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Thor: Ragnarok – one of Marvel’s best so far

Almost every early review of Marvel Studios’ new super hero movie “Thor: Ragnarok” cites how this is the funniest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies yet… and they’re right. The film gets laugh after laugh from the audience from a wide variety of jokes from multiple actors.

Ragnarok also provides answers to a couple important questions fans have been wondering about: 1) Where did Hulk get off to at the end of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” 2) How long can Loki impersonate Odin and get away with it (after all, ruling isn’t is strongest suit), and 3) when do we finally get to see Thanos in action. We do get answers to 2 of those questions, which leaves one for the next Avengers movie.

As the third movie in the Thor series, the movie does focus more on Asgard and the other realms than it does on Earth, although there is a visit. Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) makes a great cameo while Thor makes his brief visit to our planet. You’ve seen part of it in the after credits scene for Dr. Strange’s first movie. The scene is longer and even funnier than that. Let’s just say that Dr. Strange has mastered a few more powers and hilarity ensues.

I don’t want to give much of the plot away other than to say that it starts out with Thor out knocking on doors looking for answers to some questions that have been plaguing him with visions. The rest of the film focuses on a pretty standard plot line: Hero faces big villain, hero loses and goes into exile where he assembles a team to return and defeat the villain. But Comic Book movies don’t have to have a complicated plot to be enjoyable.

The movie owes a lot of its visual and aural aesthetic to what James Gunn brought to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The score by Mark Mothersbaugh fits the film’s milieu so perfectly it seems to drop out of existence at times.

There is also a good turn by Karl Urban as Skurge, a rogue Asgardian who aligns with the big baddy Hela. Cate Blanchett is almost unrecognizable as Hela, except for the method of glare acting she brings to the role. Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, and Mark Ruffalo are all enjoyable as Loki, Valkryie, and Hulk/Bruce Banner respectively, but Chris Hemsworth steals the movie (can you do that if it’s your movie) with his considerable comedic chops.

The movie is directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Taika Waititi (who also voices Korg, one of the CGI characters). Waititi, is a New Zealand native and brings the perspective of an outsider to the film.

“It was the chances to immerse myself in another world, in another culture,” said Waititi. “Obviously, being the Asgardian culture of which I’ve been a huge fan for many years. Since I was a child, I always dreamed and fantasized about being from outer space, being a space Viking, being an Asgardian.”

“I thought the way that I would approach this film would be very different to the first two films. And Marvel was down for that,” continued the director. “One of the things that also attracted me to the project was how Marvel told me that they wanted to really change up the franchise. They wanted to take Thor in a new direction…. to make him fun and have an adventure.”

“Thor: Ragnarok” is a great adventure with Thor the God of Thunder at the center. We recommend you get out and see it in 3D if you can for the extra dimension of realism. Stay through the credits for two bonus scenes. It opens wide in the US and Canada on November 3rd.