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Why Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel and DC deserve credit for a great 2017

This has been a truly fantastic year for films. And I think it’s time people acknowledge that comic book movies have played their part in that.

In amongst a solid (and serious!) top ten, we’ve still been showered with Marvel/DC – which is either a curse or a blessing, depending on how you feel.

Look at 2017, alone:

  • Logan
  • Wonder Woman
  • Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Justice League?!

It’s not been too shabby, has it? Putting petty Marvel/DC squabbles aside, you can truly have it all if you like.

Some have been overrated. Some under. Some just about right. But what a golden age of comic book movies. Just as we’re being told fatigue should be setting in. At least three of the above try something completely new. In tone. In style. In substance.

Marvel, in particular, have surely smashed Phase 3 out of the park.

Crucially, not a single one needs to make it near your top ten of 2017. And that’s absolutely fine. Thor: Ragnarok would run mother! Close in a “most fun in the cinema” list, mind.

My 2017 Top 25 so far:

  1. Hacksaw Ridge
  2. Blade Runner 2049
  3. Silence
  4. Patriots Day
  5. War for the Planet of the Apes
  6. Lost City of Z
  7. Dunkirk
  8. Detroit
  9. It Comes At Night
  10. mother!
  11. A Ghost Story
  12. Personal Shopper
  13. Baby Driver
  14. A Monster Calls
  15. The Big Sick
  16. Manchester By The Sea
  17. Raw
  18.  Elle
  19. Atomic Blonde
  20. Get Out
  21. La La Land
  22. Split
  23. Logan
  24. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  25. Live By Night

(NB: I have no idea where to put ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99’ yet, but it’s not just in there – it’s up there)

My view on comic book movies is, much like comics themselves, it’s a bit hypocritical to not pick them up, skip them, watch them out of sequence… you get the idea. Like most art, really. Take it or leave it.

But comic books – mainly because of the volume I guess, have seemingly become the scourge of cinema. They don’t need to join up with the last episode. They don’t need cliffhanger endings.

My personal frustration with comic book movies of late has been where they’ve followed the same formula.

* Big CGI boss at the end – even if it means taking Kurt Russell out, just as things get interesting? ☑️
* Forced repetitive jokes, on a repetitive cycle of repetitiveness? ☑️
* Forced cameos ☑️
* Get Great music then cut off just before the chain kicks in ☑️

Thor: Ragnarok takes all three and re-writes the rulebook. In glorious, snigger at the back of the classroom style.

Pushing nigh on twenty films now, it’s hard to argue one thing. The majority of casting in Marvel films has been insanely good. People say they can’t picture anyone else being Tony Stark. But what about Steve Rogers? Or Thor himself?

It’s starting to become an impossible job. Just in time for Doctor Strange to re-set the Timeline, and hand the baton over. Right before ‘Flashpoint’ does the same and everyone gets in a Marvel/DC foamy mouthy conversation, again.

It’s always been Batman for me. But my god did I enjoy my two hours with Thor. Fair play for them for being braver than ever and showing Hulk-sized balls.

The tone of Thor: Ragnarok is delightful. Right up my street. It’s lost the smugness and inevitable confidence of the Guardians, and as a result, I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Brave decision making? In a comic book movie?! Check. ☑️

It also has my favourite line of the year: “PISS OFF, GHOST!” – delivered in a way I could only dream of.

It’s trippy in a way that’s even more out there than Doctor Strange, but the quality of the main leads keeps it grounded. It’s genuinely audacious in its decision making.

Does it have a massive cluster fuck of CGI at the end? Hmmmm. Kind of. But crucially it’s bold enough to take the piss out of itself, with a great Hulk Smash gag.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s no Civil War – surely the pinnacle? It’s probably not even a Winter Soldier. But the Thor trilogy is now comfortably the most underrated Marvel trilogy out there.

And who thought, all those years after watching ‘Thor’ three times on opening day (2D/3D/IMAX), we’d be sat with that legacy.

Fair play to Marvel. They’ve got me back on board for Avengers: Infinity War in a big way and Batman and co have got their work cut out to have this much fun.

I’m off to watch it again in 3D. And I might triple bill it with What We Do In Shadows and The Fly. It says something about the spirit of this film that that isn’t as random as it sounds.

In a time when you’d be right to question everything that goes on in the hotel rooms before/after/during making these films, isn’t it nice to switch off for two hours?

What a time to live for films, eh?

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