So my roommate decided we ought to go see Thor: Ragnarok for my birthday. Being the huge comic geek that I am, I had no reply but “Fuck yeah, IMAX 3D?” Of course, she agreed, and we set off for the first showing in the format. I’m going to do my best to give a spoiler-free rundown, or as close to it as I possibly can.
First off, like Captain America: Civil War, this is an ensemble piece wrapped in a solo movie. There’s a good lot of characters, some familiar and some new. Fan-favorites like Loki and Hulk play big roles, as the trailers suggested, and seeing a personal favorite character like Korg (voiced by the hilarious Taika Waititi, who also directs) definitely gave me the same feeling Civil War did. It was a good feeling, though, like the people behind Thor: Ragnarok wanted to balance the Asgard story with the riff on the 2006 Planet Hulk story line.
If any of that was gibberish to you, don’t worry. You need to know exactly none of this comic book inspiration going in. As long as you’re vaguely aware of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’ll be on mostly familiar ground. There’s gonna be a couple parts that rely on knowing the previous two Thor entries, but they’re really just setup for this film. If you’ve gone so far as to see the 2 other Thor movies (which I really can’t suggest, they were kinda shit, in my eyes), you’re entirely caught up to speed.
What really stood out about Thor: Ragnarok was the humor. Thor has always had some funny moments on the big screen in ensemble driven flicks, but his solo outings always were pretty serious. This time, however, it feels closer in tone to Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, mixed with director Waititi’s What We Do In the Shadows (which is a great movie, and I cannot suggest it enough). Expect some good laughs (a decent chunk of which are supplied by the Hulk), providing a new light to the otherwise serious and often grim characters. Seriously, Hulk steals the damn show here a good many times. I never knew the guy was a comedic monster, as well as a literal big, green one. Jeff Goldblum has a great turn as the Grandmaster, a flamboyant showman running a planet that revolves around a giant fighting arena.
The story itself is a play on the classic Ragnarok story line from the comics. The fall of Asgard is the main piece, woven in with a really fun story line about Thor trying to survive on a foreign planet where he’s stuck as a gladiator. Honestly, the trailer captures the story well enough without totally spoiling, with the full experience just fleshing in the trailer’s premises. It is a well-crafted story, but simple enough to follow along with no problems.
As you’d expect from a Thor outing, as well as a Marvel movie in general, there’s a good chunk of action. I cannot think of a single scene where the action felt anything short of on point, energetic, and well-performed. Even actors I wouldn’t have thought of as the big-time action types, like Idris Elba and Cate Blanchett, got to throw down in fight scenes that felt almost 4‑color at times.
Musically, this movie’s a bit of a strange piece. Other than the use of Led Zeppelin’s classic “Immigrant Song”, I really couldn’t remember any of the music. It was forgettable, but the scoring feels serviceable enough. Conversely, the cinematography is really good. There are a lot of big shots on the action, and sweeping shots on the environments. The IMAX experience was enough to make my knees weak during some of the higher angle shots involving high places and flying, but I think that was more an effect of the 3D. Beautiful and clean transitions, coupled with some great action shooting really made this movie stand above and apart from the previous two movies Thor titles. Javier Aguirresarobe did a fantastic job here.
I honestly cannot suggest seeing this movie enough. It was a fun ride (which seemed antithetical to Thor, from my experience), mixed with some great comic geek fanservice (God damn did I grin like a retard on Joker Gas when I saw Beta Ray Bill’s face on the side of a building), mixed with a deep dive into the distortion of Norse mythology that Marvel has created. I must say, even with my dislike of the first two Thor movies, I felt nothing but confident Taika Waititi could pull it off after seeing all the promotion. The man did not let me down.
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