The third stand-alone Thor film for Marvel Studios, “Thor: Ragnarok,” proved to be the best. It was certainly the funniest (which ruffled the feathers of some Thor purists, but whatever). I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is out this week on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD (it has been available for digital download since Feb. 20).
To celebrate the film’s release, here are my six favorite things about “Thor: Ragnarok” (slight spoilers ahead):
1. He didn’t need the hammer after all.
Never miss a local story.
The God of Thunder says goodbye to lots of things in “Ragnarok” – his father, his hair (cut off by Marvel creator Stan Lee who has a cameo in every Marvel movie at 18 and counting) and even an eye, plucked out during battle by his evil sister Hela (Cate Blanchett). But the thing he misses the most is his beloved hammer, Mjolnir, which said sister crushes like it was a piece of peanut brittle at the beginning of the film.
Thor explains his loss to fellow prisoner, Korg (played by director Taika Waititi), who responds:
“It sounds like you had a pretty special and intimate relationship with this hammer and that losing it was almost comparable to losing a loved one.”
“That’s a nice way of putting it,” says Thor.
Ah, but wait. The mighty Thor does some soul searching at his darkest hour, and is given this advice by his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins):
“What are you, Thor, god of hammers?”
2. The first female supervillain in a Marvel movie.
Speaking of Hela, she’s a nasty one, all right, deliciously embodied by two-time Oscar winner Blanchett, who is clearly having a ball vamping through the proceedings as the first female supervillain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Sure, there have been some baddies like Catwoman, but no one truly horrible villain that steals the show. And Hela does just that without ever messing her hair up. And she’s pithy, with a clear plan, if nothing else:
“My destiny is to rule all others.”
3. A tribute to Marvel comic book artist Jack Kirby.
It’s mentioned several times in the featurettes offered on the Blu-ray that there are numerous references to Jack Kirby’s visual style, and that director Taika Waititi wanted to pay homage to him. The film especially reflects his aesthetic when the action takes place on planet Sakaar, with its bright colors, strong lines and frenetic action.
4. Weaving in Hulk.
Adding Hulk to the storyline was brilliant when they have to face off in the battle arena, and Thor is at first elated to see him, and says that they know each other, “From work!”
And for the first time, Hulk talks almost full sentences. Sure, before he has said “Hulk smash” or “Puny god,” but never carried on a full conversation, as he does in “Ragnarok,” sometimes to great comedic effect.
He even at one point calls Thor “Baby arms.” Doubt anyone else could get away with that.
5. Waititi makes history; is hilarious as Korg
Waititi is the first indigenous director to helm a MCU movie (or even one with such a big budget, really). Hailing from New Zealand, he is of Maori and Jewish descent.
He was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2004 short film “Two Cars, One Night.” But he also is known for his acting.
He plays Thor’s fellow prisoner Korg (unrecognizable because the dude is made of rocks), but injects such comedy and warmth that many interviews in the Blu-ray extras say are indicative of his every day spirit.
My favorite of Korg’s lines:
“Well, I tried to start a revolution, but didn’t print enough pamphlets so hardly anyone turned up. Except for my mum and her boyfriend, who I hate. As punishment, I was forced to be in here and become a gladiator. Bit of a promotional disaster that one, but I’m actually organizing another revolution.”
6. Valkyrie is another female warrior.
At first, she wants nothing to do with Thor, she even captured him and sold him to the Grandmaster (a typically mumbling Jeff Goldbum) so he could do battle against Hulk.
But, soon, Valkyrie comes around, and her being a descendant of mighty female warriors proves to be quite the ally to Thor.
There’s even a teensy-tiny hint of romantic tension between them, but that’s not really explored. But she’s a fine asset to Thor’s team of “The Revengers.” (Don’t worry, they disband the name.)