“Apart from the film being one of the funniest Marvel has produced, everything else is almost exactly the same.”
Yesterday I saw Thor: Ragnarok and it was alright. I don’t know if it was just that the movie was only alright or if I’m suffering from slight Marvel fatigue, but either way I’m going to have to take it out on this movie. Thor: Ragnarok follows Thor (no shit) as he is trying to stop his home world of Asgard from being destroyed. To accomplish this task Thor must escape from what is essentially a prison planet where he is being forced to fight in gladiator-style cage matches against various opponents.
One factor that may or may not explain my lukewarm reception of Thor: Ragnarok would be the fact that I believe the Thor films to be the weakest in Marvels’ lineup. The first film is pretty weak, the second is better (but only because I like dumb action movies), but that’s not saying much; so maybe Thor: Ragnarok was just destined to fail in my eyes. Either way there was one thing in Thor: Ragnarok that worked, and that was the comedy. Not that this should come as a surprise to anyone considering the film is directed by Taika Waititi, the man behind What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople to name a few of his works. So yeah, the comedy in Thor: Ragnarok was definitely a step-up from the other Thor films, as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general. This may be (read: definitely is) subjective, but I found Thor: Ragnarok to be the funniest movie Marvel has released, rivalled only by Guardians of the Galaxy. The embodiment of a lot of this comedy comes from one specific character: Korg. In Korg we have the kind of dumb, but oh-so-loveable character that that is usually included in Marvel movies to garner extra points with the audience, and it worked. Korg delivers some of the funniest lines in this film, and whenever he was on screen it was a real treat. But of course this comedy had a downside in that, because of the added jokes, some other parts of the movie suffered. First of all, I found the story in Thor: Ragnarok to be pretty fucking weak. I enjoyed the parts when Thor and co. were on the garbage planet, but everything else (mainly the Asgard storyline) I found boring. I never cared about Asgard before, why should I start now? I feel that Thor: Ragnarok would have been stronger if it was focused more on Thor’s journey, and less on the “save the world (or planet)” bullshit they always try to shoehorn in there. And to make this even worse the film’s conclusion revolves around a bullshit “home is where the heart is” metaphor that just screams “we ran out of time, how do we end the movie?!”. To top this off I found a lot of the action scenes in Thor: Ragnarok to be pretty lackluster as well. I think a large part of this is most of the fight scenes felt pretty similar to what we have already seen. There was nothing new added, so I wasn’t that interested. I will admit that the “final battle” was pretty cool, but I can’t give the rest of the fight scenes a pass because of it. And one thing that really hindered my enjoyment of Thor: Ragnarok were the special effects; namely how shitty they looked. I don’t know what happened, but it legitimately looked like Thor was hanging out in fucking Toon Town for a lot of the film. Backgrounds looked drawn, objects seemed to float about an inch from the ground, and don’t even get me started on the fucking ‘Rubber Man’ syndrome that a lot of the characters (mainly Cate Blanchett’s Hela) suffered from. And speaking of Hela, she also suffered form the infamous “Tony Stark Bobblehead syndrome”. Really most of the special effects in this film were pretty mediocre at best.
I also found myself disappointed with the fact that the Hulk reveal was spoiled in literally every single trailer, considering it doesn’t happen until about halfway through the film. I understand that I’m wishing for the impossible here, but can you imagine if nobody knew The Hulk was in this movie and then he just shows up? That would be insane! As far as performances go, you know what you’re getting into at this point. The same can be said for direction; Marvel (really Disney) doesn’t want visionaries, they want puppets. That may make me sound conceited or pompous, but I believe it is the truth. Luckily Waititi was able to play ball throughout the whole production, but the only thing he really added was the comedy. Everything else was a bog-standard Marvel movie. One thing I will praise is the soundtrack of the film (and no, not the one Led Zeppelin song played numerous times), specifically the 80’s-inspired synth music that accompanied a lot of what we were seeing on screen. Once again there wasn’t much different from Thor: Ragnarok when comparing it to other Marvel films, but the score was a nice touch.
Overall Thor: Ragnarok is exactly what you would expect from another Marvel movie. Apart from the film being one of the funniest Marvel has produced, everything else is almost exactly the same. I found the story to be weak and the effects to be even weaker, but it’s not a movie I would dissuade anyone from seeing.
I give Thor: Ragnarok a B