Watched: Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

So. This was intended to be funny. And of course, it was. Mainly in the slapstick forgettable way – kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2, which was a romp while it lasted but gone the instant it ended.

Thor: Ragnarok will stay a bit longer, mainly because it so clearly is part of a longer game, acting as a bridge towards The Biggest Explosion Ever (aka Infinity War). And those parts are not funny, at all.

I did smile quite a lot, I will admit to that. But Ragnarok is about Thor coming of  age, centred on Thor’s identity crisis. And identity crisis are serious stuff, yes? Especially when triggered by an evil bad-ass and extremely powerful older sibling.

But, ah – this is a super hero story, introspection and self-doubt is for Bergman films, so how credible can they make it?

Not at all, it seems, because the darker streaks gets embedded in cheap laughs.

But. One of the things with super hero flicks based on super hero comic books is that credibility is not required. We go into the theatre checking our disbelief at the door, and as long as the film is entertaining, the hero wins the day, and (most) of his or her friends survive the day, we’re good.

And Thor: Ragnarok entertains, people mainly survives, and so all’s well.

(I still think that MCU would benefit from being a bit more Shakespearean, it has the potential. It would add some flavour for the adults watching, making it more than a explosion galore show-off intended to excite testosterone kids.)

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Read: Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee

Still in a reading slump, mainly listening to audio books that I’ve already read before, filling commutes with lecture series, Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit might be the book that will restart my reading habit.

Found by accident as I visited the SF Bookshop to get the third Linda and Valerian omnibus something about it caught my eye, and so it followed me home.

It met every expectation – a universe vastly different from ours, engineered castes upholding an empire were humans have no value and no choice in who governs their lives… and yet not so different: challenging the expectation of humane society, of right and wrong, of who, indeed, is the bigger threat to human survival.

The Kel is the warrior caste, engineered to follow order without questioning them, even into suicide, but Kel Cheris is something more – a Kel gifted with numbers and mathematical patterns, able to define and execute “heretical” moves in order to defeat the “heretics”.

At first we don’t really know who these heretics are, but as Cheris is picked to lead a mission to put down a heresy from getting a foothold in a major fortress she gets to host the mind of a very successful but ultimately traitor general, deemed insane, long since dead but his mind kept alive and in stasis by clever tech. And as she fights him in her mind, meanwhile running a successful campaign, ultimately she gets to understand the true meaning of his treason.

Unlike many authors who emerged in this time of personal computers and word processors Yoon Ha Lee’s style is liberating.

Free from endless info dumps, barely disguised rants, or scenes that has no bearing on either story or character development, and packed with tight writing harnessing a vivid imagination I’ve already tried to get my hands on the sequel, Raven Stratagem, only the SF Bookshop was out of stock, temporarily, when I was in last week to get my hands on the book.

Until I can get a copy of it I’ll need to read something else, to tide me over.

Hopefully I found my medicine!