I am going to do my best to let you know how much I enjoyed “Thor: Ragnarok” without ruining the movie for those few of you who haven ‘t seen it. But you should really see it. You might be able to find it lingering in some theaters still, but you can buy it digitally now and own the disk in a few weeks. Watch it!
I have been a fan of Thor since the first movie, which surprised me at the time. Thor was far from a favorite character in my comic books. He was uninteresting, he talked strangely, and just flew around with a hammer. He was a character that was in things I read, not a character I sought out on his own. When the first movie was announced, I was curious at best wondering how anyone was going to make this unapproachable hero interesting for two hours. I was impressed. Straczynski & Branagh did a wonderful job crafting a movie that retained the epic scope of who Thor is while quite literally bringing him down to earth. The story was a classic coming of age story, despite the fact that the main character was centuries old.
The second movie shifted focus. It was somewhere between a war story and a save the princess story. There was less work on the individual characters and it felt (like many of the movies often do now) like a cog in the machine that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hints were dropped, the world was saved, but we already knew Thor was in “Avengers 2” so there was no real jeopardy. It was good, not great, and definitely felt like a set up for other things.
“Ragnarok” was once again different from its predecessors. There was a return to classic storytelling with Thor embarking on a hero’s journey to save his home and reclaim his power. However things did not unfold in the way we have come to expect. The heroes aren’t that heroic, the villain has a valid point of view (although is over the top in enforcing it), the happy ending isn’t happy, and the finale has no conclusion. It wasn’t what I expected, but I liked that it felt different. I liked that the story wasn’t cookie cutter with predictable movements from one act to another. The film obviously sits within a wider universe with stories that are woven together, but it does not feel tied down to the universe. It was also funny which is a big plus for me.
If you are at all invested in the Thor character or the greater MCU, “Ragnarok” is a must see. Fortunately, it is also enjoyable and unpredictable. It may not be the best of the MCU movies, but it is far from the worst.