Nov-23-2017

Reel Snippet – Thor: Ragnarok

Summary: After discovering a fresh new treachery by his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleson), the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) tracks down his missing father Odin (Anthony Hopkins)… only to witness him pass away. News of his death brings a fresh new hell in the form of Hela (Cate Blanchett), Odin’s firstborn daughter who he cast out because of her bloodlust and thirst for conquest. She makes short work of the brothers and throws them into the cosmos, where they land on a planet named Sakaar. Its overseer, the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), wastes no time in throwing Thor into his gladiator sport, where the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) reigns supreme. Along with an alcoholic warrior named Valkerie (Tessa Thompson), the group must find a way back to Asgard to stop Hela from conquering all that lives with her army of the dead.

Review: Thor: Ragnarok is like if a metal album and an 80s movie had a baby, a phrase I mean in the best possible way. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun and was in so much awe during a movie. Every scene flowed beautifully together and most of them were filled with jokes that hit bullseye. Considering that the director, Taika Waititi, is the mind behind Flight of the Concords and What We Do in the Shadows, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

In this movie, we’re seeing a more mature and humorous Thor, a far cry from the first movie when his comedy came from how serious and oblivious he was about Earth… sorry, Midgard culture. I actually find this progression natural because he’s been rubbing elbows for some time with Tony Stark and the other Avengers, lest we forget Thor and Tony got into a d***-waving contest about who had the better girlfriend. Even if you find this a jarring change from before, Chris Hemsworth has the charisma to pull it off. Tom Hiddleson is in top form as Loki (as always) and Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk has never been more fun. The scenes with him and Thor range from epic to watching to siblings bicker hilariously.

But heroes are nothing without villains to work against and boy, oh boy, Hela delivers in every way. I think she may top Vulture as the best MCU villain and he was just one film ago! Even aside from her fully fleshed out motivations and air of menace and flair that Cate Blanchett brings to the table, she’s also accomplished the most of her antagonistic comrades. Let’s give a rundown of her milestones – [SPOILER WARNING! HOLD ONTO YOUR HAMMERS!] she breaks Thor’s hammer Mjolner, throws him and Loki out of the Bifrost beam to spiral through the cosmos, kills the Warriors Three and the majority, if not entirety, of Asgard’s armies, completely conquers Asgard, and sends the rest of the population into fearful hiding. [SPOILERS DONE!] Loki may have had more screen time, but Hela made what little she had count! Admittedly, her backstory is nothing like her comic counterpart (in the comics, she’s Loki’s daughter, though Thor and Loki do have a sister named Angela who is just… a really long story), but it works in the context of the film. On a side note, Skurge (Karl Urban) is also a fascinating antagonist who goes through quite the character arc.

Despite being the third Thor movie, this feels much more like a sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron. It follows up on a number number of threads left dangling by that movie, including Hulk’s whereabouts, Ultron’s reign of terror being discussed at multiple times, and the plot itself following up on a vision Thor had in the movie. Granted, this film is the first we’ve seen either Avenger since Age of Ultron, so that makes sense. The tone is also similar, as both movies mixed humor and action, though the tone is more blended and powerful here.

I almost forgot to mention Valkyrie, which would have been a crime because as far as characters go, she’s pretty dynamite. She’s a great balance of awesome, sympathetic, and (for lack of a better word) human, making her a great addition the the MCU — much like this movie. I hesitate to call it the best movie in the franchise because I’ve called that before (only to come down from my high later), but I would definitely put this in the top five. It’s fun, action-packed, and a great outing for the God of Thunder.

Fun Tidbit: There are a lot of things I could put here, like how Sakaar has monuments to numerous Marvel characters, a lot of the funniest scenes had about a dozen alternate reads that were apparently just as funny, or that the line about Hulk being “a friend from work” was written by a Make-a-Wish kid. Instead, I’d like to showcase how director Taika Waititi brought his his home to his work because there are numerous references to New Zealand (Waititi’s native country) and Australian culture. The masks of the trash hunters on Sakaar are based on designs from the area, the ship the crew uses in their escape attempt is called the Holden Commodore (a car made in New Zealand), and said ship is painted in the colors of the Aboriginal Australian flag.


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