It will surprise no one to hear that Thor: Ragnarok is, all in all, a really funny movie, one that, to be honest, skews more Guardians of the Galaxy than previous Thor offerings. That’s, after all, the Marvel brand. They do funny movies.
They also, more often than not, deliver heart
And in this case, they do so in a wholly different way than most of their other movies, by focusing, not on a romantic relationship, but on the concept of family.
Before I go into that, though, I want to point out that I wholeheartedly felt that, despite the fact that he was the titular main character, Tom Hiddlenston’s Loki had, in fact, stolen the movie from Chis Hemsworth in the first two installments in this Thor trilogy.
Not this time. This is Hemsworth’s movie to shine, and boy, does he.
He’s funny, yes, but the thing about him – the one the first two movies didn’t allow him to showcase – is that he’s funny not just when he’s a fish out of water, and that he’s funny not just as a result of good writing.
Instead, he’s funny in the same way a puppy is sometimes both funny and adorable, except this adorable, funny puppy is also ridiculously hot and makes you lose your train of thought when he takes his shirt off, but that’s neither here nor there.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that Hiddleston isn’t his usual brilliant self, he is – or that the supporting cast doesn’t shine, they do, most particularly Tessa Thompson as a Valkyrie that never feels like you can add the ‘just a..’ qualifier that most women in Marvel movies get. She’s not just anything, love interest, sidekick, even badass. She’s all she wants to be, and what she is has nothing to do with what Thor is, in a way that’s wholly refreshing.
Because the movie doesn’t revolve around her, she doesn’t need to be saved, and to be honest, Thor doesn’t need to be saved either. They all just need to come together, in their own way.
The movie does this particularly well when it showcases the friendship between Thor and Hulk/Bruce Banner, a friendship I was sure was going to come off as forced, because, isn’t that just the most random Avengers pairing in history?
If it doesn’t, it’s not just because the script sells it, but because these two actors have embodied the characters in a way that makes it all believable.
This might even make me say that I’d be into a Hulk movie, except I need a Black Widow movie and 75 other female-led superhero movies before you hear my clamoring for that.
Sorry Mark Ruffalo. I still like you.
At heart, though, Thor: Ragnarok is not about any of the things I’ve just spent about five hundred words talking about, no. Instead, it’s about family, about your legacy, and about finding out who you’re meant to be once you finally step out of the shadows of your parents.
This applies not just to Thor, but to Loki, and to their relationship. It’s always been clear – even when Loki has been terrorizing humans and asking them to kneel – that Loki acts from the heart, and that, deep down, he cares for his adoptive parents and brother more than he himself feels like he should.
Sure, you’ll say, he’s brought havoc into Thor’s life many times, and in this movie, he actively lets him be placed in danger, and I’ll agree with you on that, but do we think Loki wouldn’t have intervened if he thought Thor was in actual danger of dying?
Thor: Ragnarok hinges on that question, and though this might be the one thing Marvel has never answered in a way that would satisfy everyone, for me it’s very clear the answer is yes.
Just as it’s very clear that most things that have gone wrong in all 3 Thor movies, the first Avengers movie and, quite possible, parts of what will go wrong in the second Avengers movie, are all, almost entirely, Loki’s fault.
What’s my point here? My point is – love him or hate him, Loki is part of who Thor is, and I’m pretty sure the titular character isn’t even sure if he loves him or hates him half the time. Either way, this movie doesn’t work without Loki mostly because this is about Thor’s legacy, about his family, about who he is – and that includes Loki.
This movie, though, is also about showing that the Marvel blueprint can be adapted, that even superheroes we’ve known for four movies can grow, that a movie centered on male relationships doesn’t have to be anti-women, and oh yes, that Cate Blanchett is the Queen of anything and everything.
In conclusion: If you like Marvel movies in general, go watch Thor: Ragnarok. And if you don’t …go watch Thor: Ragnarok. You’ll be surprised – and, if not, you’ll at least be entertained. That hasn’t changed.
Thor: Ragnarok opens in the US this Friday.