Review of Thor: Ragnarok

thorragnarok

When it comes to dysfunctional families the Norse gods of Marvel’s cinematic universe are tough to beat. Odin and Thor have a strained relationship, to put it mildly, and Loki doesn’t get on with the thunder deity either. The god of mischief lives up to his reputation by routinely betraying his brother. In Thor: Ragnarok we learn that Thor has a long lost sister named Hela. She is the goddess of death and has returned from exile with aspirations of claiming the vacant Asgardian throne. Hela’s thirst for conquest will put her at loggerheads with Thor, who seems to be blighted with unruly relatives.

OVERVIEW

Don’t let the movie’s title fool you, a substantial chunk of Thor: Ragnarok takes place outside of Asgard. After getting trounced by Hela, a hammerless Thor ends up marooned on the alien world of Sakaar. The planet’s ruler is a nutty chap named Grandmaster (who is played by Jeff Goldblum, who appears to have walked on set wearing his morning gown.) Grandmaster enslaves Thor and forces him to compete in mortal combat. In effect Thor is now a gladiator, who fights against other gladiators, in a gladiator arena… just like that Ridley Scott movie whose name I cannot recall.

Thor: Ragnarok boasts a star-studded lineup. Many of the big names are limited to brief appearances though. That’s what happens when 130 minutes has to be rationed out between such a big cast. Benedict Cumberbatch’s reprisal of Dr Strange is constrained to a cameo. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is relegated from nemesis to comic relief. If you came to watch a memorable performance from Karl Urban, I “dredd” to inform you that he is nothing more than Hela’s lackey. I didn’t mind that Mark Ruffalo barely featured in human form though. I found the chattier CGI Hulk to be more entertaining than his alter ego Bruce Banner.

VERDICT

My rating for this motion picture is a Thor out of five. Overall I would have to say that Ragnarok is a big improvement over its predecessor Thor: Dark World. If you enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy I imagine you will like Ragnarok too. Both films deliver on sci-fi spectacle, tons of action and lashings of humour. If anything, the script was a little too saturated with gags. Most of the jokes are hilarious, but there were some moments of slapstick that missed their mark. Another grievance I had, with the witticisms, is that on a couple of occasions the mood was ruined by an out of place quip.

I’ll conclude by saying that the ladies acquitted themselves well. Hela is just a generic Marvel villain, who looks like a blade wielding Maleficent. Cate Blanchett made the role work though, with an over the top portrayal that is cartoonishly evil. Tessa Thompson also did a good job as the booze swilling Valkyrie. As someone who loves blondes, I was disappointed to see that Valkyrie doesn’t resemble a traditional Scandinavian war maiden. Tessa did however match the boys when it came to fisticuffs. She’s actually tougher than some of the guys (Loki and Banner I am looking at you.) Okay, I take that back. Banner is a badass. Best not to upset him with insults. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

34 thoughts on “Review of Thor: Ragnarok

  1. This film was delightfully hilarious all the way through and broke from the usual formula. Shows how Disney franchising can be really interesting. Very New Zealand sense of humour. They are very chill.

    • I worried that Disney’s acquisition of Marvel would result in neutered action and tame humour. Movies like this one prove however that they allow Marvel the freedom to do what they wish creatively.

      • I am interested to keep on following. I recently watched the old Ghost Ryder with Nicholas Cage. It is a very early Marvel film. The use of 80’s Ozzy Osbourne music is tasteful

  2. Agree that this movie was the best in the Thor series by far. But wish the Hela/Asgard stuff was better. I think the lighthearted tone of the overall hurt that side of the story which prob needed to be more serious and weighty. Mass killings and the destruction of the whole place and all…

    Thus I was bummed that Cate Blanchett ended up being another generic villain. Was really hoping she’d make a memorable bad guy, like Killmonger in Black Panther.

    I appreciate the livened up color palette that cribs directly from Jack Kirby’s work. But I wonder how it’ll hold up when we start looking back at this a few years later.

    • I read in numerous reviews that Hela was a good antagonist, so I was surprised to see that she was a two dimensional “evil conqueror” which we have seen many times before in Marvel movies. She was better than other examples though, as it looked like Cate was having fun with the role. Hopefully the movie’s visuals stand the test of time. I though the costumes in the first Thor looked silly at first, but they eventually grew on me.

    • There were so many jokes in this movie that is was statistically unlikely that they would all be good. On the plus side, the ratio of good/bad gags swung more towards the good side.

  3. It was the clear humour in the trailer that got me interested in seeing this. I thought that the first film did a good job of balancing action and fun, but the second dropped the ball a little.

  4. Dude, you’re back! 🙂 My site has been missing your puns and replies to my posts. I thought maybe Hela zapped you into oblivion or something! 😛

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  6. I heard that this film tried to hard to be Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but because I haven’t seen that either, I have little idea what that means. Hoping it’s not a bad thing because the first Guardians film was good.

  7. Yeah, I definitely enjoyed this one quite a bit as well. A very solid way to end the Thor trilogy and also helped to set up his role for the Infinity War. Hopefully he finally gets his big fight with Thanos

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  9. I saw this movie recently and truly enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun, although I do think some of the jokes could’ve been cut, especially due to the Hela and Asgard scenes. Those were grim, what with all the deaths, but weren’t as affecting due to the other storyline that was so much fun.
    Although Hela turned out to be a generic Marvel villain, I think she stands apart simply due to the performance. Blanchett was clearly having a ton of fun, which is why I think she’s such a popular villain.
    I also liked how Valkyrie was treated exactly like a male anti-hero; most of the times, when female characters take up the characteristics of male anti-heroes, they tend to be “prettied up”, for lack of a better word. I liked how she wasn’t, particularly with her drinking.
    I have hard time deciding whether I think this is the best Thor movie, of if the first one is still the best. I think this is probably the better one objectively, but I have a such a soft spot for the first one that it makes it hard to decide. Plus, I feel the first one has a bit more heart, in some ways. Although, the story here I felt was probably the better one.

    • The first Thor movie is underrated. It might not have the amount of action seen in Ragnarok, but it told a good tale of how Thor matured from reckless warrior to a responsible/worthy hero.

      • It really is. While there isn’t so much action, I truly feel it has some of the most heart in the MCU, and some of the best character development. It just sort of gives me warmer feelings, which is a nice change of pace.

  10. I enjoyed how well it managed to combine comedy and seriousness. To some the comedy felt out of place but to me it was very much needed to help give Thor and Hulk more energy and likability. They were neat before but didn’t stand out much during Avengers movies. The way they are now I’m sure they’ll have a bigger presence in the Thanos movies.
    Also Valkyrie, Hela and Jeff Goldblum were awesome additions as cool heroine, villain and Jeff Goldblum respectively. Basically I really liked this movie.

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