It's a rare movie that casts Cate Blanchett as a comic book villain. Yet despite its kitschy visual delights, Thor: Ragnarok is a template Marvel movie powered by lame jokes, blurry battles and unearned weepy moments.
Director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) follows the Marvel playbook. The film pits Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the forever-buff God of Thunder, against yet another apparently indestructible menace: his genocidal sister Hela (Blanchett), who wears a creepy, antler-covered helmet.
She has good reason to despise Thor, but any hint of pathos is squashed by lazy writing—the movie expects you to giggle every time someone says the word "anus"—and a clunky subplot that ropes the incredibly pouty Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) into the mayhem.
The story also makes room for Tom Hiddleston, whose sinister, sensitive presence as the scheming Loki is as welcome as ever. Yet even he can't change the fact that Ragnarok is a glorified commercial for next year's Avengers: Infinity War.
CRITIC'S RATING: 2/4 stars.
Thor: Ragnarok is rated PG-13 and now playing at Bagdad, City Center, Cedar Hills, Lloyd Center, Pioneer Place, Tigard.