Sunday, March 4, 2018
Video review: "Thor: Ragnarok"
“Thor: Ragnarok” is the franchise’s full-flip dive into comedy mode, despite the storyline based on the fabled end-times apocalypse of the Norse gods. It’s rather an incongruous fit -- imagine a Biblical story set to the hilarious stylings of the Crucifixion -- but it’s hard to deny the sheer entertainment might of this movie.
Chris Hemsworth returns as the god of thunder, who’s brought low by the apparent death of his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and the revival of his evil sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), from eons of well-deserved imprisonment.
In short order she defeats Thor and his occasionally-do-well brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) -- destroying Thor’s mythic hammer in the process -- takes over their home world of Asgard and leaves the brothers banished to a far corner of the galaxy. They spend much of the movie trapped on the planet of Sakaar, where other civilizations dump their garbage, be it hazardous materials or underperforming life forms.
There the kooky Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) holds reign, overseeing the gladiatorial games that form Sakaar’s chief form of entertainment. Thor is quickly conscripted into the arena, where he encounters an old pal in the form of the Hulk, who sporadically reverts to his milder human version, Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo).
New characters include Tessa Thompson as a bounty hunter with a secret link to Asgard; Karl Urban as Skurge, Hela’s right-hand henchman; and Korg, a sweetly dim rock-like creature surviving in the gladiator ranks, who’s performed via voice and motion capture by Taika Waititi, who also directed the film.
(Korg’s scaly, rocky epidermis is so convincing, it becomes clear to me that all previous attempts to create the Thing in Fantastic Four projects must have been deliberately tanked.)
Of course, it’s all building up to another face-off with Hela, who coos and vamps like Greta Garbo given the full super-villain treatment.
With its fantastical science fiction backdrop and rain of funny one-liners, “Thor: Ragnarok” is a gleeful entry to the Marvel Comics Universe that doesn’t really make sense, or need to.
Bonus features are quite expansive. There is a director’s commentary track, deleted and extended scenes, gag reel, a new short film that gives clues to the Grandmaster’s life in exile, and featurettes focusing on the powerful female characters, the world of Sakaar, a tongue-in-cheek look at Korg and more.
Digital exclusives add more deleted scenes and “Evolution of Thor and Hulk’s Bromance,” which pretty much tells you all you need to know.