ByPeter Flynn, writer at
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best.
Peter Flynn

For many, Ant-Man was a pleasant surprise, proving that Marvel could do what everyone had expected it couldn't; double back on itself. The bar had been set so high by [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), with the requirements to meet it seemingly being a case of going bigger and louder and more ambitious. Ant Man looked at all that and said "nope!" Perhaps other big Marvel properties should look at that and replicate that kind of audience-pleasing nonchalance.

Thor 3: Ragnarok

Let's address that one tricky element in Marvel's phase 3. [Thor: Ragnarok](tag:956858) represents a continuation of one character who is only partly tied to The Avengers as a story line. Sure, Thor is the gateway to much of the cosmic threat posed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he just doesn't have that same immediate connection the rest of the team like Captain America does. This is clear form Chris Hemsworth's absence in [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409). As it stands, Thor 3 has a number of big challenges ahead of it...

  • Keeping the Thor property alive and well.
  • Expanding the MCU just enough for [The Avengers: Infinity War](tag:738027).
  • Not alienating audiences with a huge Asgardian story.

In any case, Thor 3 is going to feel like a real standalone story when compared to the what's going on in the rest of the MCU, and how do you nail a standalone story? Well, look at Ant Man! Here are a few things Thor 3 could learn from the surprise hit, Ant Man.

Smaller Stakes

Can Ragnarok afford lower stakes?
Can Ragnarok afford lower stakes?

Perhaps the best thing Marvel has realized in recent years is that its movies don't have to blow people's minds every time. It's kind of funny that, if the bad guy won in Ant Man, it would still result in Hydra attaining weaponry that would make them unstoppable. Still, that isn't the same as an entire city being dropped from the sky, and Ant Man benefitted from a generally easy-going feel. Could Thor 3 do the same? Well, I'm not sure. Given that the Ragnarok story line is literally about the end of the world, and the destruction of Asgard, I'm not sure how much subtlety that movie could bring us.

A Funnier Tone

Marvel's bread and butter is showing itself as a studio that's able to have a good time. The moment I realized that was during the fight between Thor and Malekith in [Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462). When they slid down the side of London's Gherkin building, no one stood up and left the theatre angrily claiming that the film was too goofy. The sheer lack of pretentiousness is something that draws people to these movies. For example, Scott Lang can have a pet flying ant that he imaginatively calls "Anthony" and we're all totally cool with that. Again, will Thor 3 be able to rock a comedic style given its rather cataclysmic plot? I don't see why not. Loki is returning, so half the audience is already in the bag in that respect.

A focused plot

Stop the bad guy... that's it.
Stop the bad guy... that's it.

As much as I liked Age of Ultron, the movies still seemed to jump around a lot, ticking off the cool locations as it went. It was understandable. We wanted fun character moments and set pieces more than we wanted a simple start to finish narrative. In that sense, Ant Man is the exact opposite, opting to be a heist movie more than anything. The movie benefits form having one clear goal, so no other plot elements intrude upon the characters and their compelling drama. Thor 3 should do the same, letting the characters take precedent over the introduction of the fire god Surtur who will bring the coming of Ragnarok and destroy the- ah I already don't care.

Can Marvel save itself from going too big?

There was the worry for a couple of weeks after Avengers 2 that this was simply the model for Marvel films, and that the studio would get into an arms race with itself, resulting in Infinity War being an incomprehensible noise-fest trying to top every movie before it. Ant Man put many of those worries to rest, but that's merely because Ant Man is a (forgive me) smaller property. The onus may be on Thor 3 to show that the standalone solo films don't have to go toe to toe with the likes of the Avengers to be welcome entries in this ridiculously impressive run.

For more on Thor 3, check right here! What are your thoughts, hopes and fears for the third adventure for the God of Thunder? Let us know with a post here on MoviePilot, by voting in our poll, or by leaving a comment below.


Should Thor 3 take inspiration from Ant-Man?


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