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ASGARD — Just when I think the ‘Thor’ movies couldn’t possibly be any dumber, they go and make something like Ragnarok... and totally redeems itself.
I am the first and loudest to admit that I have never been a fan of the “Thor” movies. From the first “Thor” six years ago to “Thor: The Dark World” in 2013, I found nothing compelling about the storylines, characters or feel of the movies. For some reason, I have been immune to the charm of Chris Hemsworth, try though he may.
With all of this working against the “Thor” franchise, I was understandably not excited to learn there would be a new attempt to make “Thor” interesting in 2017. Except for there was one thing: Taika Waititi.
Wait, who is Taika Waititi you may ask? Well, let me tell you.
Taika Waititi is a little-known director from New Zealand who, until now, has yet to be part of a movie with any significant budget or cultural impact. Despite this, he has written and directed a couple of films I happen to really enjoy, including “What We Do in the Shadows” (2014) and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (2016).
When I found out Waititi was the director, I could no longer preemptively hate “Thor: Ragnarok” with all of my heart, even though I tried. I convinced myself that the previews looked dumb, I didn’t like the colors on the promo posters, Chris Hemsworth looked ridiculous with short hair, the list goes on.
But yet, I couldn't help but wonder what Waititi could do with the film. Fortunately, I am here today to tell you how my mustard seed of faith was rewarded.
Here's how the latest installment redeemed the franchise:
“Thor: Ragnarok” is easily the funniest movie I have seen in at least a couple of years. Written by Erik Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, this film hits every note perfectly for comedic timing and storytelling. Taiki Waititi took this film to a new and welcome level as a director and it was fun.
“Thor” is no longer treated with an unnecessary reverence to the character or the Marvel Universe. In fact, the entire film was spent playing against almost every stereotype the franchise had to offer. Nothing was off the table and as a result, we got to see much more of the personalities of all the of the characters.
Excellent character development
In this film, we get to see a new side to all of the traditional Thor players as well as be introduced to some new ones. It felt like a breath of fresh air for the actors to not take everything so seriously in this film. The almost impromptu approach to their performances made everyone more real to the viewer and made me care more than I ever have about their fates.
The best interactions were between Thor and the Hulk, but Tom Hiddleston has some great moments as Loki. Hemsworth has finally won me over with his comedic timing, with or without his long hair. My favorite character insight came from the Hulk. After watching him in this film I will never look at that big green guy the same again. We are also introduced to Korg, a hilarious alien gladiator voiced by director Taika Waititi.
I am a sucker for the visuals of a film. A film can be made and broken by the way it looks and feels visually for me. “Thor: Ragnarok” does not disappoint.
My biggest complaint in the other Thor movies was that they looked so manufactured from the sets to the generic nebulous world of Asgard. Not anymore. The environments felt full of texture and well thought out details. There were some moments that were just visually stunning and slowed down to “300”-esque speed to give you time to take in just how beautiful the shot compositions were.
I won’t say anymore so I don't give anything away other than Matt Damon has now entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if only for a moment.
I usually try to balance the good with the bad in my reviews, and to be fair, there were some things I didn’t love about the film. But they were not enough to significantly take away from my overall enjoyment. Director Taika Waititi nailed this film and will no longer be an obscure director from New Zealand. I am sure he will soon be a household name.
If you wondering how the content of this movie may or may not apply to you and your family, look for John Clyde’s parent's guide on Friday.