Between Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Logan (2017), and Wonder Woman (2017), 2017 was a BANNER year for the re-emergence of the comic book movie. I just got to seeing (I know very late to the party) another strong contender for the best adaptions of the year in Thor: Ragnorak (2017).
I LOVE how self-aware this movie was. It embraced that idea that Thor is a GOD who often deals with crisis events that are larger than life. Thor: Ragnorak also put Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk/Bruce Banner in delightfully housebroken and confined settings. All credit to director Taika Waititi and writers Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost for creating an experience that broke the traditional formula and combining the absurd with a simplistic efficiency.
The poking of the audience begins right from the jump. The appearance of breaking the fourth wall and immediate over-the-top hero versus and absurd amount of villains tradition brings the audience into a delightful gallop that is wonderfully self-contained and most importantly…IMMEDIATELY discontinuing the possible story that Thor: The Dark World (2013) brought forth. Still my least favorite Marvel movie to be produced. Whoof.
Chris Hemsworth thrives in playing an over-the-top Thor. It brings back the charisma that makes the 2011 induction Thor one of the best Marvel variations. The comedy is not crammed into one-liners but rather created by environment all the characters find themselves. For example, when Thor and Hulk wake up in the same room following their big bash. That scene was hilarious. Same can be said for when Thor meets Hela in the throne room of Asgard before the final showdown.
The way Waititi shot those moments was pulped with wide shots to show both characters engulfed in a large room or setting. It shows that while the characters are larger-than-life in both the story and in culture, they are part of a universe that is still growing and gigantic enough to hold the personalities in check.
Speaking of Hela, just massive props to Cate Blanchett.
She made it public that she took part in Thor: Ragnorak due in large part to her children:
“I’ve only done action a couple of times, so it feels like…a departure is too strong a word, but it certainly seems like a change for me. So, I am looking forward to getting really fit, and wearing lycra, and hoping to earn a bit of street cred from my kids. I can’t wait.”
She wanted to have fun, and to appears to have succeed even with a limited amount of screen time. Her portrayal of the Goddess of Death reminded me of Cruella de Vil. It was a strong upgrade of Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa in Power Rangers (2017).
One of the subtleties of Thor: Ragnarok is its strong ties and references to real recorded Norse mythology. Odin going to Norway. Loki and Thor’s tale with the snake. There are nods to the origins of Thor the comic that was first thought of being brought to the flip-page by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby.
If you are interested in Norse Mythology, you should read Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. It’s a quick page-turner that’ll take you down the source of your favorite God of Thunder.
Thor: Ragnarok is a phenomenal starts off with combining Deadpool (2016) self-assurance and the Matrix Reloaded (2003) bonkers park fight scene. From there it brings in the wit of Ocean’s 11 (2001) and the pace of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). It culminates with a Marvel-esq home run smash.
STANKO RATING: A-