Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Idris Elba
Directed by Taika Waititi
Just to get it out-of-the-way, this was a fun film. The first two Thor movies were verbose and serious affairs, which made sense given the subject matter. This film flips those conventions on their head with an extremely serious title and a relatively light tone.
The film opens with Thor (Hemsworth) in the realm of Surtur after following the dreams that he had been having since Avengers: Age of Ultron. After completing his business there, he returns to Asgard to find that Heimdall (Elba) has fled and that Skurge (Urban) is in charge of the Bifrost. He confronts Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and quickly makes him reveal himself as Loki (Hiddleston). Both Thor and Loki travel to Earth to search for the missing Odin, prompting an intervention from Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch reprising his role as the Sorcerer Supreme in an expanded scene from the end of his solo film.)
After finding Odin, the All-Father informs his sons that Hela (Blanchett), Goddess of Death was coming and reveals one of the many secrets that he had been keeping from his sons. When Hela arrives, the circumstances of her arrival and her connection to both Thor and Mjolnir come out and the God of Thunder finds himself on the other side of the universe without his hammer or a means of returning to Asgard. He is captured by Valkyrie (Thompson) and taken to the gladiatorial games run by the Grandmaster (Goldblum). Jeff Goldblum is sublime in his role as the Grandmaster. He is both menacing and extremely funny playing the ultimate 90’s EDM club kid.
Thor is forced to fight in the arena in order to get his freedom and his first match is against an old friend; The Incredible Hulk (Ruffalo). Hulk has been missing since the finale of Age of Ultron and we find out why in the film as Banner tries desperately to keep his emotions in check as the pair tries to escape and stop Hela from destroying Asgard and the rest of the nine realms.
Everyone in the film shines in their performances. Hemsworth has amazing comedic timing and Ruffalo as the straight man is great to see on-screen. Cate Blanchett is both sultry and funny in her role as Hela and you can see her having fun with the character every time she saunters into the scene. The action and effects are amazing and there are some truly inspired cameos that I won’t spoil. What really makes the film work is that Waititi, the cast and Marvel realize the absurdity of the cosmic universe and lean into that absurdity with abandon and from it we’ve gotten a truly fun movie.