January 1, 2018  (Web Review)

Thor: Ragnarok

Disney, 130 min., PG-13, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, Mar. 6

Reviewer rating: 3.5/4

Marvel’s hammer-throwing hero is back. God of Thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth) discovers that he and his treacherous brother Loki (Tim Hiddleston) have a power-hungry older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), a Goddess of Death decked out in antlered battle headgear. After tracking down their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins)—who is determined to die in his native Norway—the brothers face the challenge of reclaiming their home of Asgard from Hela, who once led Odin’s armies. During their first meeting, Hela displays her supremacy by smashing Thor’s hammer. Subsequently traveling through a space portal, hammerless Thor is captured and imprisoned on the parallel world of Sakaar, where he meets the demented, flamboyant Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), the hard-drinking warrior Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and Korg (director Taika Waititi in a motion-capture performance), a cheery, giant rock golem. Since high-stakes gladiator matches are Grandmaster’s passion, Thor finds himself in the ring, facing “a friend from work” who turns out to be the Incredible Hulk. After the battle, Thor recruits Hulk and his alter-ego, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), to take on formidable Hela. Adroitly helmed by New Zealand director Waititi, this action-packed and often funny superhero epic is highly recommended. [Note: DVD/Blu-ray extras include audio commentary by director Taika Waititi, the production featurettes “Sakaar: On the Edge of the Known and Unknown” (9 min.), “Finding Korg” (8 min.), “Getting in Touch with Your Inner Thor” (7 min.), “Journey Into Mystery” (6 min.), “Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie” (6 min.), and “Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years—The Evolution of Heroes” (6 min.), the short “Team Darryl” (6 min.), deleted scenes (6 min.), a collection of “8-Bit Sequences” (3 min.), an intro by Waititi (2 min.), and a gag reel (2 min.). Exclusive to the Blu-ray release are bonus DVD and digital copies of the film. Bottom line: a fine extras package for this winning superhero popcorn epic.] (S. Granger)