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‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Is A Hair Metal Raising Good Time

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Is A Hair Metal Raising Good Time

Taika Waititi is the visionary director that Marvel needed to bring a new and better Thor to fans. As with most of the Marvel properties, it is not necessary to see the previous films to enjoy Thor:Ragnarok. This is a good thing because Thor has consistently been considered the weak link of the Avengers. Not so anymore.

Thor:Ragnarok gives us Thor, (Chris Hemsworth) stripped of most of his identifying markers. They let him keep the abs, but, he is now without his trusty hammer. His long golden locks have been forcibly shaved from his head. The endless childlike joviality that made him the heart of the Avengers has been subdued. Thor has been forced to grow up.

The complications are met with the “can do” attitude fans have come to know and love. This level of jest is perfectly suited to Waititi, who blends his love of dry humor with an epic soundtrack of 80’s hair metal. The shredding guitars, fluorescent colors, and larger than life visuals are a perfect blend of Guardians of the Galaxy and something distinctly new.

If you’ve been obsessing over the Black Panther trailer, you may have noticed that Marvel Studios is pushing the visual boundaries of their film. No longer is realism the goal. It is like a comic book come to life.

The aliens, hell-raising creatures, and even Cate Blanchett’s Hela have moments that aren’t trying to convince the audience that what they’re watching is real life. Most notably, Hela’s helmet to hair transformations happens on screen. There’s no attempt to bring her hair into the antler crown she wears. There is simply hair and then no hair.

This departure from reality and the embrace of the artistic expression make the debut of Valkyrie all the sweeter. I cried during Wonder Woman. Despite the lack of distinct roles for women of color, I was thrilled to see women in functional armor fighting on beaches and running their own country. I promise it doesn’t hold a candle to the moment Valkyrie suits up.

Tessa Thompson is having the time of her life as she drunkenly flies spaceships and captures handsome men. Despite her petite stature, Thompson manages to make herself a respected threat. Not so easy to do next to a 250-pound hunk of muscle. When she fights, it is both graceful and articulated. Each swing of her sword is pointed and dedicated. Yet, she also looks great behind a Gatling gun. She is a multifaceted, flawed, powerful, struggling and a human hero. It’s inspiring.

However, it is the bromance Valkyrie shares with the Hulk, (Mark Ruffalo) that steals the show. The chemistry between the trio works better than any other grouping of supers thus far put on the big screen. The Guardians are great but they do not feel like a team. Tony and the Captain are dynamic together, but their relationship is built on opposite ideologies. It is only a matter of time before they’re at each other’s throats again. Hawkeye and Black Widow have an odd sexual tension that is predictable and slow. The only other great relationship in the series is the mentor-mentee relationship between Spider-Man and Iron Man.

Valkyrie, Hulk, and Thor are partners on an even playing field. Each brings a tactical advantage to the fight. They are clearly fighting for the same things. Even when they’re at each other’s throats they do it to push one another to greater heights. In other words, they are a real team. Unlike the Guardians, who are many in number, this singularly focused feature, is tightly packed to tell a Planet of the Apes style adventure in space.

There are a ton of great things to say about the film. There are also some issues. The first five minutes is so unbearably predictable it might have some viewers concerned that Waititi was restricted while directing his first major blockbuster. But fear not, the film quickly picks up steam. Thompson has one of the best introductions of a character (other than Deadpool in his self-titled film). Hela is a truly all-powerful villain. Blanchett plays Hela like a true goddess. The walk is killer and will strike fear in the hearts of many. Most exciting, Idris Elba’s Heimdall, is finally given something to do.

Thor:Ragnarok will leave you cheering for more. As always, remember to stay for the after credit scenes at the end. There are two. I look forward to talking to you all about it on the internet when Thor:Ragnarok hits theaters on November 2, 2017.

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  • I’m going to see it when it comes out. Thanks. I knew Tessa was going to kill it in Thor 3. Great Job!

  • So I watched Thor Ragnarok last night and I found its parts greater than the whole.
    The Good:
    Tessa Thompson: From her first appearance as her character is introduced and continuing on her journey throughout the film, she is one of the best and most complete characters in recent MCU history. She shares chemistry with Hulk, Thor, and Loki and gleefully steals all the scenes in which she appears.
    Jeff Goldblum: As the Grandmaster is everything that you have come to expect from Jeff Goldblum. His seemingly all powerful Grandmaster is gleefully detached from reality and keeps the tone light and fun.
    The fight choreography: These are bar none some of the best fight sequences in the MCU. The powers are upped to ludicrous speed and Waititi always gives you a sense of scope and space.
    The humor: The lighter tone works for the most part. Leveraging Hemsworth’s full talents makes too much sense.
    Hela: Cate Blanchett is relishing every moment she is on the screen. Her performance shines as we have come to expect. She instantly placed herself in the upper echelon of Marvel Villains.

    The Bad:
    The narrative. The movie felt like a collection of sequences as opposed a unified story.
    Scourge: This character’s motivations and actions were so muddled. I had high expectations for Urban, but this was by far his least enjoyable performance.
    Hulk’s strength: There is a dampening of Hulk’s strength that defies logic. Getting him angry or frustrated enrages and empowers him, but so far Avengers is the only movie to have gotten this right.
    The humor: One of the strengths is also a weakness. There are times the humor could and should have been reigned in to give the film more emotional heft.
    Heimdail: I love Idris Elba, but he is relegated to some glances and brief strikes. Although his character is working as a Moses allegory, a small scene or two focusing on his character’s journey would have both benefitted the movie and the character.
    Dr. Strange: Although the sequences and their chemistry work very well the Dr. Strange sequence pulled me too far away from the rest of the story. Similar to falcon fighting Ant-Man, the sequence felt like it was wedged in to remind us of the larger MCU.
    Korg: this will be an unpopular opinion, but Korg just didn’t work for me. A lot of his jokes fell flat for me. I love What We Do In The Shadows and I’m happy they took chances with this movie, but the risk you take is that not all chances land with all people.
    Loki: The Loki formula has gotten very stale over the lifespan of the MCU. Hiddleson is starting to seem like he is bored of the role.

    Thor 3 is the best of the franchise and worth a watch. Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchett must be used in more Marvel properties. This movie takes chances that don’t always land, but when they do its gold. I have a feeling that the best of Tessa Thompson is in front of her and I for one am looking forward to see what she does. Joelle does a great job of summing it up. There are definitely parts of this movie that you will adore and some performances that should be universally lauded. Its faults are small when compared to the film’s ambition.

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