Yes, I am sick of superhero movies, said it a hundred times. And yet, like Michael Corleone in Godfather 3, they keep sucking me back in.
So here’s the thing about Thor: Ragnarok. You know what it is. No need for me to waste time or energy trying to explain the plot or help you decide whether it’s for you or not. Instead, I will just mention the things that really stood out for me. Because, despite all the superhero fatigue I may be feeling, Thor: Ragnarok was still a total blast.
First and foremost, and probably the number one reason you should spend some money to go see this in the theatre: the effects. I mean…wow. We happened to go to the 3D showing because it was the most convenient show time for us (I normally do not prefer 3D) and I can tell you—my mouth sat agape for the first 10 minutes of this movie. I literally felt like I was inside a video game. Not because of the dizzying action or anything, but because it felt so immersive, so crisp and so eye-popping. The entire movie was just as exhilarating on the eyes, and I actually found myself grinning like an idiot, thinking “this is why big screens will never go away.”
The costumes (by Mayes C. Rubeo) are also stunning, and, obviously, the production design. When the look of a film is created almost completely on a computer, you’d better hope the production design is good, but Dan Hennah (Lord of the Rings films) and Ra Vincent (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) do a spectacular job of taking us to unique places that don’t feel over-stylized.
The performances, however, are a bit uneven. Chris Hemsworth continues to prove that the words “movie star” still exist for a reason. He is charming and studly, with surprisingly nimble comic timing. Tom Hiddleston, on the other hand, is lost and lethargic, a far cry from the Loki we used to know. Does he even need to be here? But Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchett certainly do belong here, as two very different kind of warriors. Thompson is feisty and fearless and Blanchett is, well, just plain scary good. Would you expect anything less. Jeff Goldblum feels like he walked off a Hunger Games set, but he’s still quite amusing (not quite Caesar Flickerman, but close) and don’t sleep on Karl Urban, who is still but memorable. However, it’s hard to forgive wasting Idris Elba the way they do. That should be against the law.
In the end, though, the real stamp on Thor: Ragnarok is the director’s. Virtually unknown before this, Taika Waititi was quite literally given the keys to the kingdom with not much more experience than an Oscar-nominated short film (Two Cars, One Night) and a critically-acclaimed indie movie that nobody saw (The Hunt for the Wilderpeople) under his belt. Marvel (Disney) handed Waititi $180 million to make an installment of one of its most beloved (and lucrative) franchises. And it paid off. What makes Thor: Ragnarok so enjoyable, besides the visuals, is its loose, almost-campy sensibility. There is a relaxed aura above everything here, from the humor to the uncomplicated story to the playful performances. There’s nothing ultra-serious here and that’s what saves it. Waititi deserves all the credit for making Thor: Ragnarok stand out from the superhero crowd.
While Thor: Ragnarok isn’t as charming, funny or imaginative as Guardians of the Galaxy (still my favorite of the modern superhero movies), it certainly deserves a lot of praise for being an easy, fun and eye-poppingly gorgeous two hours. Well worth your time and money if you’re into that sort of thing.