My expectations were fairly high going into Thor: Ragnarok since the trailers were all amazing. I haven’t seen Taika Waititi’s other movies, but I have heard great things. As the release date got closer I got a little concerned since he was known for comedies, since the other two Thor movies were less than stellar, and it seemed like there was a LOT of story they were trying to cram into one movie. Since the early reviews praised the movie, my fears were calmed a bit. So how did I like it?
I would give it 4 “DJ Grandmaster’s Orgy Spaceship” out of 10.
As a warning, I will be spoiling parts of the movie since I am in the minority of not falling head over heels for this movie.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
Thor ends up thrown out of Asgard by his sister (Hela) alongside Loki. He ends up imprisoned as a gladiator alongside Hulk and must find a way back to Asgard so he can save it from destruction.
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, and Benedict Cumberbatch
There were so many Easter eggs that it was borderline ridiculous. The first ones that jump out and slap you in the face are in Loki’s play where Matt Damon is Loki (still not as good as his cameo in Eurotrip), Luke Hemsworth is Thor, and Sam Neill is Odin. Then we get the extended Dr. Strange end credit scene with a humorous Loki / Dr. Strange standoff. Hela settles the two infinity gauntlet issue after she proclaims most of the artifacts are false. The introduction to the Grandmaster is via the Pure Imagination song with a tunnel very similar to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Before too long we meet Korg and Miek who are from Planet Hulk. We also get Skurge acting as the last safeguard with his dual M-16s.
The comedy takes away the consequences of every action, effectively cutting the story off at the knees and almost all character growth.
Loki is no longer several steps ahead of everyone or even one of the smarter people in the room. In fact most of his parts could have been cut and the movie would not have suffered in the least.
Thor is much more goofy than necessary and several of his gags end up running into the ground. He has to rely on everyone around him to get out of each situation and doesn’t know what to do without Mjolnir; which was literally the plot of the first movie. Also, why does he lose an eye instead of an arm like he does in most comics?
Hulk is the butt of every joke, cannot seem to hold his own in a fight with Thor minus Mjolnir (even though he nearly beat Thor with Mjolnir in The Avengers), and has several chances to get bigger/ stronger / madder / more savage but never gets there. Don’t even get me started on the plotline where Banner mentions if he becomes the Hulk again that he might not come back … which was laughed off when he mentions it and then used to fight a giant wolf that he could have outsmarted or something along those lines only after a cheap laugh at Banner’s expense.
Then there is Hela who gets her power from Asgard (the small city … which is no longer a realm?); even though she is the same power level as when she is first introduced. Then we find out Asgard is the people and not the land … so they have to destroy Asgard (the city) to stop her? We also learn she used to wield Mjolnir at some point, even if she talks about how she was far from worthy and ends up having seemingly unlimited daggers / swords /spikes from the ground that she just summons and throws?
How does it all end? By Ragnarok. Which is the thing Thor was trying to avoid the entire movie and Age of Ultron. Even Ragnarok was used as a comedic beat several times and was almost overcome by two of the characters. So the characters accomplished the exact opposite of their goals and / or purposes.
I was not a fan of this MCU entry. Not to say it was too light hearted, it was just too comedic. Everything that should have been meaningful or had an impact on future events was cheapened by bits that were easily predicted. If you are a completionist, you will want to see it. Even then you can wait and see it for the cheapest way possible. Then again maybe I am being too harsh on a film that was trying to be different, which Marvel definitely needs more unique films. But this is my review, so I am sticking to my decision of less than favorable.
My pick for an action movie that doubles as a comedy without making it suffer is Hot Fuzz. It is also my favorite of the Cornetto Trilogy (Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost collaborations) while also being one of my favorite action movies. Simon Pegg plays a big city by the books constable who is forced out for being too good. He ends up in a town with no crime, just a lot of mysterious accidents. It is very witty, action packed, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. If you have somehow missed this one, move it to the top of your list.