The newest Marvel Comics movie THOR: RAGNAROK was surprisingly both funny and action-packed spectacle, instead of just being the usual latter. I enjoyed how the camp was played up, including via a lot of throw-away lines. I appreciated how Mark Ruffalo (as the Hulk/Bruce Banner) frequently conveyed with different words and facial expressions: “What the hell am I doing here?” Ruffalo probably wondered more than once what the hell he was doing in such a goofy, overdone movie, other than getting a nice paycheck. But, with Banner metamorphosed back from out of his Hulk self acting as a stunned bystander pulled into the action around him, we the human audience could better relate and go along for the ride too. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) delivered his lines and punches often with a twinkle in his eye and just the hint of a smile, which then sometimes broke out openly and sexily.
It was great to see svelte Tom Hiddleston (Loki) back in the game, being the perfect foil for Hemsworth. There seemed to be more Loki-Thor screen time than in other THOR and AVENGERS movies, playing up their old rivalry as brothers who, once again, needed each other to fight a mutual enemy. But, Cate Blanchett as the long-lost older sister and villainess Hela, Goddess of Death come to claim the throne of Asgard, stole the show. She embodied sexy, delicious evil and chewed the scenery like there was no tomorrow. Her body suit harkened back to those outfits worn by Diana Rigg as Emma Peel on the 1960’s television show THE AVENGERS (no relation to the Marvel Comics series), which was probably intentional.
All other cast members, including Idris Elba in his recurring role of Heimdall, the all-seeing guardian of Asgard, played their roles excellently. Jeff Goldblum as a ruler of a forsaken, trash-filled realm deserves mention for his outright comical portrayal, tongue firmly in cheek at all times. I can only imagine how many outtakes he surely had to do because of laughing so hard. And if/when he didn’t, the other actors around him undoubtedly cracked up a lot.
I found myself reflecting on how the deeper implications of this film are about family, namely rivalries, tensions, and conflicting motives between close relations, blood kin and adopted. I have had my fair share of all three in my own family system as has my husband in his. And while these dynamics haven’t played out so colorfully and dramatically like in this latest THOR installment, they were and are there, the emotions often just as powerful as those expressed in this film. The struggle for power and control over others and our own darkest urges is part of being alive, these all being the fuel behind myths and theatrical productions for millenia.
THOR: RAGNAROK also had me thinking of Trump and how we so badly need several leaders with the courage and heroism of Thor to come forth and stop the Trump regime and much of Congress in their tracks. Alas, this was largely wishful thinking– with perhaps a sprinkle of hope and inspiration– rising up while watching a movie of grand yet funny drama. If nothing else, I was effectively entertained for a few hours and some change before having to re-enter the real world where, like Thor, I continue to fight the good fight, albeit in my own small ways where and as I can.