2017-11-03

Thor Ragnarok

by Justin Johnson

I was genuinely excited for Thor: Ragnarok based on the previews.  A strong change in direction to more comedy and some genuine moments between characters left me with high hopes.  Which can often lead to disappointment but in this case, expectations were well warranted.  One of my friends thought the trailers gave too much away, I disagree.  The extended trailers were needed to show you, this Thor was not like the first two.  The movie picks up after previous events, Hulk flying off in a Quinjet, Loki left for dead, and general despair after the events of Ultron.  Don’t expect a big story advancing the marvel series, this is a standalone that plays off previous events but really only advances an Asgard story and does so with lots of great writing.

In case you have avoided trailers, I’ll keep out most of the spoilers but a few must be mentioned.  During a battle scene Thor is thrust into space and ends up on the trash planet Sakaar where Jeff Goldbloom’s character Grandmaster runs a gladiator match with his hero Hulk.  Jeff Goldbloom plays, well Jeff Goldbloom as he does in every movie.  Fun, quirky and always a bit annoying.  Perhaps appropriate as the overall movie could be described much the same way, fun quirky and perhaps a bit annoying in spots.  But it does so knowingly, Thor plays out exactly as intended and because you know what to expect you welcome it’s fun.  Expect lots of good belly laughs and a light story that pits Thor against an old Asgardian who will be his greatest challenge yet.

I think one of the main draws of Thor is his purity of character.  He knows who he is, he knows his duty to his people, and he plays the role well.  He is often torn between two good deeds, but always the struggle is righteous.  For example, he trusts Loki to a fault which might just be reconciled in this movie…  But that’s what we want out of our heroes, righteousness.  Something we desperately need in our own life, a clear standard of right and wrong and desire to do what is right and punish the wrong.  Thor is a hero we can stand behind.  A hero with a bit of arrogance, ok a lot of arrogance.  But when you take away the righteousness, you get scandals like we are facing in Hollywood today.  Where arrogance combined with a lack of righteousness results in bigger than life stars thinking they can do what they want.  Thor provides a counter to the point, that there is more to live for than just ourselves.

In addition to some good comedy Thor himself comes of age.  We learn more about Asgardian history and where Thor’s power really comes from.  So the story does play out some good character advancement ahead of Infinity Wars.  It will be interesting to see how they play Thor’s new standing in Asgard into upcoming movies.

6 out of 7: If you go into Thor Ragnarok with the right expectations, you won’t be let down.  Rated PG-13 for stylized action and violence, also some innuendo in the comedy.