and exciting. ***.