At this point it should come as no surprise that the Marvel Universe has pulled together another great story, yet “Thor: Ragnarok” still seems to be blowing everyone’s minds. Not that I blame them. It is incredibly well told and continues to do a great job of interweaving the ever-growing list of franchises.
Of course, it’s been a good long while since we had a standalone “Thor” movie, which may be hard to believe, mostly because we had “The Avengers,” to get us through, not to mention the constant parade of the (excellent…mostly) Marvel movies in the meantime (eight total…but who’s counting?).
My point being that calling this the third of a trilogy doesn’t seem quite right, it’s more like the 17th film in the much larger current Marvel Universe, and it fits quite perfectly.
For the most part, “Thor: Ragnarok” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off. In the meantime, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) started having nightmares about Asgard burning — a prophecy known as Ragnarok — and decided to go off and figure out what was up with that.
Of course, we know that at the conclusion of “Thor: The Dark World,” Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) had banished Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and taken his place, disguised as Odin. It’s not long into “Ragnarok” that Thor riddles that one out and we get Loki, one of the greatest villains of all time, back.
I understand why Thor had to step in and expose his brother, but part of me would have really liked to see how the rule of Loki, playing the part of Odin was going to play out. Sure the other eight realms may have been falling apart, but the cultural/theatrical scene in Asgard was really hitting its stride (with a particularly amazing cameo that I won’t spoil for you).
Of course, there’s still the matter of finding Odin, which turns out to be a short-lived reunion filled with revelations, including a new sister! Sure, she may be Hela, the goddess of death, but it’s hard to be too mad about finding out that Cate Blanchett is your half-sister (and another fabulous villain).
From there it’s a wild, bumpy ride down the rainbow road with old friends (Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk) and new friends (Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie) and even new frenemies (Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster).
It sounds like a lot, I know, but what “Thor” has always done well (in addition to villains) balance its rather fantastic setting with a very noble storyline. It’s a feat that’s even more impressive now that it coexists in the same universe as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and more importantly the not quite as stellar “Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2.”
Now, all we have to do is wait for the next Marvel chapter, “Black Panther,” followed by the return of Thor in “Avengers: Infinity War” this spring. Let the countdowns begin.