Thor: Ragnarok

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Due to our pokiness in watching Netflix DVDs (as well as our stingy reluctance to shell out additional money to Regal Cinemas) we watched this entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after we watched Avengers: Infinity War, the events in which transpire after the ones here. We'll atone for this sin one day, no doubt. But there was a lot of "Oh, so that's what happened."

Anyway: as we begin, Thor has been captured by Surtur, a big demon-type monster. Odin has removed himself from the Asgardian picture, preferring the scenic fjords of Norway.

Aside: My Norse blood probably triggered my skepticism at this point: that doesn't look like Norway. And it wasn't. IMDB reveals "Norway" to be (probably) Dirk Hartog Island, Australia. Nice view, but not a believable substitute.

In addition, Loki has stepped into Asgard's power vacuum, causing all sorts of mischief. Thor escapes, spectacularly, from Surtur, grabs Loki, sets off to find Odin, runs into Dr. Strange, who assists. It turns out Odin is dying, which will release Thor's previously-unknown evil sister Hela. So the guys must do battle with her, and that doesn't turn out well, with Thor being bundled off to Sakaar, where Jeff Goldblum is the "Grandmaster" in charge, sponsoring gladiator-like duels. And guess who else is in his clutches? Yea, it's the Incredible Hulk!

And things proceed from there.

The filmmakers ramped up the Guardians of the Galaxy-style jokiness here. It's pretty funny in many spots. And Stan Lee… ah, there he is.