This is a spoiler-free movie review of Thor: Ragnarok.
Thor . . . is worthy . . . .
To be more precise, Thor: Ragnarok is worthy of a second viewing! (You may have thought I was about to write that Thor is worthy to wield Mjolnir, didn’t ya?)
I loved it! From the first line (which is a good first line, and had me hooked, like a good first line of a book) to the Post-credit Scenes (there are several, so stay seated, True Believers, you may be glad that you did!) My suggestion is to stay until the end of the movie, if only for the music.
“Asgard is her people,” is a line from the movie. And the movie has an epic Lord of the Rings fantasy feel to it. By the time the movie was over, and the credits rolled, I wanted more! More wit, humor, action, Scrapper #142 (played by Tessa Thompson), and more glib and pithy lines and comebacks.
In no particular order, a few of the stars are (as innumerable as the stars in the cosmos, they seemed; also, more please!): Benedict Cumberbatch (as Dr. Stephen Strange here; but in another role: Sherlock!), Karl Urban (as Scourge), Chris Hemsworth (as Thor), Jeff Goldblum (in a delightful turn as The Grandmaster), Mark Ruffalo (as the Hulk), more Tom Hiddleston (as always!; he plays a great Loki). Heck, I’d take more Hela too (played here by Cate Blanchett, whom I didn’t even recognize, her costume and makeup were that well done)! And more to boot (for brevity’s sake, I didn’t include an entire cast list; they all did a good job).
I loved the cinematography, the way that the movie was edited, the music, the acting, the fight choreography (which was new and different, compared to the usual fare we are all exposed to on a regular basis), all sharp and crisp, and snappy, like the dialogue. I’d love to see more of the Scrapper #142 character. From the moment when the character made her on-screen appearance, my initial reaction was that she needs to be in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie; she’d fit right in there.
Chances are slim that the character will—because of story reasons that I’m unable to discuss-and you don’t want me to spoil it for you, do you?—but it’d be nice to see more of this character in the future. I love the Jack Kirby lovefest that is in the movie. It was a delight; when I first saw the sets and the costumes and the make-up, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Even after they had been in the movie awhile, and my focus should have returned to the story, my attention was—with great frequency—drawn back to them, they were that good.
(In the theater world, this is called stealing focus; a definite no-no; here’s it’s glorious! I can still see the actors engaged in their craft, while I sneak peeks at the stuff in the background.) This would be a good movie to pause, and take a long look at all of them, in order to learn from them. (For those who aspire to be costumers, make-up artists, SFX wizards, and set designers, take note). The homage to Mr. Kirby did him justice, in my opinion.
And, at least we didn’t get what now seems to be the standard superhero entrance; said superhero lands in a crouch with one knee on the ground, then rises.
The writing was super(b)! It was crisp, and spirited, and sharp, like one of Loki’s sharp-tongued one-liners. I love the tie-ins from the other Marvel movies, nods to the comic books, and how the writer drew the threads from all of them together in this movie. Hulk’s reappearance was good, well timed, and well-done. I thought Marvel had the rights to all their characters back, with the exception of Spider-Man, the X-men, the Fantastic Four and their related characters (I want my Silver Surfer! Attention Marvel: please get all the rights to the Fantastic Four back, and take another shot at getting my beloved Silver Surfer onto the big screen. Thank you!)
A Friendly Neighborhood Public Library Staffer informed me otherwise (if you want to know more about that, or other characters that Marvel doesn’t have the rights to anymore, see the links at the end of the blog. Also, there is a link to the Easter Eggs in the movie, but I suggest that you watch the movie first, so as to avoid the spoilers in it). Marvel did the best that they could, it seems, with what they could work with, and are allowed to do, with respect to the legal tangle that the Hulk property is embroiled in. I’d still love to see a proper treatment of Planet Hulk though. The musical choices were apt, and ranged from the unconventional to the obvious (Led Zeppelin’s The Immigrant Song), as it fit within the scope and framework, irreverence and tone, of the movie.
If there were Guardians of the Galaxy 2 like credits at the end of the movie—to prolong the fun and irreverence of the movie—that would have been wonderful. But I understand why it’s they’re not in there, as there needs to be some separation between the different movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), some separate identities between the movies, to make them distinct and different, so that all of Marvel’s movies don’t look, and feel, the same.
To be fair, there were 7 things in the movie that I thought were less than ideal or that I am uncertain about. They contain spoilers, so I am unable to discuss them here, lest I ruin the movie for those who may want to see it. At a certain point, the movie downshifts the humor a tad, in order to move towards the conclusion. It’s noticeable, and it seemed like a letdown, as I wanted the humor and fun to continue, but it picks up other threads where the slight drop-off in humor left off, so I was thoroughly engaged in another aspect of the movie, and didn’t miss the slight diminishment in the humor much, or for long.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, much like our own, continues to expand. And I love it. I loved all the Easter Eggs, how material from various sources was combined to advance the story (both in this movie, and in the overarching story that Marvel is telling), tie them all together, and force the characters to grow and change and evolve; and for the stories to move forward.
What Marvel is doing, to me, is like scribing the chapters of a book, wherein each movie is a chapter that builds upon a previous movie, as it ties and links the movies and storylines together, which is unique and hasn’t been done before in comic book movies, not on this scale, scope, and to this degree before. Marvel is taking all of these threads (movies) and weaving them into one grand tapestry. And all of this is building up to Avengers: Infinity War (after the Black Panther movie). If Thor: Ragnarok is a taste of what’s to come, I’m there.