Thor: Ragnarok Review
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Summer Blockbuster Season may be over, but that doesnít mean that Marvelís superheroes need to go into hibernation for the cooler months. And the latest action-packed, planet-hopping Avengers adventure, Thor: Ragnarok, manages to heat things back up in theaters.

Thor: Ragnarok opens with Chris Hemsworthís Asgardian God of Thunder imprisoned on a distant planet. When he discovers that Asgard is defenseless and about to be destroyed, he fights his way back home, only to find that his troublemaking brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), has banished their father to Earth and taken over the throne. But things go from bad to worse for Thor and his people when the ruthless Goddess of Death, Hela (Cate Blanchett), returns to stake her own claim to the throne of Asgard.

Audiences have seen Thor in action numerous times since his 2011 debutóbut the character never gets old. He may be a powerful god, but he also has a playful sense of humor and a kind of childlike sense of wonder. And Hemsworth once again shines in his latest adventure. The supporting cast here is differentóNatalie Portmanís Jane and her colleagues remain back on Earthóbut there are plenty of fun new characters to take their place.

Thor: Ragnarok is undeniably Marvel. Itís explosive and visually stunning, visiting a variety of eye-catching sets as it travels from the grand and glorious Asgard to the streets of New York City and the cliffs of Norway to the far reaches of the universe. And itís all done with the kind of fun-filled playfulness that fits with both the franchise and the character.

At the same time, though, director Taika Waititi brings an extra eccentric flair to the adventure. Not only is it big and thrilling and action-packed, but itís also wonderfully quirky. In his quest to save Asgard from Hela, Thor ends up on a strange side trip to the planet of Sakaar, where Jeff Goldblum plays the wacky Grandmaster who hosts massive gladiator-style battles. Thereís something about the planet thatís reminiscent of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, with its deadly battles and its wildly eccentric characters. Though itís a pretty rough planet, Sakaar has its own cool styleóand itís given a fun, electronic score to match (courtesy of Devoís Mark Mothersbaugh). Granted, most of this latest Thor adventure is a lengthy side trip. But despite the randomness of it all, itís all so entertaining that it just works.

It may be November, but that doesnít mean that itís time to settle into slower, heavier winter films. Because not only is Thor: Ragnarok a whole lot of fun, but itís more fun than most of this yearís summer blockbusters.

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