The Thor movies are, frankly, the weakest links of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first Thor is our introduction to the MCU’s first and only great villain, Loki, and the mercurial relationship of the step-brothers of gods of war and mischief. I think Thor and Loki had far more chemistry than Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth ever had. And Kenneth Branagh directed it, he gets style points at least.
But then Thor: The Dark World followed. The storyline, villain, and basically the whole film was forgettable at best. At best. But in between we had Avengers, and Thor had gained a little street cried from hanging with Cap and Tony Stark.
When Ragnarok started announcing that every actor you’d ever heard of was also going to be in this movie I had sincere doubts. Ultron had been overstuffed and had resulted in sort of a mixed bag of a film that had too much to do. Civil War, though nominally a Captain America movie, was similarly stretched thin by the number of characters it tried to incorporate. But then we met Thor’s roommate, Darryl.
At San Diego Comic-Con in 2016 marvel was announcing a LOT. Phase III was firing up, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy were wildly anticipated, and the cast of Black Panther was introduced to wild acclaim (seriously, who isn’t in the MCU at this point). Taika Waititi made us a little present to explain Thor’s absence, and it was delightful. Fun, sweet, didn’t overstay it’s welcome. Played nicely off the charming naïveté of the character without talking down to the audience. Things were definitely in the right hands.
So it was with much more anticipation that I awaited the Ragnarok trailer. And it was good!!! Great even! The colors, so reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy, big and bold. We all knew the Hulk was coming (we all did, right?), but the sheer joy on Thor’s face when he recognized Banner, “he’s a friend! From work!” Perfect.
I’m still a little concerned about the sheer number of players and locations in this film. It’s been fumbled by Marvel before, but I’ll be there opening weekend.