|This movie is ON FIRE.
Keep in mind, obviously, that everything I’m about to say carries with it the “for a Marvel movie” disclaimer, but at half the strength you usually need for a Marvel movie. I love the Marvel movies, but when they talk about how different each one is, they’re really exaggerating. But they’re exaggerating a LOT less with this one.
This movie is FRIGGIN’ AWESOME. That’s not a value judgmentt. That’s a description of tone. From moment one to the closing credits, ais the most awesome it can be. It accomplishes this by not only having every character be super-cool, but to go beyond super-cool by being so super-cool they don’t have to be super cool to be super cool.
Let me explain. There are a lot of gags in this movie at the expense of the heroes, mostly involving them doing things heroes never get to do, like go to strike a heroic pose and fuck it up, or idly play with an artifact during a scene and drop pieces of it all over a table. The movie is choreographed like it’s not choreographed, but it doesn’t undercut the characters, it enhances them.
The juxtaposition of silly and epic rarely feels forced, because, well, Taika Waititi is fucking awesome, which is in this instance a value judgment. It works because everyone commits and every bit of the comedy internal to the situation and the MCU. There’s no fourth-wall breaking, no winking at the audience. When it’s dumb, it’s that wonderful kind of dumb that only really smart people can pull off.
The movie is a Thor sandwich with a Planet Hulk center. It’s a scaled-back Planet Hulk, obviously, sans the pathos and scope, but the setting and characters are pulled and reshaped and bent to the whims of an action-comedy. And there was a pretty good animated Planet Hulk movie anyway, so I’m fine with all of this.
Let’s talk about Jeff Goldblum for a second. They didn’t hire Jeff Goldblum to play The Grandmaster, they just turned The Grandmaster in the most Jeff Goldblummy being in the universe. None more Goldblum. Distilled Goldblum. Megagoldblum. Beatifal Blumage.
Aso, of course, Korg. Played by Waititi, the rock monster gladiator is a delight every time he’s on screen. Of course Ruffalo kills it as Talking Hulk and as Banner. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie is another standout. But everyone’s great.
Some of the effects shots are a little off, if I had to choose a biggest complaint. A few moves looked weightless, a few green screens looked really noticeable. On the other hand, any single fight scene beats up the sum total of all the action scenes from the first Thor and takes its lunch money. The action was my least favorite part of the first Tho, so I’m so glad he’s looked and fought better and cooler in every appearance since. And oh, does he fight cool in ths movie.
We’ll see how it holds up long term, but assuming it does, this may end up in my top three MCU movies of all time.