#ThorRagnarok threatens the entirety of Asgard. It pits the titular Asgardian (Chris Hemsworth) against his chaotic ally, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), in a gladiatorial rematch that fans have been clamoring for since The Avengers. Thanks to Taika Waititi, it also seems to have been made through a lens from the 1980s, with a saturated retro aesthetic.
More specifically, Waititi has claimed to have drawn inspiration from '80s cult hit Big Trouble In Little China in the making of Thor: Ragnarok. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said:
“I was like you gotta exploit Chris' comic abilities. He's so good and underutilized in that department. He's legitimately one of the funniest things in this film ... 'Big Trouble in Little China' was one of those films where Jack Burton is a buffoon but he’s lovable and you’re with him the entire way. I thought Thor has got to be the one you want to be with in every scene.”
With that in mind, lets take a look at 8 retro movies you should watch in preparation for Marvel's upcoming retro space flick, Thor: Ragnarok.
6. Big Trouble In Little China
- Director: John Carpenter
- Release: 1986
In a classic 'rescue the girl' tale, everyman Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) becomes embroiled in an weird and wacky conflict in San Francisco's Chinatown. Jack delves into Chinatown's underworld to rescue his best friend's fiancé from a crime lord (and an ancient Chinese prince) before she is consumed by dark magic.
Waititi himself has pegged Big Trouble as the chief inspiration for his movie, adapting the premise of a comedic fantasy with his own brand of off-beat comedy. Thor's humor always shines in #Marvel's ensemble movies, but tends to get lost during his standalone installments. Waititi is looking to rectify this by threading humor through the plot of Ragnarok like noodles in soup. So, why not indulge in Waititi's inspiration and watch Big Trouble in Little China before the film's release?
5. Masters of the Universe
- Director: Gary Goddard
- Release: 1987
Skeletor has achieved near-invincibility, and only He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) can stop him. But when the weapon he had created for the task is transported to earth, their universal conflict descends into the world of humans.
Despite hemorrhaging money at the box office, this cult classic has inspired countless space operas and science fiction adventures since its release. With a long-haired, shredded leading man from another world thrown out of his comfort zone during a quest to save his world, this should scratch your Ragnarok itch for a while. He has the power!
- Director: Steven Lisberger
- Release: 1982
After he stumbles onto a corporate plot that threatens his work, visionary computer engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is cast into a digital world known as the Grid. Flynn must become a fighter for oppressed programs of the Grid if he ever wants to escape the virtual world.
Groundbreaking at its time, Tron remains a visual treat to this day, featuring the sort of retro computer animation that is still a feast for the eyes. It's good, escapist fun, with enough arena matches to keep you going until the main event: Hulk vs. Thor.
3. Flash Gordon
- Director: Mike Hodges
- Release: 1980
After an unexpected eclipse warns Dr. Zarkov about unusual cosmic goings-on, he transports himself, along with football prodigy Flash Gordon (Sam Jones), to the planet Mongo. Upon arrival, he must duke it out with the tyrannical Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow), with only his groupies and his Hawkmen behind him.
One of the campest sci-fi fantasy movies ever made, Flash Gordon engages with its daft premise with deliberate tongue-in-cheek humor. Flash Gordon has the athletic lead thrown into an unfamiliar setting, battling a despotic enemy to save a planet. This should be compulsory reading for Thor fans, considering that Hela (Cate Blanchett) is threatening all of Asgard after banishing the God of Thunder to the arena.
2. Escape From New York
- Director: John Carpenter
- Release: 1981
In a dystopian alternate timeline set in 1997, the island of Manhattan has been re-purposed as a maximum security prison to deal with the overflow of dissenting individuals in the wake of the US-Soviet war. When Air Force One crash lands onto the island, former Special Forces soldier Snake Plissken (Kurt Russel) is shanghaied to save the president.
This title is a little less optimistic than many on the list, but still a must-see for retro science fiction fans. Escape From New York is an oddball thriller about violence and redemption. With Plissken beaten down by his past as he comes to understand the grimy world around him, we can't help but be reminded of the Hulk in his gladiatorial kit.
Will this be the movie where Bruce Banner is enticed back into the light by his Asgardian "friend from work"?
1. The Running Man
- Director: Paul Michael Glaser
- Release: 1987
"The Running Man" is a fatal reality TV show in which contestants must run through a gauntlet to avoid their untimely deaths. It offers Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) another chance at freedom after he's framed by the government for a massacre during a food riot. However, the game show host doesn't intend to let him survive.
The Running Man has a swift momentum and a vintage science fiction aesthetic. Although it might not be an immediate classic like many others on the list, it should be an enjoyable watch for anybody anticipating Thor's next adventure. With Schwarzenegger as a wrongly convicted man working against the clock in a death-riddled arena to ensure his freedom, we're sure you'll find something in this wacky dystopian thriller to satisfy those Ragnarok cravings.
How well do you think Thor: Ragnarok will stand up to other MCU movies? Sound off below!