Thor: Ragnarok

In Brief: Arguably, and I’ll take the position that it is, the best and certainly funniest super hero movie of them all.

Stan Lee — who does his usual, and best ever Marvel movie cameo — created Thor. We first saw the God of Thunder in Journey Into Mystery #83 in August of 1962. One has to wonder if at that time Lee and the other now Marvel masters had any clue their characters would end up as a billion dollar publication, movie and television industry.

No doubt they didn’t.

Thor: Ragnarok is the third Thor movie. He’s also in all of official — and the soon-to-number three — Avengers movies. Ragnarock picks up Thor’s story just after 2013’s The Dark World.

Odin decides it’s time to give up the ghost and when he does Thor and Loki’s heretofore unknown sister Hela pops onto the scene. Since she’s the oldest of Odin’s kids, Hela claims the throne and wants to conquer the nine realms.

Thor doesn’t think it’s a good idea. That leads to a bitter and bloody civil war. While trying to escape their very powerful sister, Thor and Loki end up on a world where Jeff Goldblum’s Guardian rules and conducts arena games similar to those found in ancient Rome.

To win his freedom so he can return to Asgard and defeat his sister, Thor is forced to battle the Guardian’s best beast who — ironically — Thor already knows. And knows well.

Most super hero films are serious to the point of tedious. They drag you through the mental gymnastics of conflicting egos before a predictable conclusion that destroys a city, a nation or a planet. This one is a laugh-a-minute fun fest and one of the best — if not arguably “the” best — of Marvel’s movie’s.

A lot of the credit for the film’s sense of humor is a changing of the directorial guard. New Zealander Taika Waititi who did last year’s wildly entertaining art house fave, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople infuses his unique sense of humor into a script done by three Marvel TV franchise scriptwriters.

Chris Hemsworth — as he proved in the new Ghostbusters movie — is a terrific comedian. He brilliantly tosses off some zingers that will have you howling. His co-stars — including new addition Cate Blanchett as Hela — have the same kind of fun with their parts.

Also, catch this one in 3D if you can. It’s terrific. If you can get near an IMAX-like screen that’s even better.

Director: Taika Waititi

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stan Lee, Sam Neill, Luke Hemsworth, Matt Damon, Taika Waititi, Clancy Brown

The God of Thunder thunders into theaters with a ton of laughs and more fun than the last 10 super hero movies. Well, maybe not. Ant Man and Spider-Man Homecoming were also hilarious. But this one is terrific and gets a 5 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.

Click here for showtimes and theaters.

5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.

Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.

Got a movie suggestion or comment? Click here to email him.

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