Movie Review: Thor Ragnarok (2017)

Once again based on the Marvel Comics character, the character itself based on the mythological deity of the same name, Thor Ragnarok is the third film in the Thor series, and the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Taika Waititi, the film sees Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston reprise their roles as Thor and Loki, the two sons of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), as they attempt to halt the death march of Hela, the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett). Mark Ruffalo rejoins the MCU as the Hulk for the first time since Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Karl Urban, Tessa Thompson and Jeff Goldblum round out the cast as Skurge the Executioner, the Asgardian warrior Valkyrie and the Grandmaster, respectively. The movie takes many cues from the Planet Hulk series (which took place concurrently with Civil War, in the comic chronology) enough so that this could affectionately be referred to as “Planet Thor”.

+ first things first, the whole movie is very funny. More like Guardians of the Galaxy‘s slapstick and dialogue humour, opposed to Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s constant quips, I don’t think Thor, Loki or Hulk have ever been THIS likable. Thor here is much like his portrayal in the Youtube videos of him hanging in Australia, and Hulk getting more time to shine (as Hulk, I mean, not just as Bruce Banner) was joyous
+ I thoroughly enjoyed Goldblum and Thompson, and I look forward to seeing more of them in the future. I was not entirely sold on Thompson’s casting when it was announced, but the changes to her character are enough to overlook both her look in particular and the comic portrayal of her character – she makes Valkyrie her own in an enjoyable new way. Goldblum, too, is so hammy and over the top as the Grandmaster it is hard not to enjoy his character as much as Goldblum seems to be enjoying playing it
+ the action, particularly the gladiator battle between Thor and Hulk from the trailers, is just fantastic. That scene may wel be among my favourite fights in all of the MCU to date. The more hard hitting elements, such as Hela’s spectacular combat abilities and the fire giant Surtur make for spectacular visuals, and seem to come straight out of the comic pages that inspired them
+ befitting of this faux-80s style space adventure, the soundtrack consists mostly of chilled synth music – think somewhere between Stranger Things and Far Cry: Blood Dragon. Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, and a fully heckaz banger from The Grandmaster round out a really enjoyable music adventure
+ a few moments from the trailer have been altered for the final film, and when you see the film you’ll know exactly why
+ there a lot of little “fixes” regarding discrepancies from past films, such as confirmation that the Infinity Gauntlet in the Asgard vault is not genuine. I get the feeling that Waititi really wanted to do right by both the character of Thor and his lackluster singles outings in the MCU thus far

thorragnarok_3.png
Countless Valkyrie versus one Goddess of Death – that’s hardly a fair fight for them.

– I was really hopeful for the inclusion of Skurge (Karl Urban), but unfortunately, I can’t help but feel let down. Skurge is arguably best known for one moment in the comics in particular, and whether it was done properly (or perhaps not done at all) was a sore point for me, enough that I spend much of my car ride home complaining about it
– the overall light-hearted tone really felt at odds with the (surprisingly large) number of named character deaths in this movie. I won’t spoil any names, obviously, but rest assured that a handful of characters will definitely not be appearing in any future films. Similarly, the entire premise of Ragnarok in general doesn’t befit a quasi-comedy such as this
– although the tone was significantly easier to handle than Age of Ultron, I can’t help but feel there was just one or two too many jokes. Taika Waititi pulls double duty as both director and voice actor for Korg, a gladiator made entirely of rocks, and while his accent is perfect for what he is going for, there was at least one joke in particular I would have taken out just to let the gravity of the situation really sink in
– Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) was a completely useless addition. His entire section should have been cut, or expanded upon (I have some good ideas, ask me about them!)

> On a personal note, as a huge Thor fan, I am glad that this movie finally lets him cut loose and show the audience just how powerful he really is. I am fine with Hemsworth being the “dumb muscle” of the team, as long as he gets to show off the muscle side of things (because, reow, they are nice muscles)
> Matt Damon is officially in the MCU! Keep an eye out for his cameo appearance

Should you see this film: As much as I love the first Thor movie, I think it is common consensus that the second is steaming garbage. It may have taken three tries, but Thor finally has a genuinely fantastic movie to his name, thanks in large part to director Taika Waititi. This was funny, heart wrenching and genuinely exciting, and easily one of the best MCU movies to date.

2 Comments

    1. Thanks, Dan!

      I think part of what made this so much fun for me was that I was /not/ expecting so much humour in a Thor movie. But it was a successful move on Marvel’s part, for sure.

      Like

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