*Very Minor Spoilers, and Major Spoilers for some of the previous MCU films*
When Thor was first introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was a game changer. Before then, Iron Man fought business CEOs and Edward Norton was the Incredible Hulk fighting a mutated Tim Roth. Sure it was unrealistic, but it was still Earthbound. As soon as you introduce the mythological god of Lightning and the world of the Gods; Asgard, everything needed to be upped. The baddies needed to be bigger and the stakes needed to be raised. It wouldn’t be epic enough if the multidimensional god; Thor, was just worrying all the time about one little planets issues.
In a way, it made films Ant-Man and Iron Man 3 feel less important. Sure they were good films, but having fought an enormous alien race through a worm hole over Manhattan, going back to fighting corporate millionaires just never felt quite the same, especially given that Thor could have got involved and instantly killed them in one smash of his hammer.
Of course with the inclusion of Thor into the Cinematic Universe, we were able to have Guardians of the Galaxy, which came completely out of nowhere and blew us all way. It was a fantastic film. The sequel, which came out earlier in the year, was also a hit (you can check out that review in the film reviews section). Like the original Thor film, Guardians of the Galaxy also changed the MCU forever. Marvel films had always had an element of comedy and/or funny moments in them, but Guardians felt like the entire thing was a comedy. It was hilarious and since then, more and more Marvel films have gone down the route of comedy over being far too serious.
The original Thor film, and its sequel, were both far too serious. They did have a lot of funny moments in them, but they were nowhere near anything like Guardians of the Galaxy. To me, the Thor films were just okay, but not ones that you hold in an overly high regard. You would watch them once (so that you have seen it and the post credits scene to keep up to date with the current MCU storyline), and then probably wouldn’t watch them again unless they were randomly on TV. I mean how many times have you watch Thor: The Dark World? Once? Same.
So it was clear that the producers felt this way as well and so they have decided to spice the Thor movie series up and go full Guardians of the Galaxy with it. In one sense, a very large one, it has helped it massively, as I would happily rewatch Thor: Ragnarok again, but in another, I felt that the film did lose a little of its own identity, since it merely feels like another Guardians of the Galaxy film, and you cannot help but draw comparisons.
With that in mind, I would like to state that I did really enjoy the third movie in the Thor series. The comedy did work well at mixing up the formula, and this whole 80s-but-not science fiction feel (that was similarly done in Guardians, only with classic songs rather than the New Retro Wave music that they used in this Thor – which was awesome) did work to its advantage.
The inclusion of laser guns, starships, neon lights and alien races, did stand stand out at first, given the grim fantasy-esc feel of the original films, but thankfully they managed to keep Asgard relatively the same, other than Thor himself.
You see Thor has had a sort of Star-Lord style make over (and that doesn’t just mean his haircut) in the sense that he is now just making jokes and, at times, being a bit silly.
The films introduction is a great example of this, as we find Thor suspended, and bound by a chain, hanging before a fiery demon. Thor has to stop the demon from speaking his “grand evil speech” because the chain has moved, Thor was slowly spinning around in a circle and now he had his back to the demon. Sure it was funny, if not falling a little into the Star-Lord realms of comedy. I fear that eventually all of these characters will lose their own individualities to assume this type of role, when they are in their own movies that is.
Sometimes you need to balance the comedy with the serious moments, as I felt that the writers, from time to time, went “Oh! We haven’t done anything funny for a while… get Thor to throw something at a window and it doesn’t break and hits him in the face” – or something similar. Whenever the movie was starting to get a little too serious, it felt as if someone was suddenly going to throw a pie to break the moment down.
I think this is my biggest qualm with this film. I did rather enjoy the funny moments, and most of them did have me literally laughing out loud (not lmfao, as that would have just been silly of me), but at times I did feel as if some of them were a little shoe horned in and forced. Sure they were still funny, but maybe too many of them spoiled the film a little for me.
A good example of this is when the Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk when he is not the Hulk) leaps off a spaceship onto a bridge, with the intention of turning into the Hulk along the way, making for a dramatic landing before the approaching enemy, however, I could completely tell that it was just going to result in Bruce Banner landing himself in a heap on the floor. The problem is, when you throw in too much comedy, it almost becomes predictable.
We may as well get the crap out of the way first then… so my other issues are:
While Cate Blanchett was good (and actually quite hot with dark hair and too much eye-shadow), I felt that she was never utilised enough. This is normally the case with a Superhero’s origin film, where a villain is thrown in and not overly developed as we are spending too much of the film learning about the main hero and how they got their power, becoming the comic book hero we all know and love. But in a film this late into the series, we know who Thor is, we know what Asgard is, we know what is at stake, so we can have time to develop the main antagonist to make them memorable. I just never really felt this about her. Sure her story was good and actually really interesting, but she was not in the movie enough for her to become a really well develop character.
Kurt Urban, on the other hand, was quite well developed, and I actually felt myself really wondering whose side he was on, or what he was going to do, but, with him, I felt he was not used enough in general. The film focused more on Thor’s adventure on Jeff Goldblum’s planet.
So with the above paragraph in mind, I felt that the film was lacking a decent antagonist, other than Jeff Goldblum’s character; The Grand Master, who was good enough to be a main enemy, but it never materialised.
Loki is a bit of a strange one, as I (and I am sure the rest of you as well as the writers of these films) love Tom Hiddleston, but they have no idea what to do with his character. Is he a baddie? Is he a goodie? Is he dead? Is he alive? What is his motivations? I found myself questioning it constantly throughout the film, and just when you think you have him figured out, he does something completely out of character and we have no idea. Sure it is good in the sense of keeping the audience guessing, but with no real plot-line, the character just feels a bit like he is floating around waiting for something to do. Kind of a bit like a tag-along.
The big thing with the last Thor film was that Loki was still alive and actually changed his appearance to look like Odin, leaving us wondering what was going to happen and where the hell was the leader of the gods, but this was cleared up instantly the moment Thor returned to Asgard, as if he had known all along, making the end of the last film, and its twist, feel a little pointless. Almost as if they writers had an idea of how to continue on the Thor film series and Loki’s plot, but then were pressed to make the film more like Guardians of the Galaxy, and their original ideas were scrapped.
The inclusion of Doctor Strange felt a little pointless. While it was nice to see Benedict Cumberbatch reprise the role, the scenes involving him were rather and unnecessary, since he did not feature any more in the film.
Also, the final end credits scene was rather disappointing. Sometimes it is to be fair, with the mid-credits scene providing more things to get to excited for next time, and the last one being a bit of a joke, but this one felt really not worth waiting around for an extra 10 minutes. Wait until it is out on DVD and fast forward it, or just watch it on YouTube.
Well that’s enough shit, I suppose, let’s not forget that I have already stated that I did really enjoy this film and would happily watch it again. I saw it in 4DX, so it was rather fun being thrown around, smells appears, lights flashing, and smoke rising up before me. It suited the film well. The only other film I have seen like this was Captain America: Civil War, and that made the film instantly more enjoyable than what it already was. But of course I won’t speak too much on my 4DX experience as it is pretty irrelevant to this review. I just wanted to state that it was a lot of fun.
So, the things I did enjoy about the film… when the comedy wasn’t forced, it was hilarious. There were many moments that just perfectly fell into place and had the whole audience laughing.
Thor and Hulk’s battle (which is in the trailers, so no spoilers there) was awesome. In fact, everything on the Grand Master’s planet was great, including the South African rock alien, who was also hilarious and stole the show of any scene that he was in, Jeff Goldblum and his melting stick hungry assistant, the whole alien battle arena idea was great and I would have loved to have seen more of it. Personally I think they should have sacked off the Cate Blanchett storyline and just solely focused on the alien planet and the battle arena.
Valkyrie was pretty badass, if not, at times, a little too used to create funny moments. Speaking of badass, the final scene of the film when all the characters are together fighting, were awesome. Thor and his new look, including authentic battle damage, and all the rest of them fighting in slow motion, was really cool, although the Hulk’s final battle is not shown that much and ultimately ends far too quickly, leaving us gagging for more. I think the Hulk should be getting his own films next, so we should all be excited for that.
Overall, other than the few issues, Thor: Ragnarok was a lot of fun and a great watch at the cinema. The visuals were great and the music was awesome. What issues I had could be easily overlooked and most people that see this film might not have even realised them, or think the same, but they were still there for me, niggling at the back of my mind.
It is by no means a perfect film, but it is one of the better MCU films out there, so definitely check it out.