‘Thor: Ragnarok’ adds to Marvel lore
Last Word Features
Movie: “Thor: Ragnarok”
Director: Taika Waititi
At this point, Marvel Studios can do no wrong.
Even if it was barely selling any comic books, the filmmaking side of the corporate mega-giant would keep them printing away for decades to come.
A huge reason why these movies continue to succeed both critically and commercially is the focus has always been on character first, with the plot coming second to just hanging out with these heroes and villains we’ve grown to love.
Since 2008’s “Iron Man,” we’ve had 17 films in the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe and eight television shows with several more on the way.
While not everything has been golden (I’m looking at you “Thor: The Dark World” and “Iron Fist”), the quality of Marvel’s output shows a company that’s more focused on creating a massively entertaining sandbox populated with iconic characters than some cynical corporate synergy built around exploiting existing intellectual property.
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The movies all have a sense of humor, keep things pretty light and tend to follow a rather similar template. But watching some of the brilliant filmmakers that have been brought on to shepherd those projects proves that sometimes coloring within the lines can be even more exciting.
All of the Marvel movies could have just felt like “Comic Book Films” without any variation on the genre. Instead, we’ve had “The Winter Soldier” as a ’70s political thriller, “Ant-Man” as a heist movie, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” as a John Hughes-esque teen comedy and now, “Thor: Ragnarok” as a buddy comedy space opera as if it was silk-screened onto the back of a denim jacket.
Setting the Stage
Director Taika Waititi (also responsible for the brilliant “What We Do in the Shadows”) has crafted something so deeply weird and hilarious that the genre will be trying to emulate it for years to come.
“Ragnarok” is one part “Willy Wonka,” one part “Midnight Run” and three parts “Tron” after one too many bong rips.
To set the stage for this movie, Thor has come across a prophecy saying that his homeland of Asgard would be destroyed in a fiery conflagration known as Ragnarok. So he’s spent the last few months searching for answers.
After fighting Hela the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett having the time of her life), Thor is sent to the planet Sakaar, run by the ridiculously strange Grandmaster (a perfect Jeff Goldblum). Thor must fight for his freedom and then put together a team to head back to Asgard to try and save the city from Hela and her undead minions.
That’s it. The story is simple and streamlined, yet easily the most fun I’ve had in a theater all year. From the 8-bit, laser light show score by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, the addition of Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and the best use yet of Chris Hemsworth’s sly comedic timing as Thor, “Ragnarok” is an instant classic.
It’s lightweight, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The re-watch value is endless and it’s so effortlessly entertaining that it’s hard not to be amazed that Marvel has once again struck gold. Congratulations Marvel, you’ve made me a kid again.