Well I finally got around to seeing Thor: Ragnarok so I figure I’ll post a slightly late review because 1) I feel quite strongly about the film, and 2) It’s been a while since I’ve done a film review here.
This one is the latest release in the Marvel powerhouse, and the final(?) film in the current Thor franchise. And it’s fairly clear to me even from the outset they took 3 films to get it right with the IP… and then they got it a little TOO right. What we got was a lot of fun, but lacking any real depth. I loved it. And I hated it.
Thor is back, along with Loki, and Luther, and Hulk, and new comer Galadriel. And they’re all colourful as a packet of skittles… even Galadriel who is dressed almost entirely in black. The general gist is that Ragnarok (the Asguardian apocalypse) is coming… but it’s OK because Thor stops it. But then Hella, the God of Death, turns up and kicks the crap out of everyone. Thor must go on a neon coloured adventure to find new friends (because all of his old ones were brutally murdered and Thor gives no shits about anyone else), and achieve his Super Sayain form.
So to start with what I loved. Dear GODS this film was fun. There was never a dull moment, and anytime it looked like slowing down while things got heavy, the film smacks you in the face with a dose of comedy (comedy, not humour!) to get over the blues. It’s so painfully obvious that the boys and girls behind the film have learned a few lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy, because this film is pretty much GotG 3… only with Thor instead of the Guardians. At this point I think Marvel could easily separate it’s main superhero franchises from its space superhero franchises, and just give us a whole new high octane space opera. The films set in space now have SUCH a different feel from those set on earth that it’s almost impossible to marry the two… but they’re going to try with Infinity Wars. It feels bright. It feels fun. At times it feels stupid.
It had some truly awesome shots, and a soundtrack to back them up and make them sound even more epic. Thor’s Super Sayain fight scene against the faceless generic baddies towards the end was glorious to watch. Some other really cool ones such as the camera following his hammer while Thor has a fist fight. Hella dancing around and proving you can never have too many knives. I thought the actions scenes, for the most part, were great and they never really felt repetitive. The space ship battle was a bit of a different matter, but then they often are these days because we’ve seen one spaceship battle, we’ve seen them all.
Aaaaand I really quite liked the twist at the end. The more I think about it, the more I like it.
BUT, the film was definitely not without its flaws. Ragnarok is a film that never passes up the opportunity to make a joke. Even when it really should. There’s a lot of comedy in the film and often times it works. Hey, the rest of the cinema was certainly laughing a lot. But there was too much of it for my liking. Here’s the thing, Guardians of the Galaxy has a very similar type of humour, but it also knows when to be serious, when to be emotional, when to curb the jokes for a moment and be just EPIC. Ragnarok doesn’t know when to stop. It ventures in the land of spoof time and time again just to get in one last stupidly obvious joke. And it comes across as a bit vapid because of it. I think it’s saying something when the most emotional nuance we see is from Karl Urban’s bit part character as he struggles with his conscience because he’s doing what he has to to survive, even though he clearly knows it to be wrong.
Which leads me to my next big gripe. Thor is a dick. He is a manipulative, self centered arsehole. At least that’s how he comes across in this film. His best friends, people he has known for centuries, the warriors three, are murdered and he never so much as pauses to address it. He shows NO emotional empathy to Banner as he struggles over his inner war with the Hulk, and even tries to play Banner and the Hulk off against each other. He complains about Loki betraying him over and over again, and yet never shows any concern over his brother’s well being and even straight up leaves Loki to die. In fact, Loki has a greater redemption arc than Thor in the film, who just kinda wanders through it telling jokes and getting more powerful.
Lastly (I know I’m bringing up quite a few issues here) is the dialogue. At times it worked. It was fantastic to see the characters riffing off each other and the banter was strong. But at times I really wanted at least one of the characters to take things seriously. They all just traded lighthearted quips with each other all film, even when punching each other to death. It actually became a little bit boring by the end just how little shits any of the characters seemed to give about anything.
So there it is. Thor: Ragnarok is without a doubt the best of the trilogy, and one of the most fun Marvel films so far. But it needed to let a few of the jokes go. I’m giving it 7 out of 10.
Why am I using a 10 scale rating for films when I use a 5 scale for books? Blame Goodreads and Amazon.