These fuckers at Marvel, they got me REAL fucking bad! Gimme Phase 4, Phase 6, PHASE FUCKIN’ 20!!! I’ll take it all! Thor: Ragnarok marks Marvel’s 17th film with 3 more in active stages of production, with several more in the planning stage. Then there are the Netflix series, with The Punisher debuting later this month. Runaways premieres on Hulu in a few weeks and Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. comes back mid-season. I must admit there have been a few hiccups on the TV side of things (I’m glad Marvel’s first true DISASTER was an Inhumans miniseries on ABC. Because really, who gives a shit?), but otherwise Marvel has me by the balls and they are not letting go. If they keep making movies like Thor: Ragnarok, they can lovingly hold onto my balls as long as they want.
I love how the non-Avengers Marvel movies have become less about individual heroes like Marvel Phase 1 and more about team ups of a few prominent Marvel heroes under the banner of one of the big three (Cap, Iron Man, Thor). Though I love the character of Thor, what really sold me on the movie was the fact that it was going to be a team up film with the Hulk with a little side of Doctor Strange. Then when that 1st awesome, METAL trailer came out, they had me hook, line, and sinker.
The Thor films are interesting components of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I love the first one and I think the first half of that movie has some of the most creative and interesting filmmaking in the entire series on display. Kenneth Branagh was an inspired choice to direct the first Thor film and I’d love to see him come back and play in the MCU sandbox again. In my opinion the second movie is the weakest in The MCU (Fuck you, Tim! Iron Man 2 rules, baby!). So where does Thor:Ragnarok stand? Well, it’s a whole hell of a lot of fun.
It’s certainly extremely different from what’s been done before not only in other Thor films, but in MCU films in general. It’s a unique movie and once it gets started, it’s a crazy roller coaster ride that doesn’t stop until the end of the movie. The film flys by. This is largely thanks to the influence of director Taika Waititi. However, if these films don’t have some heart, some emotional center to latch onto, I feel they lose something. Fortunately, the film doesn’t forget to make you care about it’s characters. All of the best of the Marvel films have had a really strong emotional center built around strong characters, innovative filmmaking, and fun action sequences.
(“Loki listen, this is never easy to say, but it’s time we put Dad in an assisted living facility. Oh! You banished him to Earth? Problem solved, then.)
I think one of the best things about the film is the continued development of the relationship between Loki and Thor. Loki is someone that we should hate, but I found myself rooting for him to find some redemption. Which brings me to another point I enjoyed: the villains are not black-and-white, with stupid, vague goals and motivations. Hela was an interesting villain and it was fun every time Cate Blanchett was on scene as this character. She looked like she was having a blast, but her character wasn’t without depth. I wouldn’t put her in the top tier of Marvel villains like Loki or Kingpin or Ultron, but she’s certainly not a bland villain like Malekith or even Ronan The Accuser.
(Say what you want about me, but I think Cate Blanchett looks crazy hot like this)
Of course we can’t talk about this movie without talking about The Hulk. I don’t think fans of the Planet Hulk storyline will be disappointed. It would be an exaggeration to say that this is a full on adaptation of that story, but characters and elements from the story are incorporated into the movie that I was pleasantly surprised to see were included. Nothing in this movie with the Hulk quite beats the gladiator match between him and Thor that we’ve seen pieces of in the trailers (Loki’s reaction to seeing that Hulk is the reigning Champ is priceless). Personally I felt The Hulk wasn’t quite the scene stealer other reviews have made him out to be, but I love me a good Thor and Hulk team up.
(Just as this picture was taken, Stan Lee realized he had just shit his pants.)
I have a nitpick about The Hulk which is sort of the spoiler, so I’ll get into that on our podcast “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim”. We’re going to do a deep dive into the film and talk full spoilers. So keep an eye out for that and make sure you see the movie before you listen to the podcast. The are some huge, surprising, game-changing developments in this movie. No single character in the MCU has ever had such a massive status quo change.
I was surprised that the movie lived up to its title. This really is Ragnarok. Like Norse Mythology Ragnarok… well kinda. Norse Ragnarok by way of Marvel Comics. For you comic book fans, this movie borrows as much from Thor: Disassembled as much as Planet Hulk. Fans of the comics will probably be able to guess where things are going for Thor and The Asgardian part of the MCU by the end of the film.There’s a mid credits sequence that makes the future somewhat less clear. I don’t even want to vaguely speculate on the meaning of the mid-credits scene because it could be interpreted as Spoiler-y (More on all of this in our podcast). All in all I enjoyed this film a lot. I do not think it is as good as it’s being made out to be. It’s a very good movie, but not in the top tier of the Marvel films. But whether you are a Marvel fanatic or just movie fan who enjoys a good sci-fi romp, go see Thor:Ragnarok, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Final Grade: B
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