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   Movie Reviews: Thor: Ragnarok
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Studio:
     Disney/Marvel (2 hrs. 10 mins)
Plot:
     Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, and a fighting race against time to prevent Hela (the goddess of death) from destroying Asgard.
Cast:
     Chris Hemsworth, Kate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch
Rating:
     PG-13
Bottom Line:
     ***

Coverage:
by
Laurence Washington

There’s a new Thor movie in town, and thankfully it’s far better than the first two. In fact, this new installment “Thor: Ragnarok,” isn’t really your run-of-the-mill Marvel fare. Admittedly, it has more CGI special effects than the law allows, however, “Ragarok” offers a sense of humor, and doesn’t wait for another franchise to parody it. There’s plenty of self-deprecating humor, which makes it fun to watch for two and a half hours.

From the beginning of the film, Thor, (Chris Hemsworth) is a wisecracking superhero. Not on the level as Deadpool or Tony Stark, but enjoyable nonetheless. Maybe that’s what is fresh about “Ragnarok,” plus the action takes place on a parallel world and not on Earth. So there is something new there.

The film’s premise finds Thor banished to an intergalactic trash dump planet by his sister Hela (Kate Blanchett), the goddess of death, who destroys Thor’s hammer and wreaks havoc on Asgard. Actually, Hela, who was banished herself by Oden, has daddy issues and is looking for a little payback. Since Oden isn’t available, Thor will have to do.

Thor is caught by a bounty hunter (Tessa Thompson)in the trash dump, and is forced to compete in gladiator battles against intergalactic beings by the planet’s emperor “Grandmaster” (Jeff Goldblum). Also, it bares mentioning that Jeff Goldblum basically plays a quirky character modeled after himself. He’s wonderful, and he moves the film along.

I’m not giving away any spoilers when I say that Thor’s first opponent is The Incredible Hulk. Every trailer produced about this film reveals that fact. The film would have been better if were a surprise. Not sure how the Hulk arrived on the trash planet, I was probably reaching over for some popcorn and missed the explanation. The fact is, the Hulk is there, and he doesn’t remember Thor from the good ole days with the Avengers. Maybe Thor’s new haircut has something to do with it. Hard to say.

That being said, Thor and the Hulk renew their battle from their first meeting in “The Avengers” (’12). The pair eventually team up to take on Hela, who’s sporting a gawd awful antler-hat. Oden should have banished her for wearing that hat alone.

“Ragarok” also has cameos by Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and clothes from Tony Stark’s wardrobe. Idris Elba returns as Heimdall, the all-hearing guardian sentry of Asgard. Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki, Thor’s mischievous adopted brother, who still cannot be trusted. An as expected, there are two after credit scenes, one of which sets up the next Avengers movie. I say this with every Marvel film review: “Remain seated until the houselights come on and you’re asked to exit the theatre.”

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