Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 2017. Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios, Government of Australia. Screenplay by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher L. Yost, based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, with story elements from Planet Hulk by Greg Pak, Carlo Pagulayan and the works of Walter Simonson. Cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe. Produced by Kevin Feige. Music by Mark Mothersbaugh. Production Design by Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent. Costume Design by Mayes C. Rubeo. Film Editing by Zene Baker, Joel Negron. Washington Film Critics Awards 2017.
New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi is hired to inject some life into the sagging Thor franchise, the previous two films among the dullest that the Marvel Character Universe has produced thus far. The result is a delightful comedy fantasy that, while never fully rewriting the book on this genre (it’s still frat boy humour and an overly self-important plot about saving the universe) manages to feel short enough and features beautiful cinematography. Thor is trying to avoid the oncoming “Ragnarok”, the Asgardian apocalypse, but his plans are interrupted by the death of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and the reappearance of his Goddess of Destruction sister Hela (Cate Blanchett). She, as eldest sibling, takes over Asgard and plunges it into misery while scattering her brothers Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) across the universe to a violent, inner city-looking planet run by an immature and indulgent tyrant (Jeff Goldblum). While Loki has gotten in good with this new society’s elite, Thor is forced to fight as a gladiator in a ring against giant monsters until he forges a friendship with a former Asgardian (Tessa Thompson) with whom he escapes. Good action sequences, bright colours and the main hero’s relief of a haircut contribute to a film that looks great and moves even better; the only true disappointment is the hiring of someone of Blanchett’s caliber, dressing her up as a fantasy Wicked Witch complete with attitude and powers, then barely giving her any juicy preening to do.