Friday, January 21, 2022

Thor: Ragnarok (a movie review post)

 

MCU #17

It appears that I somehow missed reviewing this one the first time it came out. How did that even happen? I have no idea. It's not the first one I missed doing but, by this point, I thought I was getting all of them (until Black Widow, but we'll get there when we get there).

Ragnarok is my favorite of the current Thor movies. There are a couple of things I find interesting about this:
1. The Thor movies have gotten better as they've gone on. Generally speaking, this is a thing with the MCU movies, Iron Man being the exception.
2. The Thor movies, with the possible exception of Ant-Man, are the most comedic of the MCU movies, which is surprising because they are also the most tragic. But maybe that's why they have all the comedy. You need that comedic relief to keep from falling apart during the movies.

With a new Thor movie on the near horizon, I guess we'll find out if these things hold true.

I'm going to kind of nutshell my review of this one, because I have something else of interest, at least to me, to talk about. Related but not specifically about the quality of the movie.

Ragnarok is great. A lot of fun. It has one of the best openings of all of the MCU movies, with Thor's soliloquy about being captured and stuff, then the whole spinning on the chain as Surtur tries to... what? threaten him? Intimidate him. It's a great and unexpected opening.

Anthony Hopkins has his best moment in any of the movies as he plays Loki playing Odin.

I'm not sure there could have been a better Hela than Cate Blanchett. There could have been different Helas, but I don't think better. She was magnificent.

Karl Urban was unsurprisingly great as Skurge. I wish he was going to be back for more, but I doubt Skurge is a character we'll see again.

All of the regular cast was as spectacular as you should have come to expect at this point. And, hey, Hulk makes a significant appearance, too.

Speaking of Hulk, when we watched Civil War, someone tossed out the idle question, "Why aren't Thor and Hulk in this?" To which I responded, sort of jokingly but not really, "Because then it would be an Avengers movie and not Captain America." Ragnarok is where we find out where Thor and Hulk were during Civil War. Also, you have to have Hulk and Thor be somewhere else for it to be a real fight for everyone else.

Something else of interest:
I was talking with my buddy Squid the other day about a big crossover event in Marvel back in the 90s that he is currently reading, and I was remembering when those issues were originally coming out and how it seemed like it was a big deal and how it was going to change the Marvel Universe and all of that. At the time, that story seemed important and significant. And, yet, the state of the Marvel Universe is much the same today as it was back in the 90s. Or the 80s. Or the 60s. Sure, there are more characters, but, other than morphing the universe to keep up with society, the state of the characters is much the same as it has always been.

And that's fine, you know. It's really what the readers want. They want to have big events with huge climaxes and, yet, for everything to remain the same at the end of it. So Captain America can't stay assassinated. Superman can't stay dead. Wolverine must get his adamantium back. The character has to stay the character.

But this isn't true for the MCU. At all. Nothing will, or even can, stay status quo. The characters are too tied to the actors, and there just isn't the mass of material to allow for the MCU to revert to the way things were. It seems to be a living universe, and I like that. Tony Stark is dead. As is Steve Rogers. I don't expect to see them come back.

Thor seems to be the series that has shown the most change. Frigga died. Odin died. Thor lost his eye. And his hammer. The Warriors Three are dead. Asgard is destroyed. It's a lot. And I expect things to stay that way. Changes will be ongoing with new characters in as old characters fade out. It's dynamic. I like it.
That's all. Just my interesting thought about a fundamental difference between the Marvel Universe and the MCU.

Now I suppose we should do some ratings (because I know people can't wait to know how I slam Edward Norton this week):

1. Captain America: Civil War
2. The Avengers
3. Captain America: The First Avenger
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
6. Iron Man
7. Doctor Strange
8. Ant-Man
9. Thor: Ragnarok
10. Thor: The Dark World
11. Thor
12. Guardians of the Galaxy
13. Avengers: Age of Ultron
14. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
15. Iron Man 3
16. Iron Man 2
17. Incredible Hulk (Norton's ego could be the Grandmaster's champion. No one can defeat it. Well, except Disney, I guess.)