hello there. could you make a proper post about ragnarok? your tags are teasing me & i wanna know what you liked about it. personally i was vibrating with excitement throughout, it was so good. after all the dark, boring marvel stuff, finally some quality fun. everything a blockbuster should be, done right. (with enough brothering to warm my samndean heart)
hi there, anon, I’d be delighted. Though coherent film reviews aren’t really my business, this movie was just–supremely delicious enough to make it happen.
THOR: RAGNAROK spoilers below.
Vibrating with excitement is a great way to describe the experience of seeing this movie, and for that I think we need to start with a little background. Anyone who reads my tags on a regular basis knows that, truly, #taika waititi is my hero. Why, though? Well, to start with, he is a genius, and what he’s a genius at is a particular kind of comedy. A lot of people say that there’s a particularly New Zealand sense of humor to his films–not being a Kiwi I don’t know that I could say, either way. However, if you’re a fan of Flight of the Conchords or Rhys Darby, you can hear the echoes of that comedy style throughout his work. It’s whimsical, clever, self-deprecating, ranges from surrealist to subtle. What it is not, ever, is mean-spirited. Sometimes there’s a light jab to the ribs, but it is always, always given with a quirk of a smile. Such a refreshing thing, especially given how… cruel comedy can be, in the wrong hands.
What’s more important than his skill with comedy, though, is the way he’ll layer in real, true feeling–and never makes it schmaltzy. If you’re forced to watch a “feel-good family film” from a lesser director, there will be ‘funny’ moments (often based in personal humiliation and mockery), there will be brief drama (usually melodrama), and there will be moments of poignancy where everyone realizes that they really do love each other, after all. Puke. Contrast here Waititi’s masterpiece–yes, screw you, it’s a masterpiece–Hunt for the Wilderpeople. This movie is genuinely, laugh-out-loud funny–and it also made me cry, genuinely, at the same time that it made my whole chest full and warm with sympathetic joy. The man knows how to layer in emotion with his humor in a way that doesn’t make the audience feel cheaply manipulated. When Ricky Baker earns his happy ending at the end of Wilderpeople, your face hurts from smiling and your eyes are wet, and–if you’re me–you feel grateful, to be treated like an adult by a director. Such a joy not to feel dragged along like a simpleton, not to feel like the script was written with crayon. (No spoilers for Wilderpeople, but if you’re reading this and you haven’t seen it, you fucking should. I think it’s streaming on Amazon right now.)
So. Then we came to Thor. I didn’t have high hopes for the character’s franchise after Thor: The Dark World (though I did like that movie more than most people, it seems). However, as soon as Waititi was attached, my immediate reaction was shock and then a thrill, and holy shit, did he deliver.