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(Spoiler-free) Review: Thor: Ragnarok

What exactly is Ragnarok? I’m not quite sure and I don’t really care. What I do know is this: Thor: Ragnarok is a very funny superhero action-adventure sci-fi fantasy movie that zips to the top of my list of ‘guilty pleasure’ popcorn movies for 2017. Is it ‘THE BEST MARVEL MOVIE EVER!’ as some have proclaimed? No. But it is one of the most entertaining, as long as you’re familiar – to some degree – with the Marvel universe (i.e. the Avengers, Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Doctor Strange, etc.) and have a solid appreciation for the tongue-in-cheek tone of a Deadpool or Guardians of the Galaxy. The more Marvel movies you’ve seen, the more you’ll get out of Ragnarok. It’s packed with hidden gems, celebrity cameos, sly innuendos, inside jokes and character development that builds off relationships established in earlier films featuring the various Avengers working solo or as a team. No spoilers. Just the gist:

Star Trek Beyond

The third installment of the Star Trek reboot is for me the weakest yet, relying on big battles and CGI more than the characters and stories that made the first two so much fun. Which is not to say it isn’t entertaining. I mean it is Star Trek! There is still witty repartee between the crew, and lots of derring-do, mostly by Kirk. And an evil nemesis, this time a scaly alien named Krall (Idris Elba). And the future of the universe does hang in the balance. So it has all the elements you expect. But J.J. Abrams is not at the helm of the franchise this time, and Justin Lin (Fast and Furious) doesn’t quite manage the same balance of adventure and comedy. Nevertheless, as escapist entertainment goes, it works.

Star Trek Into Darkness

I enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness, but I wouldn’t call it a “must-see” unless you’re a true Trekkie – or, at the very least, a casual fan of the TV and/or movie franchise. The more you know of the characters and the mythology going in, the more you’re likely to appreciate the latest round of challenges facing the familial crew of the Starship Enterprise. Most of the diehard fans have already seen the movie or read the spoilers relating to the villain. But I’m going to play it safe and keep it simple. Basically, the plot involves the Starfleet facing a major threat from within. Ultimately, Captain Kirk and his crew take it upon themselves to venture into some dark territory to capture the one-man wrecking crew responsible for a whole lot of death and destruction. The bad guy is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who I’d never heard of, but certainly has a name (and face) to remember!