Just back from a “fan event” premiere of Thor: Ragnarok. Whatever else it is, the movie is top-notch. And the “event” part wasn’t half-bad either. Popcorn and soda with a reusable cup? Check. A Marvel “medallion” for the movie? Check. A great seat in the quality theater with no one sitting right in front of me? Check. Plus it started an hour earlier than the other showings, which was great for an early-bird like me.
The movie? Well, it started with a couple of shorts featuring the movie’s director, Taika Watiti, the movie’s music guy, and three of the show’s main actors. Then it was straight to a scene first hinted at in the initial, and very funny, trailer. The whole movie in infused with humor: lots of verbal back-and-forth that reminded me how much I enjoyed shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Studio 60. The humor is great but also a little disconcerting. Fortunately, Waititi knows when to balance humor with action, which he does well through the rest of the movie.
As a long-time fan of the Thor comic (at least 80s and 90s) and Norse mythology, it’s odd to see the idea of Ragnarok “hijacked” for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a way that doesn’t bring in strands like Baldur. At the same time, the movie does a great job of making nods and logical connections to the present state of the MCU. Sure, you’ve got Doctor Strange. You’ve also got plot-points from previous Thor movies as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron. And you’ve got big moves made to move the overall MCU story forward.
The question, of course, is how well the movie will hold up over time. The first Thor movie is okay, worth a repeat viewing only once you’ve forgotten all that had happened in it. The Dark World was full of promise and packed with a great cast, but it doesn’t hold up all that well, either. The humor of Ragnarok could be the thing that keeps the movie up for repeat viewings, which is good. Lots of witty repartee to revisit, for sure. Cate Blanchett, by the way, was amazing . . . not bringing her back further down the road would be a real shame. The same for Karl Urban’s Skurge.
Here’s a recent clip of Chris Hemsworth, Thor himself, trying to explain the concept of Ragnarok. If nothing else, perhaps the movie will inspire people to check out the source material: not just the comics by great artists like Walt Simonson, but also the mythology behind it all, too.