It's Greek classic and Mel Brooks humorous, a notion not often found in super hero films.
Director: Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople)
Screenplay: Eric Paearson et al.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth (Rush), Tom Hiddleston (High-Rise)
Runtime: 2 hr 10 min
by John DeSando
“Asgard is not a place, it's a people.” Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
Thor: Ragnarok is about saving a homeland, Asgard, but eventually not the physical land. It’s all about the people, a gentle allusion to the plight today of immigrants who have become travelers while bringing home with them. People leaving in a space ship like an ark carry the Biblical heft and a swashbuckling sci-fi adventure.
So the redeeming element of these heroic films from Marvel, and DC for that matter, is the cultural mash up that reflects our civilization’s abiding interest in how we can become better than we are, i.e., becoming super heroes, and yet retain the sweet, flawed humanity we were meant to be. The pervasive humor in quips and self deprecation is a welcome humane ingredient and a sign that the super hero genre is maturing.
In Thor :Ragnorak, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is not just a hemmer-throwing, muscle bound cutie; he is a young man dealing with the death of his father, Odin; the mischief of his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston); and the devastating power of his sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of death. A bit more severe than yours and my families, but in a figurative way, just the same with its challenging relationships that sometime seem bloody.
Although these space citizens are years ahead of us, they still fight with broadswords and machine guns, confirming our cultural awareness that battles will never really be different because they reside in the mind. From Greeks through now, we have been fascinated by our highs and lows, our greatness and our flaws, be it in Oedipus Rex or Willy Lowman.
There will always be a place for hubris in our theater and films, and although the time and technology may differ, we still love and deplore our bloodlines as we work our way to dusty death. This Thor carries too many explosions for my taste, but the sociological thunderstorms are satisfyingly entertaining and sometimes downright allegorical.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com