- “Thor: Ragnarok” was one of the best and most exciting movies of 2017, but it was completely overlooked by the Oscars.
- It reinvented what an action comedy and blockbuster movie can be.
- It’s truly unique story and filmmaking from director Taika Waititi deserved a nomination in the directing category, adapted screenplay, visual effects, and production design.
“Thor: Ragnarok” is no “Call Me by Your Name.” But it’s a fair comparison.
Like a majority of the films recognized at the 2018 Oscars, “Ragnarok” is original in its exciting tone and style, proving that blockbuster movies, even those in the Marvel Cinematic universe, can be fairly compared to more artistic indie films.
Of all the movies that came out in 2017, it’s probably the most striking, even compared to Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” (which was recently accused of plagiarism).
“Thor: Ragnarok” is a masterpiece of action and comedy filmmaking, and essentially created its own genre. Like “Wonder Woman” and best adapted screenplay nominee “Logan,” it offers a fresh take on an overdone, often dull genre that will without a doubt pave the way for movies and filmmakers of the future.
With its unique style from director Taika Waititi, who has a very bright future and should have been nominated in the directing category, “Ragnarok” is a hopeful example of what modern filmmaking can be. It definitely deserved to get recognized at the Oscars for its excellent (and hilarious) screenplay, directing, and visuals.
Here’s why “Thor: Ragnarok” should’ve been recognized at the 2018 Oscars:
“Ragnarok” is the first movie of its scale from director Taika Waititi, but it won’t be the last. And although he was robbed of a nomination this year, Waititi will likely be in the running in the future.
Waititi has been working for a while (and has been nominated for an Oscar before, for a short film), but it takes some time for even the most exceptional directors to develop a clear voice and style. Waititi established who he is and what’s to come in one movie – in an established franchise that often swallows a director’s vision. That is not an easy feat.
Waititi knows exactly what he’s doing, and he knows that no one else can execute it.
“Ragnarok” rarely spends time on Earth: Loki and Thor are briefly in New York City, then Norway. The majority of the movie takes place in Asgard and Sakaar, the latter a completely new place. Without too much face exposition, with the aid of Waititi’s writing and direction, he defines the world of Sakaar so well that you understand it within minutes of Thor landing in a landfill there. World building is not easy, and even takes television shows multiple episodes or seasons to do.
It reinvented a genre – and in doing so created a completely new one
There have been action comedies, and superhero comedies. But none have been as inventive as “Ragnarok.”
“Wonder Woman” and “Logan,” also superhero movies deserving of Academy Award nominations – “Logan” was nominated for best adapted screenplay and I’ve written about “Wonder Woman’s” best picture snub before – shook the superhero genre as well, but “Ragnarok” did so in a different way.
“Wonder Woman” proved that a female-led story works, and doesn’t even need to focus on a woman’s figure to do so. “Logan” proved that a superhero movie can work as a serious, character-driven drama.
“Ragnarok” does the opposite of what “Logan” did. The movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe work because they’re fun – even the worst ones, with the exception of “Iron Man 2.” “Ragnarok” embraces its absurdity and goes further than any other director would take it. Not even “Ant-Man” went this far, and it is about a man who can control ants.
“Ragnarok” made what would be serious, less-than-thrilling action sequences in any other superhero movie some of the funniest moments in recent cinema memory. And by exploring existing characters like Thor, Loki, and the Hulk/Bruce Banner from this new perspective, it made them more interesting … especially Thor who, before this film, was a bit vanilla.
It embraces its absurdity, rather than trying to make it serious
- Marvel Studios/Disney
Thanks to Christopher Nolan’s exemplary “Dark Knight” trilogy, superhero movies started this trend of trying to be really, really deep and good. Most movies trying to do this failed.
“Ragnarok” has a lot of elements that could have made it bad, things that would have been awful had it gone in a more expected direction: a giant dog, a zombie army, a guy made of rocks, a ship made for sex parties, and a rainbow bridge. But instead, they work.
“Ragnarok” isn’t deep, and that’s a good thing. It gives you everything you want out of a Thor movie, but with an 80s-inspired twist, and a lot of laughs.
It’s inclusive, and represents the world we live in.
For years, people have been fighting for Hollywood and the Oscars in particular to embrace diversity.
While there has been some slow improvement, there’s still a lot of work to be done, especially in large-scale movies that typically feature a predominantly white cast.
And even though “Ragnarok” takes place in fictional planets and realms, it represents the world we live in, like all movies should, no matter how far from reality they are. “Ragnarok” proves the power and authenticity of diversity through Tessa Thompson’s character, Valkyrie, the first black female hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Valkyrie, though she’s only in one film, has more depth than many other women in the MCU: even Black Widow. And she has more depth than many women in cinema. She’s thoughtfully written, never objectified, and not placed into the story desperately. This representation is one of the reasons why so many people connected with the film, especially Thompson’s character, and her brilliant performance helped.
Cate Blanchett is in it — and the rest of the cast is perfect, too.
- Marvel Studios
This actually might be one of the movies Cate Blanchett is in that hasn’t been an Oscar contender.
“Ragnarok” would’ve worked without the two-time Oscar winner (and four-time nominee), but her presence as Thor and Loki’s evil sister Hela makes the film even better. No one in “Ragnarok” really deserved an acting nomination – not that their performances were bad, but they weren’t a match for Michael Stuhlbarg in”Call Me by Your Name,” who didn’t even get nominated.
But the casting from Blanchett, to Goldblum, to director Taika Waititi’s voice as the rock-man Korg, can’t be overlooked. Since there isn’t an Oscar for ensemble casts, a fair share of movies with big ones often get nominated for best picture or even win it, like 2005 best-picture winner “Crash,” which is much worse than “Ragnarok.”
Visually, it’s one of the most original action movies ever
- Marvel Studios/Disney
“Ragnarok” is no “Blade Runner 2049.” But it stands out visually, even down to its marketing and design of characters like Surtur, Korg, and Miek.
“Ragnarok” is one of the most memorable films to come out of 2017. And it’s certainly more stunning – both visually and just as a movie – than James Cameron’s “Avatar,” which managed to win three Oscars, and was nominated for six.
Hela’s costume, the planet of Sakar, the colorful reinvention of the usually gold and boring Asgard, and even Thor’s new short hair made the movie worthy of visual effects and costume Oscar nominations, if not wins.