Thor: Ragnarok Review
While I like to say that there is not a single MCU movie I didn’t enjoy, for the most part, the Thor movies have kind of faded into vague memory for me. I’ve seen the first three times and the second I’ve only seen once in theaters, though I do own the blu ray. My opinion on those are about the same as most, they’re good movies but nothing special. This movie boasted a lot of changes that turned a lot of heads, such as Hulk being included. How does it rank up?
Thor: Ragnarok was directed by Taika Waititi and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Cate Blanchett as Hela, Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster, and Karl Urban as Skurge. The film takes place two years after Avengers: Age of Ultron and tells the story of Thor, who after a series of misfortunate events ends up on a junk covered planet run by The Grandmaster and forced to battle in an arena for his entertainment. As seen in the trailers, his opponent is none other than The Incredible Hulk himself! Now, Thor needs to get back to Asgard as fast as he can to save his world from the Goddess of Death, Hela, who has taken control.
From the first lines of the movie, you can tell this is going to be a lot different from the other Thor films. Marvel clearly took notes from the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and made sure that theme continued in this movie, being much more comedic than the previous films. While I can see fans being upset over this change, since every Marvel character these days are slowly becoming more and more like Tony Stark, I think this movie utilized the comedic tone very well. There’s only so many times we can see Thor be the serious guy, ignorant to sarcasm and humor, before it gets stale. Being around goofballs like Tony for so long, it’s no surprise that Thor would acquire some sense of humor. He’s always been the arrogant sort, after all, that’s the reason he is sent to Earth in the first place, so his interaction with Surtur made perfect sense. This all being said, I do think the humor could have been dialed back just a bit. Seeing as the film’s title is “Ragnarok,” basically the Norse apocalypse, I would have liked a little more tension.
So we didn’t get a dark, high stakes film, but I really don’t mind since I instead got an incredibly fun adventure movie with Thor and The Hulk!
Let’s talk about Hulk, who is probably one of the biggest (no pun intended) draws to the film for moviegoers. In short, Hulk was fantastic. He was such a different character this time around than the others, a great evolution of the character we left in Age of Ultron. He can speak full sentences, and he has found a place in the galaxy now. He’s a warrior, fighting for fun. His interactions with Thor are that of a big, dumb kid. We also get a lot of great insight into the growing separation between Bruce Banner and Hulk, which I found to be an excellent plot point.
As many know by now, this film has a lot of influence from a famous Hulk comic: Planet Hulk. I won’t go into that story, but I do highly recommend checking out the complete graphic novel, or checking out the animated movie, which I enjoyed quite a lot. This movie does have a lot of similar themes, but it’s overall a very different story. The arena is here, Hulk has his cool gladiator armor, and so on. For fans of Planet Hulk, keep an eye out for some smaller references, maybe in the form of a statue on the arena? *wink wink* The most important thing I got out of Hulk in this film is that Disney has made a great decision to use Hulk as a supporting character, rather than a main character. I know that Disney does not own the rights to make a solo Hulk film anyway, but it’s for the best this way, I believe.
Needless to say, Loki is fantastic as always. He eats up every scene he’s in, and continues the theme of “am I bad or am I good” that has been developing since his first appearance.
The biggest standout for me was the new character, Valkyrie. I won’t say much about her to avoid spoilers, but I always love a good bounty hunter!
For those who stayed until the end of Dr. Strange, that element is touched upon very early. It’s brief but perfect, and is just another example of why this connective universe is so great, and those who have seen all the movies will be rewarded.
As far as flaws, beyond the humor being a little too much, I have a few to mention. The most glaring involves Hela. While the character was great and the buildup was necessary, every time the movie cut from Thor to her on Asgard, I found myself thinking “alright cool she’s on Asgard doing stuff, can we get back to Thor?” Most of her scenes before the finale are exposition. Necessary exposition, but a little dragging nonetheless. Also, as a fan of the original material, Korg just didn’t work for me. He’s very funny, and it’s great that he’s voiced by the director, but I just wish he was a little closer to the original character. I also wish Caeira was mentioned or involved in some capacity, even as a cameo. That’s not a flaw, just something I wish they included for Planet Hulk fans like myself.
In the end, Thor Ragnarok was another home run for Disney Marvel! The film is hilarious, epic, and incredibly acted. Being a huge fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, this is just as fun and will definitely be with Guardians 1,Iron Man 1, and the first Avengers for movies I watch over and over. Thor went from my least favorite Avenger to one of my favorites, and for that alone, this film succeeded far beyond my expectations. I highly recommend this film to everyone looking for a good time at the movies, especially if you’re a fan of the MCU.