In preparation for Avengers: Infinity War, I’m watching all the Marvel Studios movies leading up to it.
Thor Ragnarok (2017)
This is a rare Marvel movie that I only got to see once in the theater. This is no reflection on how much I enjoyed the movie at the time, but I’d just started a new job and time just sort of got away from me. The crazy thing about Thor Ragnarok is that it doesn’t feel at all like the final film in a trilogy. In some ways, it feels like Thor had just found his groove as a character. I’m intrigued to see how much of what gets started here carries forward past Infinity War. But if this is the last Thor solo movie with Hemsworth in the lead, what a way to go out!
It’s impressive how the movie actually seems to one-up the beautifully colorful Guardians movies by adding in a lot more Kirby flair. It works beautifully well, and when the amazing soundtrack gets going in full 80s mode it’s hallucinatory and exciting. Speaking of the soundtrack, it’s still a little amazing to me that the double dipping on the Immigrant’s Song works quite as well as it does without being repetitive.
There are some major changes that take place in the Thor world, and they are almost all exciting ones. It feels like the movies are taking the Asgardians in a direction that’s similar to what happened in the comics, although the run-in at the very end of the movie might prevent that. In any case, it’s a fun trip getting there, even though some pretty heavy things happen along the way.
Part of what makes the movie work so well is that it features some amazing performances. Chris Hemsworth gets to really show off his comedic chops. It’s annoying that someone so handsome is also funny and a good actor, but there you have it. The team-up between him and the Hulk/Banner is so perfect. I could watch three more movies with the duo. It also allows the Hulk to really let loose against some big monsters! Which is so much more exciting than endless drones. Karl Urban is good in literally everything from Judge Dredd to Doctor McCoy, and he’s great here too. I do wish he had a little more to do. But he really works in his role. Cate Blanchett is hilarious, having a blast, as Hela. She’s a great villain in that she’s funny and absolutely deadly. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is still a lot of fun, even if (as Thor points out) his bag of tricks is a bit predictable. Having him and Thor on the same side is always a joy, even if it’s not permanent.
But, the performance that really steals the whole show is Tess Thompson’s Valkyrie. Her entrance is hilarious, she’s a badass, she’s got a backstory, and a chip on her shoulder. It’s a totally charming combo that makes me think she could support a movie all on her own. Add in Korg and Jeff Goldblum’s Goldblumiest performance yet as the Grandmaster, and you’ve got a movie jam-packed with goodness. It even has a cool poster for once!