I am so excited for Thor: Ragnarok I just can’t tell you. I enjoyed the first two Thor movies but both were very Earth-centric and that’s not what Thor is about. He’s a cosmic hero. He should be saving the universe, not the world. I’m hopeful that this movie will give us that. Also Chris Hemsworth has a real comic talent (did you see him in Ghostbusters?) and it looks like this film is taking advantage of that.
Oh, it’s so good! This may be Marvel’s best yet, though I’m not quite ready to say that for sure. But it is most definitely in the top three. Cate Blanchett’s Hela is a truly evil villain and you can tell she relished every scenery-chewing moment. Thor is very funny: that dry, deadpan humour the Aussies are so good at. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is still a slimy beggar looking out for himself, but an event early in the film presages a change for him and he is much closer to being on the right side here. He even gets his hero moment in the big showdown. Hulk – Mark Ruffalo is as good as ever and Hulk/Banner has a nice story arc that should carry nicely into the next Avengers movie. Karl Urban gives a surprisingly layered performance as the villainous Scourge, who becomes Hela’s sidekick as much to save himself as for evil intent.
But the real scene stealer is Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie: when we first meet her she’s the kind of hard-drinking, tough-talking, doesn’t-give-a-f–k mercenary who would normally be played by someone like Tom Hardy. Inch by inch the facade cracks until we see what forged her. And her action scenes are amazing. She has just the right combination of tough, smart, competent, vulnerable and kick-ass awesomeness. There’s a spark between her and Thor – I’m thinking of one moment in particular – but there’s no romance here and that just makes it better.
If there’s a love story here, it’s Thor and Loki’s. One of the weaknesses of the first Thor movie was Loki’s betrayal didn’t have the impact it should because we didn’t see much of them as brothers. This film makes up for that in spades: they bicker when they are friends and go for broke when they are enemies. Loki takes absolute delight in Thor’s misfortunes but they also edge toward a genuine reconciliation…which of course Loki does his best to avoid. But you can see that these are two men who were raised together, who have that history and love each other even as they fight.
Oh, I forgot Heimdall! Finally he gets a script worthy of Idris Elba’s talent! At the beginning of the film we learn that he is in exile. He returns at exactly the right moment and while he isn’t one of the leads he is a pivotal player and we get to see him as leader and a hero as well as warrior and stoic guardian of the gate.
And I’m avoiding talking about the plot here because I really don’t want to give away the surprises. There are a few twists that have been well kept under wraps (to the point where the trailer actually has different CGI in a key moment so it doesn’t spoil one twist) and the film is better for it.
My favourite moments, though:
The Game of Thrones-style play recapping Loki’s “death” in the previous film, especially with who is playing “Loki”. Thor trying to calm Hulk down in the arena. Banner freaking out when he realises he’s on an alien planet. Valkyrie’s memory of fighting Hela. Thor mourning for his smashed hammer but later figuring out he doesn’t really need it. The fireworks. Hulk vs Fenris and “For once in your life, don’t smash!”
So much fun. If I have a complaint it’s that the opening, with Thor fighting Surtur in Muspelheim (a fire demon in hell, for those not familiar) looks so much like some scenes in the Justice League trailer that I just know I’m going to keep expecting Thor to show up when I see that one next month! Also Norway looks an awful lot like Devon. And I wish a certain character hadn’t died because I want to see them again! But maybe dead isn’t permanent in these movies.
Funny, exciting, thrilling, deep in places, great characters, fabulous action, over the top, sexy, spectacular.