Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Cover

Thor: Ragnarok is the product of a continual refinement of a formula that is working very well for Marvel. While not every film in the giant Marvel media machine advances the formula, Thor has managed to gain ground over both its predecessors and the Marvel catalog as a whole. Director Taika Waititi has pulled an exceptional film from a talented pool of writers, artists, and actors that excels on a technical level to tell a story that is rich with complex themes and ideas.

While Thor works on every level, I want to take the time to focus on the story first. I particularly enjoy films that have something interesting to say, and Ragnarok reduces some complex ideas about the meaning of success and personal identity. Thor tackles this idea that you can win by changing the definition of the rules of engagement, and it is pretty heady stuff.

To date, the vast majority of Marvel films have ended with the heroes punching everything better at the end. Getting a deeper exploration of these ideas is highly refreshing. We’ve had hints at more thoughtful plots over the last year with both Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Doctor Strange ending on more complicated notes. Thor’s writing is filled with great comedy and action, but be aware, there is real meat here for thoughtful viewers.

On a technical level, I have to give major credit to the creators for composing and executing some of the cleanest action scenes of the year. Despite the large size of most of the fight scenes, they are well-paced and never overpower the narrative. Additionally, their cinematography and directing help the viewer keep firm understanding of everything that is happening, so as an audience we are fully aware of the step-by-step plot points taking place. Keeping your action trimmed and comprehensible like that is a major accomplishment.

After the story, the music is very impressive. Most of the film is filled with original tracks that are inspired by the 80’s, avoiding a Guardians of the Galaxy style track of licensed music. It hits in a way that is both beautiful and thrilling. There are a few licensed tracks, such as the extremely fitting “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin. There’s some overlap here, as this energy-charged powerhouse of rock moves along the largest of Thor’s set-piece action scenes. That was, weirdly, a weak point. “Immigrant Song” was used for two of the scenes, and I feel like this robbed it of some of its power.

As a whole, Thor: Ragnarok is the epitome of the current pantheon of films building thoughtfully on everything that came before it. It is a work that feels both new and fresh while reminding you of the best parts of the comics from the past. This is a must watch for any fan of action adventure movies, and an overall excellent work of art.

Final Verdict:This is a must watch for any fan of action adventure movies, and an overall excellent work of art.