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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Thor: Ragnarok 3-D

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
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Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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Thor: Ragnarok  3-D | Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tessa Thompkins, Karl Urban, Idris Elba | Review

Aw, Hela no! Talk about sibling rivalry.  If you thought the Thor/Loki feud was “lit” as they say, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  Odin’s first-born, Hela, Goddess of Death, a vision in black antler and smoky eyeliner craving destruction and execution, emerges to take her rightful (but wrong-headed) spot as heir to Asgard’s throne.  But first…

A caged Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is reminded of the prophesied Ragnarok (his home planet Asgard’s version of Armageddon) by fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown, voice) in an opening sequence. After a battle that leaves Thor victorious, Surtur’s skull is locked away on Asgard; Thor believes he has saved his planet from annihilation.

Seeking out his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) on Asgard, Thor finds only shape shifter brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).  With the help of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) Thor locates Odin in a windswept cliff in Norway just in time for the one-eyed patriarch to tell him (and tag-along Loki) that they have a big and very bad sister before dying.  Asgardians are not immortal, just extraordinarily long-lived.

Hela (Cate Blanchett) is more powerful than either of her brothers, and Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, is her first casualty.  Wait, Thor without his hammer?  Perhaps that’s why he finds himself captured by bounty hunter Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompkins) and hauled to the junkyard planet Sakaar, presided over by Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) a decadent, disco-loving dandy. There he’s made into a Contender in a coliseum-like matchup against an unknown opponent, losing his long golden locks in a gleeful cameo appearance by a comic creator/icon.  Hey, no spoilers here.

There’s also no hammer and a lot less hair; what else could possibly go wrong for the God of Thunder?

His unknown opponent turns out to be the biggest, meanest and greenest Avenger.  Thor must face the Hulk in a coliseum-type death match where the two literally mop the floor with each other.  

As it turns out, Scrapper 142 is an Asgardian Valkyrie who has a history of conflict with Hella.  Thor assembles a team to combat Hela, her executioner Skurge (Karl Urban) and her resurrected army of dead warriors.

Along with Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), 142, Korg (a creature made of rocks) and Miek, a sympathetic sidekick, Thor’s crew heads to Asgard where Gatekeeper Heimdall (Idris Elba) is hiding/guarding  the population and is in possession of the sword Hela needs to expand her empire.  What will she ever do?

Battle scenes ensue, in 3-D that is somewhat effective, but not a requirement to enjoy the character’s interactions, the best of which issue forth from their mouths, not their weapons.

The Thor/Loki rivalry is like a rapid tennis match of barbs, quips, tricks, betrayals, and occasional moments of brotherly connection.  Hiddleston’s Loki is reliably unreliable; Ruffalo’s Banner is a nerdy, likeable nebbish, and Hemsworth is endearingly dorky. Blanchett chews up and spits out scenery, enjoying every bite.  The orange-eyed Elba shows us that Heimdall is a badass. Goldblum’s flamboyant Grandmaster will most likely appear elsewhere in the franchise.

Director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) also voices the rock-man Korg character, and replicates the humor and witty repartee of Guardians of the Galaxy (Asgard-ians of the Galaxy?) to helm a wise cracking, self-aware script that revels in the ludicrous and laudable.
 
A screenwriting trio of Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle (Planet Hulk) and Christopher Yost (Thor: The Dark World) overstuff the cinematic sandwich a bit, cramming so much into it that the ingredients make for a messy bite.  Still, it tastes good.  

At 130 minutes, it’s longer than either of its two Thor predecessors, but the ride is full of fun and folly, frenzy and foolishness.  Look for two film snippets, one during the credits and one directly after.

Odin is gone, but Asgard lives on (and on, and on, and on).