KcMsterpce posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 27 days ago

Thor: Ragnarok



Thor-poster

Directed by: Taika Waititi
Written by:
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Jaimie Alexander, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum
Studio: Marvel Studios
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comic Book, Fantasy, Science-Fiction
Official Site:
Plot: Thor has to save Asgard from the clutches of Hela, the Queen of Death Herself. But first, he has to be a gladiator for a bit. Or something.

Review:

First and foremost, I think that it is true when the cast talks about how much fun they had making this movie. It looks like everyone was having a great time. There are many jokes. Thor lets his hair down, so to speak. Jeff Goldblums it up with the zaniest, most cooky character in the MCU yet! There are "fun" cameos near the beginning, and Anthony Hopkins gets to be a little silly, and poke fun at his image as Odin. Hulk talks a lot, and is basically a huge punchline for slapstick shenanigans!
Herein lies the problem: It is ONLY jokes, and they all fell flat for me. I found myself drifting off in my own thoughts during the gladiator battle between Hulk and Thor. I had to stop and say to myself, "Oh yeah, that's right, a movie is playing right now. And I paid to see this."
Every time an action scene started, I remembered that I was supposed to be giving a shit. When Loki was senselessly doing a Knife Tango with Valkyrie, I thought about the commentary to THE AVENGERS, when Joss Whedon mentioned the fight scene between Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America as they all try to take Loki as their own prisoner. Joss mentions that an action scene alone does not make a movie great. What matters is the context in which the battle is taking place. There needs to be a reason for the characters to fight each other. Without something for the audience to invest in, then it is just a bunch of noise and flash, essentially.
That's what I felt about THOR: RAGNAROK. It is a bunch of noise and flash. It looks fantastic. There are many, many colors, and Cate Blanchette looks hot as an evil Galadriel. She chews up her scenes with fervor, much like Hemsworth is obviously enjoying himself as a more surefooted, lighthearted Thor.
Out of the entire cast that gets more than 30 seconds on screen, the only person that seems completely wasted is Karl Urban as Skurge. The poor guy just stands around, wide-eyed and worthless. There is a scene with a previous Marvel character that helps Loki and Thor find Odin. That person seems just plugged into the screenplay merely to show up, but the character’s task is wasted since Loki actually knew what was going on in the first place.
What is more depressing is that the moment Hela (the Queen of Death herself) starts killing people, she begins with characters that have existed in previous films, and there is absolutely no thoroughfare about it. I always thought that they were being set up for something "bigger" in future films, but then they are on the screen for about 20 seconds here before they're gone forever, barely even saying a word in the process (let alone putting up a fight).
******* Very minor Spoiler ****************
I hate that Hela walks into the Asgard museum and just tosses aside the infinity gauntlet and says "Fake!". Once again, there was a setup established in the past - a fun Easter Egg, in a way - that is then reduced to a single line and LITERALLY tossed aside and forgotten. I don't get it, though: Are most things in that museum fake? Why is it in a heavily guarded vault in the first place? If it is just a display, then what is the point of it being shown in the past? I thought it would have been fun to see Thanos break into Asgard, but also there was always the question of why the gauntlet looked complete in the first place.
***** End of Very minor Spoiler **************

That moment is the perfect summation of how I felt about the whole movie: Make a short quip, then toss it all aside and move on. Serious stuff HAPPENS, but it is forgotten and glossed over with a joke, making this movie more of a spoof than a worthy addition to the MCU. As a standalone movie, it might have made more sense. If it did not have any connection to the MCU in any way, and if it wasn't a sequel, I might have been a little more accepting of this lack of care/consideration.

If you, Dear Reader, have had qualms about the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY movies being too full of quips and humor during times of distress, then keep in mind that this movie does what GotG accomplished, but shows how to fail better at it. At least for me, I love GotG even though there is too much banter during battle scenes that negates the seriousness of their situation(s). What makes it still work for me is because the characters are all interesting, and likeable in their own way. They are unique, with flaws and strengths that compliment each other. Even though I wish they would stop laughing so much sometimes (especially Drax in Volume 2), I end up overlooking minor annoyances because of the comradery. That is completely lacking with THOR: RAGNAROK.
What I fear about this movie's success is where that will lead future comedy-driven MCU films to go to. There was a great mix of drama and humor with DEADPOOL, and with the GotG movies. I am actually impressed that they work as both a comedy, and as a drama. That's what is missing with THOR: RAGNAROK. It is all about the laughs, but when it's time to take something seriously, it's impossible to do so because those significant moments are glossed over and tossed aside for comedy instead.
Amidst the pretty, flashy colors and sets, there is very little soul. Also, it's all over the place - geographically, and narratively. While Thor is imprisoned and forced to be a gladiator, he runs across Taika Watiti's Korg, a rock monsterman-thing. I think he's supposed to be comic relief or something, but I found that his character was just more noise swept into the chaos. I kept wondering why so much time was being SPENT on this planet, and wasn’t bothered enough to think too long before wondering why I wasn’t at home playing guitar, or just, maybe, sleeping.
Bruce Banner was handled nicely in THE AVENGERS, and I was looking forward to seeing more of him. In another stroke of mad non-genius, he becomes the butt of many jokes and flounders around like a fish out of water. A Fun and Comedic fish out of water, apparently.
I was trying to fall into the movie's vibe, but as the minutes ticked by, my patience wavered. Never before did I check my phone for texts or notifications in a movie theater, but I was in the back row and no one was next to me, and I was all of a sudden just reading something - anything - during a third act battle sequence. I think it is a mortal sin to even LOOK at your phone in a movie theater. I forced myself to put it away, lest I sentence myself to That Special Hell.
It was neat, I guess, that the soundtrack tried to imitate something from Buckaroo Banzai, especially during the scenes with Grandmaster (Goldblum). His introductory moment was audacious, straight up plagiarizing the crazy boat ride with Willy Wonka and his Chocolate Factory. I love when Jeff Goldblums as much as the next person, but I felt disconnected from anything that was happening during any scene in Grandmaster's domain.
Meanwhile, Hela is raising Hel (and the dead) in Asgard, and I'm wondering what the fuck I'm supposed to be concerned about. There are cuts to these “serious” moments to remind the audience that eventually, Thor is going to have to fix this problem. However, much of the movie’s runtime was stuck spinning its wheels on this gladiator planet, with weak exposition and one-dimensional characters.
I love a movie that wants to be whimsical and fun, but it's better when there is a good story to tell, when there are interesting characters to care about, and the story has a structure that isn't as scattershot as a busted piñata.
It is with heavy heart that I have to say I didn't like this movie. I tried to care, to try and tap into the "humor" pulse, and ride the bloodstream into comedic bliss. By the time Grandmaster's nameless female sidekick was flying a spacecraft and chasing Thor and Friends, making cockpit reaction shots that reminded me of a young Boba Fett in his ship during Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, I knew that there was no chance for recovery.

My Frustrations: A Quick Synopsis
If THOR: RAGNAROK was a standalone one-off with characters that you haven't gotten to know already, I wouldn't have minded so much that they end up being COMPLETELY DIFFERENT for this movie. These are the same characters in a running series by name only, not by action or the way they are written.
There is a TON of serious stuff that happens. People die - RELEVANT people. Horrible things happen. But no one ever pauses to ponder the levity of these events, which belittles and trivializes things that deserve - heck, they demand - to be recognized for what they are: tragedies.
It would have been better if such serious events were left for a different movie, and/or the movie paused for even a little bit to STFU about being "funny" or "fun", and allowed the audience a second or two to soak in the tragedy.
I think that because it's so "fun", they should have left these deaths and huge tragedies for another movie. This was not the venue for so much sadness (which is immediately discarded for the next gag).
I like a "fun" movie as much as anyone else. GotG knows how to balance "fun" and "stupid humor" with heart, and dramatic weight when it REALLY requires it.

Conclusion
For me, it's such a failure for so many reasons that I can't grasp the overwhelmingly positive reaction. From critics and moviegoers. Usually, I might stray a bit from the norm, but I rarely go so heavily against the grain.
I really, sincerely hope your mileage varies from mine. I wanted to be as swept up in the humor and fun of the movie as the actors themselves, but it just wasn't possible. This, for me, is the absolute worst installment in the MCU. Is it comic book movie fatigue? I thought about that, and it's not. I just feel that this was too much fluff and not enough substance to satiate my innermost desires.

Grade: D

Reviewed 26 October, 2017.

Thorrrr

Other reviews of this film: OldKingClancy (8/10) , MonsterZeroNJ (7/10) > Display all


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