Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok ★★★★½

What a weird little movie! I think we should all reconsider our imagining of the big bad Marvel Studios and their much-maligned artistic rigidity, and perhaps consider that if a director is willing and able to simply work with them, gems like this can be made. Taika Waititi amazingly infused this massive blockbuster with his own quirky wit, it's absolutely insane that this works. You've still got the end-of-the-world (universe) stakes, the hero's quest for redemption under threat of a powerful villain, the franchise continuity/chains and the slow but steady progression of the universe as a whole; but you've also got a whole lot of hilarious, delightful little peppered in along the way.

Where to start? First the cast, obviously. Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, our eternal Lord Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba and Karl Urban, a dream of a cast assembled from all corners of the artistic spectrum working together wonderfully. Goldblum doing what Goldblum does is insanely entertaining, Waititi uses him perfectly in a small role. Blanchett hams it up wonderfully as the badass Hela, goddess of death returned to Asgard to conquer the cosmos. Tessa Thompson, rising star, owns the role of Valkyrie wonderfully, I really hope she becomes a player in the franchise in the future. All the rest of them, even Waititi hilariously voicing Korg with some signature Kiwi wit is phenomenal. But honestly, I've got to give the MVP to Chris Hemsworth. The guy has dabbled in comedy before, but he slays here. He proves himself a dynamic performer, capable of both executing epic actions scenes and cracking jokes. This movie really utilizes his talents, I love it (also, holy fuck his arms are huge).

Yes, this still suffers from a few of the MCU's bugs. Hela isn't made as interesting as she could've been, a few character journey's are a little rushed, blah blah blah. Honestly I'm not interested in discussing the few things it does wrong when it does so much right. I can hope for nothing more than for DC and Marvel to give their properties to interesting artists and allow them to put out products like this. There's going to be issues along the way with conflicting visions and such, that's inevitable. But to assume that it's always the studio's fault, that they're to take the blame? That's a little cheap. Ragnarok proves that with a little cooperation and creativity, studio and director can work hand in hand to make interesting stuff, it just comes down to each party being able to budge a little bit to accommodate the other. So props to Taika, Marvel Studios, Chris Hemsworth, and to the ever-expanding scope of superhero films from all parties involved; keep taking chances and doing your thing. I'm having a great time.

MCU ranked
2017

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