‘Thor: Ragnarok’ may be more fun than ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

During a brief trip to Earth — err, Midgard — Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is approached by a female fan hoping for a selfie. “Sorry Jane dumped you,” she consoles him, before he awkwardly stammers out something about how the dumping was mutual.

Bro — if I can call the God of Thunder “bro” — you’re better off without her. So’s your latest movie.

Thor is one of the most enjoyable characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his stand-alone movies are among the worst in the series. Thankfully, “Thor: Ragnarok” doesn’t just sever ties with Natalie Portman’s Jane and her colleagues, who had formed the backbone of the first two films, it throws out everything you thought you knew about the Avenger. It also, occasionally, breaks with any form of recognizable reality.

It’s as though director Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows”) mapped the fun genome, tossed the DNA strands about willy-nilly, then doused them in Pixy Stix and shot them out of a confetti cannon during a Flight of the Conchords show.

Working from a script by Marvel TV veterans Craig Kyle, Christopher L. Yost and Eric Pearson, Waititi has crafted a movie so gobsmackingly fun, at times it makes “Guardians of the Galaxy” feel like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Whenever you expect “Thor: Ragnarok” to bob, it weaves. When you think it’s going to zig, it hurtles its heroes toward a space portal known as The Devil’s Anus.

Put it this way, you know you’ve struck gold when you cast two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett as Hela, the Goddess of Death — who’s Hela-bent on ruling Asgard and conquering far more than just its Nine Realms — and it barely cracks the 10 most interesting things about your sequel.

After the arrival of Hela, Thor is cast out of the Bifrost and onto Sakaar, a “collection point for all lost and unloved things.” Built on chaos and indulgence, it’s basically the Electric Daisy Planet, ruled by The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), who, if I’m not mistaken, also is the leader of an Empire of the Sun-inspired synth band. (Seriously.) With his pompadour, eyeliner, one-sleeved gold lame robe and matching electric blue soulpatch and fingernails, The Grandmaster is Peak Goldblum. He’s also much the way I imagine the actor to be at home.

Thor’s taken prisoner from atop a trash heap by a scrapper (Tessa Thompson) and sold to a delighted Grandmaster — let’s face it, The Grandmaster is pretty much eternally delighted — to square off against his champion, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), in gladiatorial combat.

And it wouldn’t be a Thor movie — and Sakaar wouldn’t be a collection point for unloved things — without the presence of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who, thanks to his status as a fan favorite, continues his ever-so-slow trudge toward redemption.

Bruce Banner has been stuck in Hulk mode for the past two years, ever since blasting off at the end of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and he’s feeling the aftereffects. That gives him a legitimate excuse to behave strangely. Why Thor is just now letting his inner goofball emerge, though, is never explained. And you’ll be too busy laughing to notice that Ragnarok, the titular prophesied destruction of Asgard, is back-burnered for most of the movie.

Elsewhere, Heimdall (Idris Elba) finally gets to do more than turn the sword-thingy to open the rainbow bridge — and, yeah, despite all the reinvention, the fact that some of the most virile warriors in the universe are forced to rely on something called the rainbow bridge continues to be the silliest thing of all.

“Thor: Ragnarok’s” ambitions even extend to its music, from a Willy Wonka reference to setting a fight to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” If you weren’t already bouncing out of your seat from joy, former Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh’s score will get you there.

It’s the best MCU work yet from Hemsworth and Ruffalo, but the real MVP is Waititi, who also turns up as Korg, a lovable, oddly polite gladiator made of rocks.

After the disappointments of 2011’s “Thor” and 2013’s “Thor: The Dark World,” something clearly needed to be done.

All Waititi did was deliver Marvel’s OMG-iest movie yet.

Review

Movie: “Thor: Ragnarok”

Running time: 130 minutes

Rating: PG-13; intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material

Grade: A-

Now playing: At multiple locations

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Las Vegas residency
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Vegas residency (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Panel talks Impossible Burger 2.0
Panel talks Impossible Burger at CES during launch at Border Grill on Monday, Jan. 7. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Dream of AJ Montgomery
AJ Montgomery lost part of his leg in a vehicle accident but found his dream as a performer in “Le Reve.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly Clinton-Holmes of the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes chats with Kelly Clinton-Holmes, director of the Stirling Club's New Year's Eve entertainment.
Month-by-month entertainment coming in 2019
“True Detective” Season 3, HBO (Jan. 13) Travis Scott, T-Mobile Arena (Feb. 6) Robbie Williams, Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas (March 6, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 16) “Game of Thrones” Season 8, HBO (April) Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (May 17-19) “Fiddler on the Roof,” The Smith Center (June 4-9) “The Lion King” (July 19) Psycho Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay (Aug. 16-18) Life is Beautiful, downtown Las Vegas (Sept. 20-22) “Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum” (Oct. 15) “Frozen 2” (Nov. 22) “Star Wars: Episode IX” (Dec. 20)
Lacey Huszcza invites you to find something to love at the Las Vegas Philharmonic
Lacey Huszcza, executive director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic talks about the orchestra's wealth of programming. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gina Marinelli offers La Strega preview
Gina Marinelli used a pop-up New Year’s Eve dinner at Starboard Tack to preview items she’ll feature at her new Summerlin restaurant, La Strega. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Year’s Eve at Sparrow + Wolf
Sparrow + Wolf’s New Year’s Eve party was a sort of official unveiling of its newly renovated space. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Debra Kelleher Of The Stirling Club
Debra Kelleher, DK Hospitality President talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the Stirling Club.
Richard Ditton Of The Stirling Club
Richard Ditton, an investment partner of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
NYE at the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes reports from the reopening of the Stirling Club on New Year's Eve 2018.
Michael Stapleton of the Stirling Club
Michael Stapleton, COO of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
Recap the Countdown on Fremont Street — VIDEO
Nearly 40,000 people packed Fremont Street to enjoy America's Party Downtown. As the tradition stands, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman counted down the clock on the 3rd Street Stage, alongside her husband and former mayor, Oscar Goodman.
New Year's Eve live from the Las Vegas Strip Bellagio Fountains - Video
Reporter Aaron Drawhorn near the Bellagio Fountains as hundreds of thousands gather to celebrate New Year's Eve in Las Vegas
Ryan Reaves describes the flavors in Training Day beer
Ryan Reaves talks about the flavor of Training Day, the new beer from 7Five Brewing that was launched at the PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves describes his new beer
Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves talks about his new beer from 7Five Brewing at a launch party at PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' five biggest NYE concerts
Imagine Dragons at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Lady Gaga at The Park Theater at Park MGM, Maroon 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Bruno Mars at T-Mobile Arena, and Tenacious D at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye @bizutesfaye
New American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
Bellagio Conservatory display is Majestic Holiday Magic
Majestic Holiday Magic at the Bellagio Conservatory
Las Vegas Ready for 2019 NYE Fireworks Show
The city of Las Vegas is ready to celebrate "America's Party" with a new and improved fireworks show that will pay tribute to the Golden Knights.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like