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.

Hitman’s Bodyguard – Triple-A-Rated Action Goodness
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Jason Golden
I’m that crazy guy that writes things and hosts the Graded PointFive comics pod­cast.
Jason Golden

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