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Movie Review – Thor Ragnorak (RunPee Jilly’s POV)

Thor 3, AKA Ragnarok, was incredibly engaging and hard to tear my eyes from. It’s now in my top tier of MCU movies, beaten only by the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Hemsworth’s slightly dim but mighty character is a joy, from his 4th wall breaking open, to the mid-credit end, and the man’s got surprisingly perfect comedic timing. Who knew? Turns out Hemsworth really can carry a movie on his muscular back, with more than raw beauty to show for it.

I wasn’t expecting too much going in, but admittedly the bar was so low with Thor 1 and 2 (especially 2, with the Dark Elves). The director used Thor wisely in his 3rd, and presumably final, solo film. Although it’s essentially a buddy movie about Hulk, too. Just like Captain America 3: Civil War is basically an Avengers movie, right? It works.

Along these lines, I have a few alternate titles for Thor: Ragnarok that I think would work even better (unless you are a huge Norse Mythology fan). List whichever you prefer in the comments section:

  • Thor: God of Hammers
  • Thor: Gladiator Edition
  • Thor: The Funny One
  • Revengers (like the Avengers, with added dysfunction)
  • Hulk 2
  • Thor and Hulk: Road Trip to the Devil’s Anus

What’s unusual about this film are the villains. They aren’t bland  meanies, like most superhero supervillans; they’re actually okay.  Damning with faint praise, I know. Cate Blanchett does a decent job with what she’s given (I sense there were more scenes left on the editing floor). The Ragnarok fire demon was fine – he wasn’t intended to be more than a burning lava monster, from cold open to the unusual climax. And Golblum isn’t even a “bad” guy — he’s just an amiable meglomaniac with a harem and God Complex. He reminded me of The Collector. I hope we see them both again

I do feel bad for Hela…there could have been a lot more depth to her arc. I guess she needed to get in line for scene time after Loki and Odin and Heimdall (who, thankfully, had something to do this time around). I’d be super happy with a Heimdall movie, for reals. The man was wasted, although the teaser suggests more to come. Saying anything more  would enter spoiler territory, so let’s just move along.

Finally, Loki was appropriately used, and is more understandable — this director “got” what the God Of Mischief is about. Loki is like the “Scorpion” in the parable with the fox (Google it) — it’s true to his nature to sting. Yet he does try (when it suits hims, natch) to be a hero. He wants to be better, and if you recall from the first Thor movie, both brothers had some moral growing to do. With Thanos mad at him, we can guess which side he’ll lean on now. Loki has always been a scene stealer, as well as a PITA to boot, but here I’m fully onboard with his character. He can be a positive force, if he’s just accepted and understood — that’s become super clear, finally, in Ragnarok.

I’m really stingy with my A grades, and the last time I gave out a full A+ was the 2017 space cruise ship flick Passengers. Strangely enough, my favorite MCU film is still the original Guardians of the Galaxy. The blue and purple villains were underwhelming though, and I can only give GoTG a A- grade in good conscience. (I’ll link to that article when I write it.)

But, we’re still talking about Thor here, and Thor 3 manages to pull a win from their previously low Marvel tier buttocks.

And yes, I rank Marvel movies by tier: Great, Good, Okay, and Fetid…and Thor’s been scraping the bottom in his stand-alones,  til now. I credit the director — who also played the delightful Rockman — for understanding what Thor should be used for, along with Hemsworth for embracing his slightly slow but funny godhood (“Because that is what heroes do!”), Ruffalo for being freaking awesome in his dual roles, and for the writers giving us something happy in these dark times…YES. Thank you for the color, the fun, and for Goldblum. He’s the perfect weirdo to be the Grandmaster, and I hear he smartly improvised most of his lines, playing himself, as usual. Go Goldblum, go.

And now I’ve got The Immigrant Song, by Led Zepplin, stuck in m head. It’s a good choice, so that’s okay by me. The reprise was certainly welcome, and the audience clapped at it. I was a happy movie goer that day, and saw it this three more times in the cinema later. Watch it in the theater, and watch it again on DVD.

Movie Grade: A+

Movie Review: Thor 3 – Ragnarok

Sometimes you leave the theater loving a movie, but after giving it a little thought it starts to diminish. Other movies don’t make an immediate impact, but after some thought, and rewatching, becomes a favorite. I think Thor: Ragnarok will be one of the few films that accomplishes both. I enjoyed the movie throughout, and walked out impressed, and I think this will be one of the most enjoyable MCU movies over time. Right up there with the first Guardians.

What sticks out most is the humor. It starts off funny, and just gets better and better. And I never felt that the humor was forced.

It looked like all the actors had a good time making this movie. I feel that special recognition should be given to the writers and director. The character of Thor has come a long way since the first Thor movie. While not perfect, there’s a really good growth arc that came out in the writing, directing, and of course, the acting by Chris Hemsworth.

What really stood out was how well the actors used expressions to add depth to the story. It shows a maturity of direction that is rarely seen in action movies these days.

Lastly, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but the story comes around full circle in a beautiful way. Of course the good guys are going to win in the end. But it’s so much more meaningful when it comes with a price. Kudos to the writers for creating a story that’s easy to follow yet isn’t entirely predictable.

Movie Grade – A

Mark Ruffalo Sneaks in a Hulk Movie

We’ve had two prior Hulk movies that no one was happy with, and then Avengers rolled around. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk was the one we’ve been waiting for, giving us a charming, understated underdog in his version of Bruce Banner. His friendship with Tony Stark was enchanting, fitting the two characters perfectly, while Banner’s surprising, tentative relationship with Black Widow was satisfyingly organic. Suffice to say Ruffalo could sell the big green goods.

All well and good. So, will we finally we get a proper Hulk movie? Apparently there are rights issues. Spiderman had rights issues, and it worked out just fine with Marvel’s Civil War and Homecoming. But at this point in the MCU (Phase Whatever), I’m not sure a Hulk standalone would fit. He’s showing up in a co-starring role tonight for Thor: Ragnarok (on a Thorsday, even), and his story will continue through Avengers 3 and 4 (the Infinity Wars).

According to this quick interview, Hulk gets his mini-movie snuck in over the course of the Marvel ensembles. I guess we’ll have to be content with that. If Ruffalo is fine with it, we can be too.

Mark Ruffalo on Hulk Movie  [<—- You Tube link]

But tonite, it’s hammer time! See you at Thor 3 …Rotten Tomatoes so far has it as the highest-rated Marvel film yet. I can’t wait.