SAN ANTONIO – After several weeks of underwhelming box office results, movie theaters are now turning to the God of Thunder to drive audiences back into their seats.
And if early indications are to believed, the latest Marvel movie "Thor: Ragnarök" will bring the hammer and have the strength to do just that. But it is the film's lighter comedic elements brought from the norse god that is getting most of the attention.
"Thor: Ragnarök", the third film in the Thor series, is the Marvel movie for all those that that did not grow up reading the comics.
The movie picks up after both "Age of Ultron" and "Thor: The Dark World" with the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) returning home to find his father Odin (played by Anthony Hopkins) overthrown by his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
When Hela, the goddess of death and Odin's first born awakens and arrives in Asgard to claim the throne, the unlikely pair have to team up but fail to oust her, forcing them both into the Galaxy.
Thor ultimately winds up on a planet called Sakaar, a planet surrounded by wormholes when he is captured by a mercenary who turns him over The Grandmaster -- the ruler of the planet who has created a fighting contest of champions.
Thor is forced to fight in his attempt to escape in order to save Asgard from Hela and her impending Ragnarök -- a great battle foretold that will result in numerous deaths.
Quite frankly, this movie is the best of the Thor movies and also happens to be one of, if not the funniest of all the Marvel movies so far. Directed by cult-favorite New Zealand director Taika Waititi, the seventeenth film in the Marvel Universe is silly and fun and spunky and is exactly what non-comic aficionados want in their action movies.
The movie does an excellent job of utilizing not only all the main Asgardians who return, but also incorporating some surprising cameos as well -- along with bringing new contributions from Mark Ruffalo's The Hulk and Bruce Banner.
Waititi expertly found a way to make what might just be described as the perfect “popcorn movie.” Ragnarök is a pleasantly swift ride that is part comedy, part buddy-action movie, and part science fiction film.
Recent Marvel movies have had a tendency to go a little big on exposition for some moviegoers but with Ragnarök however, those tendencies were broken -- something that even the head of Marvel Kevin Feige admitted to after stating that the studios had reached a "crossroads".
"I think we have often found ourselves at a crossroads where we get to a part three, and we have found that using it is an opportunity to pivot, to do something unique, has served us well," Feige said to the website Celebretainment.
For those that are interested "Thor: Ragnarök" also happens to be a movie that makes the 3D option worthwhile, as it allows viewers to take advantage of a bright color pallet while traveling to the incredibly distant planets.
In an interesting note, none of the franchise’s recurring earthbound characters — Natalie Portman‘s Jane Foster, Kat Dennings’s Darcy Lewis, or Stellan Skarsgård’s Erik Selvig — are back in this edition.
Early projections indicate that the film may make anywhere from $95 million to 125 million in its opening weekend, numbers that compare favorably to the number one Marvel movie of all-time, "The Avengers".
"Thor: Ragnarök" presently has an amazing 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is 2 hour and 10 minutes long and is rated PG-13. It opens nationwide on Nov. 3.