November 9, 2017 – Taika Waititi, the director of last year's funniest movie, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” has another very funny film, this time a Marvel Superhero movie sequel. Despite the massive amount of killing, fighting and destruction in the movie, Waititi's comic touches (as well as appearances by several actors from Waititi's earlier films) are very evident, and effective, in this film.
The film opens with a wisecracking Thor (Chris Hemsworth) bound by chains in a hell-like realm by a monstrous villain, carrying on a surprisingly light dialog with the villain. Calling on Heimdall (Idris Elba of “The Dark Tower”) repeatedly for a beam out to escape danger, Thor finds that Heimdall has been exiled and his trickster brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has taken over Asgard, by impersonating his father, Odin. As a result, the realm has become weak.
Long exiled, Thor's older sister, Hela (played by Kate Blanchett of “Cinderella” 2015) returns to Asgard to take over the nine realms. She plans to lay waste to the universe. Thor and Loki end up in the strange realm of a being known as “The Grandmaster” (Jeff Goldblum) who forces Thor to fight The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) who has somehow ended up at the same remote planet (of all the planets in the universe). Thor also finds the last of the legendary Valkyries, working as a bounty hunter, known as Scrapper 142, for the Grandmaster (she is played by Tessa Thompson of “Creed”).
After many adventures and misadventures, Thor, Loki, The Hulk, the Valkyrie, Heimdall and others team up to go up against the mighty Hela and her armies in a historic battle at Asgard. Perhaps the most interesting character in the movie is the Asgardian warrior Skurge (played by Karl Urban of the recent “Star Trek” movies). He decides to work for Hela, but doesn't like it. He has conflicting emotions while working for a mighty, but evil ruler.
The presence of Waititi (who, in addition to directing the film, also portrays Korg, a rock-like gladiator) and other New Zealand and Australian actors is evident in the film. There are a lot of aliens with British, Australian and New Zealand accents for an American film (there are still American actors aren't there?). Among them are Benedict Cumberbatch, reprising his role as Doctor Steven Strange and Anthony Hopkins, reprising his role as Odin from previous films in the Thor series. Renowned Marvel Comics editor Stan Lee has another of his many comic cameos in this film.
There is plenty of action and plenty of comedy in this film, but the plot does wander around a lot and it seems a bit long at two hours and 10 minutes. Even though it is long, stick around for the Easter eggs at the end. First, there is the usual Marvel teaser, then, later, a comic epilog at the end of the credits featuring the distinctive comic stylings of Jeff Goldblum. This film rates a C+.
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