This week I attended a special screening of Marvel Studios’ Thor Ragnarok movie at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. The movie had its red carpet premiere earlier this month and is slated to officially open in the States on Nov 3rd, 2017.
Having watched the first two movies, I was excited about this latest installment of the Thor franchaise partly because of the director. As a fan of Taika Waititi, I was curious to discover his particular vision of Thor.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
This latest installment is filled with stunning visual effects, zany characters, and campy dialogue. Compared to other action flicks this one is very entertaining and quite family friendly. Are you on the fence about going to see it?
Here are the top ten reasons you will like Thor Ragnarok even if you are not a Marvel fan.
The use of music in this movie is nothing short of brilliant.
The scenes of combat set to “Immigrant Song” by Led Zepplin will stay etched in your mind for a long time. As a big fan of the seventies rock music, I think the band would have created similar video clips had MTV been around then.
And the use of and “Pure Imagination” from the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is hilarious and beautifully woven in the general campiness of the movie vibe.
The Visual Effects
As with all the Marvel films, the visual effects are superb.
As technology evolves, spectators get to enjoy more and more realistic visuals that look amazing. My favorite was Cate Blanchett’s Hela CGI outfit and how she could switch back and forth between her ‘normal’ and ‘evil’ sides fast.
But there are other scenes worth mentioning.
Two that come to mind are the spaceship landing on the bridge as well as Surtur’s Fire dragon that look so real that one forgets it takes hundreds of skilled artists and thousands of hours of to achieve the final product. To fully understand the magnitude of the project viewers should stay and watch the visual effects credits at the end of the movie. That’s a heck one of a long list!
In this film, Thor sees plenty of action! He gets to duel the hulk without his hammer Mjolnir and save Asgard from his sister Hela.
The storyline isn’t complicated to follow despite its continuous twists and turns making it suitable even for moviegoers who aren’t acquainted with the Marvel characters. For parents wondering whether they should take younger kids, I’d say that most kids eight and up will be able to follow the story action and that the movie isn’t particularly gory or violent.
Family Friendly Dialogue. Mostly
The campy dialogue starts from the very first minutes of the movie’s beginning.
Thor is a slightly conceited but likable character that uses humor to navigate the dysfunctional world he lives in. The self-deprecating punch lines continue throughout the plot and peak with the grandmaster Jeff Goldblum, who provides the comic relief as the self-indulging villain of Sakaar.
There’s always been humor in the Marvel films, but Thor seems to be on somewhat of an overload. However, unlike Deadpool, the jokes are more silly and are PG-ish in nature. Yes, there are a few curse words but nothing most kids haven’t heard by third grade. Furthermore, sexual innuendos and references to private body parts are surprisingly sparse.
Plenty of Girl Power
This movie features two strong-willed independent women. Hela is the best female Marvel villain so far. Hela has powers that supersede the male heroes. Moreover, she makes no pretense about how ruthless and evil she is.
But it is newcomer Valkyrie played by Tessa Thompson that is the real scene stealer here. Portraying an opinionated bad ass, hard drinker fighter, her character captures the viewers’ hearts from her first scenes. I’m hopeful we’re going to see much more of her in the next marvel flicks.
The Hulk talks. Finally
Marvel fans can finally rejoice. The big man finally talks and sounds a lot like Arnold Swartzennaggar in the Terminator. Don’t expect long Hamlet sized soliloquies. Seems like he can barely string a few coherent words together. The good news is we can get some insight into to what makes him tick or better what ticks him off.
The Director Plays a Zany Character
As I mentioned before as a big fan of Taika Waititi, I second his choice to cast himself in the movie. He plays the part Korg, a Kronan sporting a charming Kiwi accent. Korg is a misguided rebel that wants to help but goes about it the wrong way. On some levels, he somewhat reminded me of Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot.
Of Course, Stan Lee has a Cameo
I don’t want to give up any spoiler, but Stan Lee’s cameo is the best one yet. Stan, a legend in his own right and the creator of the marvel-ous world, looks like he had fun playing the part.
The Supporting Characters Steal The Show
Like many other films, it is the supporting roles that make it better.
Jeff Goldblum is hilarious as a hedonistic grandmaster that rules Sakaar. Though supposedly ruthless his character is closer to a caricature than all the others. Hence even when he executes people, he does it in a comical way by melting them with blue goo.
Karl Urban as Skurge as the opportunistic Asgardian warrior manages to capture fans hearts despite all his bad choices. He does get a big-time redemption moment at the end which I won’t reveal.
There’s an Autism Angle
To end on a personal note, I was thrilled to spot Exceptional Minds in the movie’s credits.
For those of you who don’t know, Exceptional Minds is a California based computer animation studio and non-profit digital art school for young adults with autism. Prior to Thor Ragnarok, the school worked with Marvel on several past projects likeAvengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.
As a parent to a son with autism, I love to hear about companies developing employment opportunities for individuals with autism. With that said, I want to commend Marvel Studios and Exceptional Minds for their positive impact on the autism community and mention how much I am looking forward to hearing about their future endeavors.
Disclaimer: I was invited to a complimentary screening of Thor Ragnarok by Marvel and Disney Studios. However, all opinions are my own.