There are no plot spoilers in this review! Only a sprinkling of lines/character development appreciations…
The whole family went to see Thor: Ragnarok on Sunday morning, and it was super fun! Jack and Nonie and I were all always excited for this one, but Kitty mostly only wanted to go because Idris Elba was in it (with a decent sized role, for a change; oh, and Cate Blanchett, too!); and she was very pleasantly surprised (even going so far as to say she now, finally, wants to see the other ensemble cast Marvel films, like The Avengers, with me). It was laugh out loud funny, and there were many “YES! KICK BUTT!” moments to boot.
What was so great about it? Let’s ask our team…
Nonie (11 year old geek girl) says she really appreciated Hulk’s character development. “He was his own character this time, with his own thoughts and feelings, separate from Bruce Banner’s.” Ruffalo’s Hulk, especially when bantering (possibly via improv) with Hemsworth’s Thor, really got a lot across, with minimal words. I always thought that the Banner/Hulk storyline was the best part of the first Avengers film, and this film continues that story, along with others, showing how Banner and Hulk begin to appreciate each other’s complementary parts. And that Wisconsin-born Ruffalo is a fine actor.
Jack (9-year-old boy wolf) says his favorite part is when Blanchett’s character, Hela, challenges Thor to the core (“What are you the god of again?”), and the latter thinks back on his upbringing, his father, his goals and aspirations, what make him Thor (hint: it’s actually not his hammer), and calls up thunder so the good guys (god guys?) win. It’s a nice story, and done well.
From my side (middle-aged art nerd), it was the easy sense of the relationships, the improv, the further development of a lot of already fairly developed characters (22 films or something like that now?). Thor: Ragnarok’s stories and jokes refer to earlier in the film itself (classic improv), but also to the comics, to previous films, to pop culture… but you don’t need to know all the references (or any of them) to enjoy it.
I looked it up, and apparently Hemsworth felt like Thor 2: Dark World tried too hard to be serious, and lost sight of some of what he wanted from the character. He spoke it over with the director, with Marvel, and others, and… they totally went for his ideas, scrapping and re-booting on some level. We used to think of Thor as this long-haired, cape-wearing, hammer-wielding hero, who takes himself pretty seriously. Now? We think of Hemsworth. So… Hemsworth had at him! He tore his cape and tossed it, cut his hair off (hilarious scene, with Stan Lee), lost his hammer, and very often took the piss out of himself. The chemistry between him and Hulk (and separately, Banner), him and Tom Hiddleston’s AMAZINGLY AWESOME (as always) and even more developed Loki, him and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, etc, etc. … It’s just obvious they had so much FUN making this film. And I admit: I was even surprised at the end!
Kitty (most beautiful woman in the universe – inside and out) really appreciated… Loki. We love to hate him, hate to love him. He often does good, but we can never trust him. Also? Idris Elba. Also? Now she likes Chris Hemsworth (I am going to watch the new Ghostbusters with her). Also? We don’t want to give any (more) of the jokes away, but… after you see it, say to yourself…. “we’re not doing get help.” Overall what Kitty really liked was that in addition to this fun and funny super hero film, she was able to engage with her own childhood passions surrounding Norse mythology, which is so rich and complex. Also? The sound track. So eighties!
Thor: Ragnarok’s plot is fun and interesting, there are a lot of awesome tangents and cool-but-throwaway “catch up with the Marvel story” lines – and it all holds together, both from beginning to end, and in relation to MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).
All four of us recommend this film!