2017-11-03

Thor: Ragnarok

by Yo Snyder

Thor: Ragnarok is a rocking, breezy good time. It’s easily the best of the Thor movies, which I know, isn’t saying a whole lot, so I should also say that, surprisingly, it probably ranks as one of the better overall Marvel films. I know, I’m just as surprised as you, but suffice it to say, the film has lived up to the funny, action-packed impression the awesome trailers gave us. Granted, many of the best parts of the film are in the trailers, and pretty much the overall story was thoroughly summarized by the trailers; so if you’ve seen them, there aren’t many surprises in the actual movie. Still, it definitely delivers on the experience promised, which can be rare for movies that have really great trailers.

Perhaps the best part of Thor: Ragnarok is its willingness to go all-out comic book with this story. This is easily the comic bookiest (is that a word?) comic book film I’ve seen so far. Quite frankly, it’s refreshing to get away from the “grounded,” more “realistic” and “gritty” takes on comic book movies to make them more relatable. It’s a trend that’s been going on for awhile at Marvel, but Thor really embraces the source’s material to the max and is a really fun film because of it. I don’t need comic book heroes or the worlds they inhabit to be “believable” in any way; it’s a comic book! Go big, go weird, go outlandish, I can handle it. Thor: Ragnarok does just that. Sure, not everyone in the audience is going to get every geeky little reference to obscure Marvel comic book lore, but they’ll have a good time, and that’s what matters.

Speaking of not catching everything, the down-side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) these days is if you haven’t been keeping up with recent films, you may be a little lost as to why certain characters are here or why they keep bringing up certain subjects. This is especially true with Hulk, as he doesn’t have stand-alone films to tell his ongoing story. Audiences shouldn’t be too lost with what takes place, but without strong familiarity of the MCU’s continuity, the significance of some actions may be lost on the more casual movie-goer. It’s an interesting problem that comic books struggle with; how to let new audiences enjoy stories that can’t really disentangle themselves from decade’s worth of continuity. How comic book movies will handle this issue as they build a broader backlog of story and have characters encounter each other more often will be interesting.

Thor’s journey, at least in the solo films, has been about worth; is he truly worth to wield Mjölnir? To succeed his father Odin on the throne of Asgard? Thor finds some resolution to those questions in this film, providing a nice capstone to this part of the character’s journey. Of course, the question of worth is something just about everyone in culture wrestles with. Are we worthy? Perhaps more important, are we worthwhile? Do we really matter? The Bible has a very definitive answer to that question; YES! We matter, and we are worth something to God. In fact, we matter so much that God was willing to send his only Son Jesus to be our savior; to die in our place for our sins and to rise from the dead so that we wouldn’t have any reason to fear death any more. As for our worth, the Bible puts it this way; “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40:2. Basically what that says is that God thought we were so worth it, that he was willing to pay double what we owed because of our sin. So never let anyone tell you that you are worthless; the fact is, God thinks you’re worth twice as much as anyone else ever has.

As for what Thor’s new movie is worth; well, I think it’s definitely worth seeing. It’s funny, it’s exciting, it’s got a rocking sound track—it’s basically Guardians of the Galaxy, but one of the few movies that have used that formula well. It offers no surprises, especially if you’ve seen the trailers, but if you’re looking for a good time at the movies with lots of humor and superhero action, Thor: Ragnarok definitely fits the bill, and you’ll probably even be delighted that it’s the first Thor movie that you’ll remember anything about after leaving the theater.