Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo
Have I Seen it Before: Absolutely.
Did I Like It: Man, there’s not really a weak entry in Marvel’s fabled phase three, is there?
There was a sense, immediately from the first scenes of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) that Chris Hemsworth is a movie star. That it took this long for Hollywood to get the fact that he’s a big goofball is a shame. We could have gotten a lot more movies like this. There’s bits of it in the original Thor (2011) has a little bit of this sensibility, but tragically Thor: The Dark World (2013) is content to be as dour as possible.
Such is not the case with this third—and let us not hope final—entry in the Thor series, the weight has been lifted and Hemsworth is allowed to be his most true screen persona. It’s a buddy comedy movie. Not only that, it is a triple-threat buddy comedy movie as Hemsworth easily pairs with no fewer than three straight people in the forms of Loki (Hiddleston), Hulk/Banner (Ruffalo), and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). In more than a few of those cases, Hemsworth is able to switch gears and be the straight man himself in those pair offs.
It’s also a wildly imaginative Space Opera that feels fresh even when my intellect tells me there was a studio note to make the latest Thor movie more like those Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It may also be the most incisive documentary about the true nature of Jeff Goldblum that we’re likely to get.
One might be willing to complain that this doesn’t feel like the third part of Thor’s story as presented in the previous films. His romance with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is offered no more than a quick line of dialogue about how they broke up, but when the movie is this good, I’m relatively certain we shouldn’t care.
Odin is dead. Long live Thor. At least, I hope. After everything he’s been through, he deserves more breaks like this. Long live the Marvel movies, if they keep being this lively.