Movie: Thor Ragnarok
My Rating: 4 stars
I probably wasn’t going to bother watching this film. I’ve grown a bit weary of all these Marvel movies that keep getting cranked out. There are so many of them, and they’re so similar in tone that I can’t even keep track of which ones I’ve seen and which I haven’t. But then I discovered that this one was directed by Taika Waititi. I love Taika Waititi’s work, and I’m always willing to check any of his projects. I was certain that his unique sense of humor would bring something a little different to this superhero movie. And it did. That being said, the movie does feel as if Waititi’s cinematic sensibilities have been sterilized a bit by the studio execs in order to appeal to a broader audience. His personality is definitely in there, but not in all its hilariously awkward glory.
I think this movie is definitely more about the small comedic moments than it is about the heroic, action-oriented story. In fact, the overarching narrative—Thor trying to escape slavery as a gladiator while his home world is being destroyed by his evil sister—might as well be an afterthought. Because, as a viewer, I was completely charmed by all the enchanting new characters being introduced. I love Jeff Goldblum as the sleazy Grandmaster at the helm of the gladiatorial spectacles. And, I was delighted to see Rachel House (who appears in all of Waititi’s movies) as Goldblum’s overzealous sidekick. I’m always a fan of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki—a character I unfortunately relate to a little too much. In my heart, I’d love to be the kind of bad-ass Valkyrie chick played by Tessa Thompson. But, regrettably I seem to find myself in the position of making some of the same “it seemed like a good idea at the time” life choices that Loki does. Sigh. Of course, I’m always enamored with the kind of stylish, all-powerful, dark, female villain that Cate Blanchett plays. And seeing Carl Urban as her hapless henchman was worth a chuckle. All-in-all, this movie was cast and acted very well, which is what lead to my ultimately deciding that I liked it, even though I’m not really into comics.
But, his movie really is a fun time. You probably don’t even have to be all that into the Marvel super-hero movies to enjoy it. Of course, it is a big blockbuster, with all the glitz, fast cuts, action, and big budget. And, it does water down the usually subtle and subversive comedy of Taika Waititi. But, there’s still plenty of entertainment to be had, and eccentricity to enjoy. I’d say, see it. Of course, it might help to see the previous Thor movies for a bit of context, but it’s not strictly necessary.