Cate Blanchett in Thor Ragnarok is everything.
I did not want to go see Thor Ragnarok yesterday. I wanted to see Justice League. Batman was my favorite superhero before Ben Affleck started playing him, and I also loved Superman once upon a time, and I do love Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa. I’m really pulling for that franchise. But it was my boyfriend’s turn to choose, and he did not want to pay money for a movie getting bad reviews. So off we went to see Thor.
Cate Blanchett is already one of my favorite actresses. She is easily one of the best alive. And she just proved it again.
Cate Blanchett brings it as the oldest of Odin’s children who’s returning to reclaim the throne. She helped Odin win power, but once he wanted to become a peaceful king, he had to do something with Hela’s evil. So he locked Hela away.
I enjoyed this from top to bottom and would give it a solid 8 or 9. No 10, because that’s reserved for movies like Logan and War for the Planet of the Apes that have deeper, more emotionally gripping storylines AND character depth that take it to that highest cathartic level.
Humor is doing it for the Marvel franchise. It’s recasting the modern superhero as refreshing, hip and inspiring, without being a sappy drag. (Note to DC Comics.)
I am no superhero comic book fanatic, and I cannot list every character for the last fifty years that spans DC’s and Marvel’s universes. I can only speak to the films made. Cate Blanchett’s addition as the wretched, indomitable older sister that takes Thor’s eye out puts her in the category of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, but just short of Heath Ledger’s Joker in Dark Knight (that performance will be hard for anybody to top). She’s a better villain than Bane in Dark Knight Rises, or Whiplash in Ironman 2, both of which were kind of flat and uninteresting strong men. Her personality, presence, and every movement – from her walk, to the turn of her head, to her penetrating glare – lets you know she’s the real deal.
She’s got more flare and on screen presence than Charlize Theron as Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman. Charlize can certainly hold her own as a formidable actress, but she doesn’t top Cate. Cate also dethrones the incredible female villains in Kill Bill, who are nothing short of amazing. Lucy Liu’s Oren Ishii and Chiaki Kuriyama’s Gogo Yubari certainly hold honorable mentions for complicated strong women who made me squirm with fear.
But Cate Blanchett is special, stunning and she gives her character its full weight. Her performances put her in that old school category of Meryl Streep, Katherine Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland and other amazing actresses who captivate audiences without saying a word. That is rare to see.
And I even have to say Cate Blanchett gives Michelle Pfeifer’s Catwoman in Batman Returns a run for its money. That’s right. 1992. That movie came out twenty-five years ago. Yet, that version of Catwoman (not Anne Hathaway’s and certainly not Halle Berry’s), in my mind, is still the best female villain to date. Psychotic. Flawed. Strong. Emotionally arresting. The stuff good villains are made of.
In fact, Pfeiffer’s Catwoman is so fierce, I’ll give her two photos, because that performance is still a cut above most others (sadly). Also, why not?
Don’t agree? Who’s your favorite then?