C. Molly Smith
October 19, 2017 9:02 am

There’s a *lot* to love with Thor: Ragnarok, and much of that is what’s new.

Like, Thor: Ragnarok‘s standout, new cast members: Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, and Jeff Goldblum.

As Goddess of Death Hela, Blanchett delivers a fierce as hell performance that makes bad look so, so good. Thompson, like Blanchett, has attitude to spare as fearless warrior Valkyrie, and is the strong and empowered heroine of our dreams. And Goldblum, oh my! Just about everything he says as the bizarre and twisted Grandmaster can and should be turned into a Goldblumism, like, yesterday.

But, it’s not just the newbies. Even changes to pre-existing characters mix things up for the better, the God of Thunder himself being the biggest example. With his new haircut and lost hammer, he’s had a total makeover. Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye to those luscious locks, and we’ve become very attached to his signature weapon. But major change to one of the biggest characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe not only affects his attitude and the ways he approaches challenges (for the better), it’s also refreshing. And it only helps that Chris Hemsworth is as charming as ever.

Less refreshing, however, is the Hulk.

Not to make you angry — because if you’re a Hulk fan, I probably wouldn’t like you when you’re angry. But the Hulk appears in his not-so jolly green form more than we’ve ever seen him before, and that felt like a disservice. His childlike personality and humor works in doses, emphasis on doses. But he was too much here, and the audience is smarter than that. In effect, I found myself wanting for more Bruce Banner/Mark Ruffalo in his place.

Either that, or the film could have been a *little* tighter. Thor: Ragnarok already feels a little disjointed as Thor has to save Asgard from Hela’s clutches, but first he has to battle the Hulk in a deadly gladiatorial contest orchestrated by the Grandmaster on the planet Sakaar. It can quite literally be a little all over the map so, perhaps, it could’ve trimmed the fat a bit more to keep things concise.

But those critiques aside, Thor: Ragnarok is a fun and eccentric watch, full of charisma and personality in the vein of Guardians of the Galaxy.

The film also has a killer soundtrack and hell, even James Gunn is obsessed with it. It’s expertly directed by Taika Waititi, who brings vivid, moody colors and unique and dynamic action sequences to the screen, making you (almost) forget that Natalie Portman as astrophysicist/Thor’s love interest Jane is MIA (but she’s gone, and only mentioned in passing).

Thor: Ragnarok lands in theaters on November 3rd, and definitely make the time to go see it.

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