The latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Ragnarok, brings the fun, energy, and excitement that has come to be expected from Marvel films.  Director Taika Waititi does a great job of bringing some of the comic lore to the story, but also takes some cues from the widely successful Guardians of the Galaxy franchise by focusing on intergalactic action and comedy.

Hick's FLIX: Thor: Ragnarok Takes cues from Guardians, Brings Intergalactic Action and Comedy 1

The film begins with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) trapped in a cage, captive by Surtur, a giant flame monster.  He is told that Ragnarok, or the fall of Asgard, is imminent, and that his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is missing.  Thor escapes in dramatic fashion, fighting through many of Surtur’s minions while Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” blares onscreen. He eventually gets back to Asgard to meet with his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who he recruits to help him find their father.

The brothers go to Earth to find their father  where they are aided by Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in an entertaining, comedic cameo. The brothers find Odin, who informs them of their older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchette), “The Goddess of Death,” who has escaped from banishment and has come back to take Asgard.  Hela is a fearsome warrior, and proves quite a match for Thor, even being able to destroy his iconic hammer.

When Thor is driven from Asgard, he arrives on a trash planet, where he is about to be overtaken by the inhabitants who appear to be very similar to the Tusken Raiders of the Star Wars movies.  Right before they take him, he is captured by a bounty hunter (Tessa Thompson), who brings him to the arena of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum,) who holds battles between creatures whom have been captured and brought to him.  These gladiatorial battles are attended by many fans, and they all have a favorite fighter, who happens to be the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).  This brings the two Avengers back together, and allows them to attempt to go retrieve Asgard from the clutches of Hela.

The film is very well done, and is much better than the previous Thor film, Thor: The Dark World. The film appears to draw inspirations from other films such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and obviously the Guardians of the Galaxy films.  The colors and special effects are extremely well-done, and the fight scenes are well choreographed and fun.

The acting in the movie is great, and Hemsworth’s Thor brings all the charm that is expected of the Marvel protagonists.  The film showcases Hemsworth’s comedic talent, and does a great job of making the character very likeable and human, unlike his comic book counterpart.  The dynamic between the characters of Thor and Hulk/Bruce Banner is great, and the timing, both action-wise and in comedy are impeccable.

Blanchette is a great villain in her turn as Hela, and showcases her power to the nth degree throughout much of the second half of the movie.  She definitely passes as a formidable warrior, and her monstrous Fenris Wolf makes her seem that much more powerful.  Hiddleston as Loki, as it has been in the previous installments of the Thor and Avengers films, never quite shows which side he is on throughout the film.

The film’s minor roles are also jammed with high profile actors, such as Karl Urban (Star Trek) as Hela’s executioner, Skurge, and Idris Alba in his role as Heimdall. Both do a great job of driving the movie along.  Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster provides great comic relief and plays the part perfectly as the bumbling despot of Sakaar.  There are also early cameos from big names like Matt Damon and Sam Neill, along with the always-present Thor creator, Stan-Lee.

The film keeps Marvel’s tradition of explosive fun alive, while seamlessly mixing in action which drives the plot, and humor that keeps the audience laughing.  The movie is definitely worth seeing in theaters, and will leave the viewer wanting more.  Thor: Ragnarok definitely hammers it home. As with previous Marvel movies, make sure to stay until ALL the credits are done.

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