Thor: Ragnarok 1.0 stars

Thor: Ragnarok movie poster

Call it The Starkening. After Iron Man’s alter ego got neurotic in Iron Man 3 and morally serious in Captain America: Civil War, his spirit of devil-may-care quippiness was forced to roam the MCU, seeking new hosts. And it found some, however unlikely: first a master of Eastern mysticism (Doctor Strange), and now a Nordic war deity. Director Taika Waititi’s take on the God of Thunder plays a bit like the rock mockumentary This is Spinal Tap: it’s front-loaded with jokes, built around a severe humbling, and full of silly bombast. (Stonehenge! Asgard! Though he does have an eye for tableau.) Humor is great — nobody wants Thor and Hulk adopting the dark ‘n dour tone of Batman v. Superman. But maybe not so great that both story and character should be forced to bend the knee to its whims? (A hammy Jeff Goldblum is a happy exception: his slave-driving showman need be nothing more than a monstrous hoot.) Knee-bending is the ostensible issue here: with Odin’s passing, who should ascend the throne? Thor? His older sister Hela, Goddess of Death? None of the above? The story, which is concerned with the foundations of power, demands a reckoning. Instead, the script provides a couple of one-liners. 2017.

Matthew Lickona

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