Thor: Ragnarok was a surprisingly enjoyable movie. To its great credit Marvel Studios has enough self-awareness, self-deprecation, humor and zaniness going on for everyone in the audience to let their hair down and have fun. Even though the theme of the film is a heroic one, stating essentially that it’s important to not hide but rather face your problems head on, it doesn’t hurt when part of your problem is a giant digital hieroglyph of psychedelic Gradmaster, Jeff Goldblum.
Also, it’s a Thor movie where Thor loses his anvil permanently in Act I and Stan Lee himself cuts off Thor’s hair. From a storytelling standpoint, it takes courage to knock out two of the main elements that your protagonist is known for and that fans have come to expect. I could go on but there are enough surprises and bends in the road to keep you laughing and into the story the entire way through. Not only that, when done well like this, a superhero action movie can provoke thoughts of both current events and also antiquity — even in the same scene.
In terms of special effects, it’s mostly nothing you have never seen before (the fire demon Surtor had an uncanny resemblance to Te Kā, the volcanic demon in Moana) but they do serve the story well and never feel gratuitous or overbearing. A small army of animators and digital artists cooked this film up fantastically.
The stellar cast lives up to its billing, led admirably by Chris Hemsworth and Cate Blanchett with strong performances by Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins among others.
L & D caught this feature in 3D and it worked well for the scope of this epic, with wide shots of colorful cosmic waste dumps and massive water falls. I would just ask that the filmmakers spare us of unnecessarily fast focus pulls unless the joke is you’re into millions of cross-eyed Thor fans vomiting a little in their mouths. But mostly it was cool in 3D, not Blade Runner 2049 cool but cool nevertheless.
There were several times I laughed out loud, often at the expense of the Caligula’s yacht inspired leisure starship of the Grandmaster. It’s hijacked by Thor who finds that its only line of defense is whatever is left from the previous orgy and fireworks.
In the words of The Collector on The Simpsons, “This was definitely one of my favorite super hero genre movies, ever.”