Movie review: 'Thor: Ragnarok'


‘We come from the land of the ice and snow/ From the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow” — From “The Immigrant Song” (1970) by Led Zeppelin

When the only escape path for Thor is traveling through something called “The Devil’s Anus,” you know the new movie featuring the Norse god with a non-Nordic accent isn’t exactly a super-serious effort. I know, I know, it’s probably something actually referenced from the comics, but just think about that for a moment.

During "Thor: Ragnarok's" 130-minute running time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his dysfunctional siblings Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Hela (Cate Blanchett), along with a renegade Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Hulk/ Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) roll their jokey way through the Marvel Universe with epic sights, lots of violence and destruction of whole cities and even worlds with hardly a backward glance. Just another day with the Avengers super heroes, you might say.

What is the point? Really.

These super heroes might get hurt, but are basically indestructible, so no matter how awesome they look smashing stuff with enormously bulgy biceps and wielding various weapons — in Thor’s case his massive hammer — they have very little effect on the villains. In fact, you might say, if they just laid around on the couch all day drinking Yoohoos and munching on donuts while watching Dr. Phil, they’d still be indestructible and still be able to trounce The Undertaker (WWE) with barely a flick of their super pinky.

So, why even bother fighting? In many ways, super heroes and super villains are at a kind of stalemate. They can fight and fight and fight and nothing will ever be accomplished — except maybe the destruction of whole cities and, thereby, killing thousands of innocent non-super humans. Sure, there are consequences, which is what the whole Avengers’ “Civil War” was about. But, who’s going to slap the cuffs on Captain America? (Iron Man, sure, because Tony Stark is just a normal smart guy in a fancy suit.)

In “Thor: Ragnarok,” the title suggests an end to all things, as it says in the Norse legends. But, as in all of these apocalyptic scenarios there’s always a loophole the good guys can employ to keep their jobs.

So, in this movie, Thor is made aware that his big sister, Hela, still harbors a massive snit after eons in prison and is plotting to take Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) crown in Asgard. In another big fight, Thor tries to escape and ends up on a big garbage planet surrounded by wormholes, the biggest of which is the highly unstable aforementioned “Devil’s Anus.” Ruling this planet is a lunatic showman who calls himself “The Grand Master (Jeff Goldblum). The Grand Master likes to hold big gladiatorial matches, and in one he pits Thor against his old buddy The Hulk, who’s been absent for a while. During this period, Thor makes the acquaintance of a former Valkyrie and together with some other new friends find a way to make their ways to Asgard to, well, take on Hela.

Suffice it say, Ragnarok is postponed, or at least altered.

Director Taika Waititi has said in media reports that a good portion of the movie’s dialogue was improvised on-set in order to give it a looser, more spontaneous flavor that takes advantage of Hemsworth’s unexploited comedic abilities. To this reviewer, though, it made the movie rather boring in some places.

At least the movie featured Led Zeppelin in the soundtrack, offering some in the audience a chance to Ragna-rock out.


“Thor: Ragnarok” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material.

It is showing daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit

Also showing in Taos

A Bad Moms Christmas

MPAA rating: R for crude sexual content and language throughout and some drug use

Mitchell Storyteller 7

“A Bad Moms Christmas” follows our three under-appreciated and over-burdened women — Amy, Kiki and Carla (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) — as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas. And, as if creating a more perfect holiday for their families wasn’t hard enough, they must do all of that while hosting and entertaining their own mothers. By the end of the journey, our moms will redefine how to make the holidays special for all and discover a closer relationship with their mothers.

Comedy by writers-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore co-stars Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, Cheryl Hines Jay Hernandez and Wanda Sykes.

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit

Rebel in the Rye

MPAA rating: PG-13 for some language including sexual references, brief violence and smoking

Movies at the TCA

Written and directed by Danny Strong, this film looks at the life of legendary “The Catcher in the Rye” author J.D. Salinger (Nicholas Hoult). Its focus centers on his relationship with socialite Oona O’Neill (Zoey Deutch), playwright Eugene O’Neill’s daughter; his experiences fighting in World War II; and his writing process for “Catcher.” Kevin Spacey and Sarah Paulson co-star.

“With ‘Rebel in the Rye,’ we get a solid, well-acted and basically standard biopic about the man who created Holden Caulfield, largely in his own image,” writes Richard Roeper for The Chicago Sun-Times. “Nicholas Hoult plays ‘Jerry’ as cocky and smart-alecky but fragile and self-centered — increasingly more comfortable observing human behavior and immersing himself in his writing than interacting with friends and associates and love interests.”

Dave McGinn, writing for The Globe and Mail, differs, saying, “We see the young Salinger stuck at his desk lighting matches and throwing pages in the garbage. We see his trembling hand hovering above a page. There is sometimes music. When all else fails, there’s a montage.”

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 12), and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (Nov. 13-15).

Movies at the TCA film series, Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call the Taos Center for the Arts at (575) 758-2052 or visit