Let me be very upfront and clear, I haven’t read a comic in a whole lotta years, and no I won’t tell you how many (You don’t ask a lady that!). However, with five boys in the house (five boys that all love horror [just like their momma], sci-fi, Marvel, DC, comics, and so on and so forth), I do my research. So, I’d say I am fairly familiar with Thor’s backstory and Norse mythology. I’ll also say that I don’t really have a preference–Marvel or DC. If it’s entertaining, I’m down.
I don’t go into movies like this looking to rip them apart. Instead, I want to be entertained for a few hours. I want to tap my toes to a great soundtrack, maybe laugh, gasp and even shed a tear. If a superhero movie can do that, it’s okay in my book. If my kids enjoy it, it’s just a bit better, and I’ll know I didn’t waste $100+ dollars at the movie theater!
Now, let me bring up Deadpool for a moment here. The Husband wanted to see it. I heard good things, so I was game. (For the record, we also take turns picking movies, and it was his turn. Also for the record, he is on a winning streak lately. We see a lot of movies, and I’ve picked a few duds recently.) I knew of the character, but didn’t know what to expect. Result – WHOA, NELLY! Initially, I was surprised. It wasn’t the type of superhero flick I was used too. Where was the gravitas? The inflated drama? After I got over my shock (The Husband assured me that this is what Deadpool was.), I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It was over-the-top, but in a good way. Clearly, Deadpool was for adults and didn’t shy away from the raunch. But nonetheless, for me, it set a new standard. It was fun! Then I got some of the same with Guardians of the Galaxy, but in a family-friendly package. To put that into perspective for you in terms of movies geared more toward families, I’m not asking for such movies to lean toward rated R or beyond, or even push the edge. I just want them to be as entertaining as Deadpool. I don’t expect movies of this ilk to stray from their formula–superhero movies have one and it works–but I do want the journey to grab me the way Deadpool did.
Fortunately, Thor: Ragnarok (2017) did just that.
The trailers before the film began were wonderful! I feel compelled to start with them because we took Sons 4 and 5 with us, and apparently I am now on the hook for the 26 trailers that preceded the movie. (No, I don’t really think it was 26, but I’m guessing I’m pretty close. And our boys want to see every single one.) So, on to the film, and more specifically, the moment I realized this movie was going to be alright – when Thor was “hanging” around talking to Surtur. Just like with Deadpool, the initial humor surprised me. Growing up, that wasn’t what I expected of Superman or Batman. But I appreciate a director (here the very talented Taika Waititi who also voiced one of the funniest characters in the film) who seems to be in on the joke.
I knew there were going to be a few cameos, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Husband was surprised and got a kick out of them–you (will) know what scene I’m talking about. But for me, I was waiting for that fight scene. It’s been teased since the first trailer, but I wanted to see Thor go toe-to-toe with The Green Guy. We weren’t disappointed. Overall, I found the atmosphere of the film spot on. Interviews beforehand stated a sort of 80’s vibe was there. I got that, but not in a dated way. I liked the interaction with Thor and Hulk. Loki even grew on me a bit, and Cate Blanchett as Hela! WHOA! She chewed up each and every scene she was in. Granted her makeup game needs some work, but when she stalked toward you, you knew some shit was about to go down! Tessa Thompson was a nice addition as bounty hunter, “Scrapper 142,” though I will say her character worked the least for me, if only because I didn’t get the power from her that I was hoping for. The Husband thought something was off with the character as well. Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster… well, ya love to hate him. In the end, the story was simple, and I won’t give too much away, but let’s just say Hela was angry, she wanted what was coming to her, and she was gonna get it. If you didn’t like it, best get out of her way. Along the way, there was a whole lot of laughs, some great action scenes, and of course, Thor loses his lovely locks. (Hey, I’m a short hair proponent, although our older boys say longer hair.) And I will say there was one surprise toward the end that really shocked me–see the movie; you’ll get it.
I’ve heard some didn’t like the tone (too many jokes, not enough drama), but I was okay with that. The first two standalone Thor movies had a whole lot of drama (and Natalie Portman), and they didn’t quite work, so it was nice to see a complete 180 here. I think I preferred this more. Chris Hemsworth does comedy well, and Tom Hiddleston is a nice, almost-straight man (and by that I mean Loki has more than his fair share of snark going on). Even Hela at her worst had a biting sarcasm that didn’t detract from just how truly badass she was. This was easily the best Thor movie of the bunch. I’ll even say that The Husband enjoyed it more than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2–VERY high praise coming from him. If I’m being completely honest, this might be my favorite Marvel movie. Captain America: Civil War is a lot to live up to, and in terms of scope, Thor: Ragnarok didn’t quite match it, but I’ll take a superhero that can laugh at himself any day over Captain America looking constipated. (And hey, Chris Evans is a handsome guy, and I get his angst when he’s playing CA, but come on! Would a few laughs hurt anyone? No, I don’t think so, I really don’t.)
While growing up, Superman was often levied with this sort of heaviness. Yes, there was humor, but it almost seemed that to gain legitimacy they had to take themselves just a bit too seriously. Unfortunately, that can mean they look dated very quickly. The effects become cheesy, the dialogue stilted. If a director can toe the line between a serious story-line and getting across this, “Wink, Wink, Nod, Nod,” type of humor, I think a movie of this nature will hold up better, thereby giving it a level of credence with the hard core fan, and a whole bunch of pleasant memories for us less rabid fans.
This isn’t some life-changing arthouse flick-this is a loud, laugh out loud, wild ride. One, we thoroughly enjoyed.
4 1/2 shattered hammers out of five.