REVIEW: THOR RAGNAROK
Thor is a character I never really touched on much before his first movie. I had read and enjoyed all of The Ultimates by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. I liked what was done with the character in that story but I didn’t expect to see whole movie based on that idea, just some nods and winks. I think that is why I enjoyed the first movie so much. I went in with low expectation and a low interest in the character so was surprised when the movie delivered. I believe it to be one of the underrated gems if the MCU so far. While the Captain America movies have got stronger with each instalment Thor: The Dark World wasn’t a strong sequel. Perhaps I’d go as far to say it is one of the MCU’s biggest missteps. Whether he is coming up with new ways to combine Mjolnir with Cap’s shield the god of thunder has always stood out in The Avengers movies, often having some of the best lines. Now he deserves a big movie of his own. Will Ragnarok deliver? Its time to step onto The Rainbow Bridge once more and find out…
I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. Thats not me saying its a bad movie but I was expecting more. At times I was left feeling like I was watching an extended version of the trailer. Don’t get me wrong I could watch Chris Hemsworth twirl that hammer to the sounds of Led Zeppelin all day. But like I said I was expecting more. The beginning is strong. It lays a lot of groundwork for what is coming in the next two plus hours, whilst cleverly disguising itself as a cold opening. This movie doesn’t hold back on continuity. There are plenty of call backs to both previous Thor movies as well as both Avengers movies. This doesn’t make it friendly to newcomers, but really at this stage how many are there? It was great seeing Walt Simonson et a credit. A lot of talk pre release was about Jack Kirbys influence. Rightly so as well. He is Thor’s co creator after and his visuals are a hue part of this movie. Simonson had a legendary run on the series in the 80’s and a lot of what we see on screen was shaped by his writing. While ‘Planet Hulk’ is a solid comic book I don’t think it would stand as its own movie in the MCU. The blend Taika Waititi has done for this Ragnarok is perfect. This movie seems to work on different blends. Whether its Kirby and Simonson or Norse mythology and Planet Hulk. There are even hints of Star Wars and Lord of The Rings. In my opinion they could have taken twenty minutes out of the middle to make a tighter movie. But what do I know? You do feel they sold this movie on the Hulk fight. When Ragnarok comes it feels a rushed final act. The character development of Thor, Loki and others are well done.
So I’m was left a little unfulfilled but this is still a very enjoyable movie. Did it work as an extension of the MCU? Yes. Did it work as the third instalment of a trilogy? Not as much. It is a complete tonal shift from the previous two movies. Maybe Waititi put too much GOTG into the blender? Most people won’t see this as a bad thing. From what I’ve seen online it is probably 60/40 in favour of the comedy. Is it a sign all MCU movies are becoming the same product? They are just swapping out the heroes! Whether you agree with the levels of comedy or not there is know denying Chris Hemsworth delivers. We know he can do the action ad he proves he can do the funny stuff too. He was born to play the god of thunder. I would liken him to Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine. I can’t ever picture anyone else taking the role, he is perfect.
Lets talk newcomers, they are all brilliant. Yeah Jeff Goldblum makes some very interesting choices but in the grand scheme of thing she gets away with it. Is it sheer luck that the Thor movies have given us two of the best villains of the MCU? First Tom Hiddlestone as Loki who is again brilliant in Ragnarok, though I feel they have taken that character as far as they can. Now we get Cate Blanchett as Hela. Like Goldblum she makes some interesting choice, bordering on chewing the scenery but it is a captivating watch. Some of the best villain speeches on film, delivered with such zeal. The way she moves to all add to her performance. My favourite of the newcomers though has to be Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie. People have said Grandmaster was scene stealing, I would have to say otherwise. Every time Thompson is on screen we get something different. Sass, humour, strength, the full emotional gauntlet. An addition to the Thor franchise we should of got sooner and I’m hoping sticks around for a lot longer.
Please go and see this film I think I gave it more of a hard time than I intended. There is a lot of positives from this film the humour for me was just too much. The action is right up there with The Avengers movies and it is one of the stronger character arcs of the MCU. Lastly I don’t think I’ve mentioned there is no greater sight than Thor hammering through hordes of villains to the gloriousness of ‘Immigrant Song’.
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
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Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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