The third iteration of the “Thor“ saga looked posied to be a hit just like the previous two runaway successes. But can lightening strike three times in a row? Apparently, it can.
The plot synopsis is your usual fare expected from the team behind the Marvel universe. Thor’s home realm of Ragnarok is in dire peril after a super-villainess known as Hela manages to surface early on in the movie and wreak havoc upon his people. During their tussle together, Thor gets flung into the depths of space where he soon gets sucked into a vortex pulling him to another planet altogether. There, he faces a whole new set of dangers as well as reunites with certain old friends from the “Marvel Universe”. That’s as sparse as I want to be without giving away too much.
So, I think I’ll get this out of the way from the start. This is a really good movie. Not without it’s fault, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Out main protagonist, still played by Chris Hemsworth, is now history-rich and enjoys layers of depth, given the amount of time MCU has had to develop him. The primary ingredient behind these movies working as well as they do is the emotional investment you place in the on-screen cast. And that has never been truer here. Familiar faces such as Loki, Odin and a selection of other MCU cameos, all play a part to make this production gel together so well. There are moments of thrilling action and edge-of-your-seat tension littered throughout. If ever there was a term describing a “roller-coaster ride of a movie”, this would be it’s very definition. It is that unrelenting in pace. Though not jarringly so.
Of equal importance to the film is the presence of a strong, intimidating lead antagonist. Here, we are bestowed with the acting prowess of Cate Blanchett as *Hela who turns in a stellar performance. Her clear motivations revealed near the beginning of the movie offer a near-perfect partnership to her memorable portrayal of this commanding enemy vixen. Powerful and vengeful at the same time, I loved Hela and all the resultant carnage caused by her forceful actions. A fantastic actress and awesome job with the role.
As I mentioned, the action set-pieces are grand and a spectacular visual treat for all Marvel and comic-book fans alike. This is the penultimate movie before we get the final wrap-up regarding “Phase One” of Marvel’s epic juggernaut of a franchise. That film is “The Avengers - Infinity Wars” so it was all the more essential for them to leave a lingering appetiser for us before the main course. And they pulled it off nicely. I find it incredible how the production team and script writers have woven this intricate network of story-lines and character arcs (starting out when the first Iron-Man was released to much critical acclaim). The dazzling euphoria since that initial opening box office success way back in 2008 has only continued to grow from strength to strength, proving what a phenomenal job they have done so far. It leaves a yawning chasm for their main rival “DC Universe” to somehow contend with. A monumental undertaking, which I certainly don’t envy them for.
If there are any problems to be found in this movie, they are negligible at best. The action is, for the most part, very cartoonish. That being said, the sense of any real danger for our band of heroes may be lessened to some degree. As ferocious as Hela is, the movie follows the same patterns as all the others preceding it. Quite formulaic and by the numbers. Though, in turn, this "has" proved to be a recipe for success more than anything else, so why go changing it up now? After all, we go to watch these movies in the expectation of having as much escapism and fun as possible. Am I right?
All in all, another home run for Marvel. You had to wonder at the time, was it even possible for them to put a foot wrong at that stage? The legions of fans they enjoyed were almost as unstoppable as the franchise itself. If this absurdly high movie quality offered up time and time again was anything to go by, the Marvel steam train seemed to be only just getting started.
… And then a little while after, we had Captain Marvel.