Movie Review: "Thor: Ragnarok"
After mourning the death of his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and having no luck with locating any of the remaining infinity stones, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) begins having dreams of Asgard’s apocalyptic event, Ragnarok. Thor is now on a desperate mission to prevent Ragnarok, but discovers that Loki is still alive and that their father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is missing.
The two brothers then set out on a quest to find their father and to prevent Ragnarok, but they end up meeting Hela ”The Goddess of Death” (Cate Blanchett), who intends to take over as queen of Asgard by any means necessary. Only Thor and Loki stand in her way, but they find themselves stranded on a strange planet ruled by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), who makes Thor fight for his freedom by competing in a fight to the death against his champion, the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
The Pros & Cons
The Action & The Comedy (+10pts)
The Plot & Visuals (+8pts)
Skurge & The Warriors Three (-2pts)
Pro: The Action & The Comedy (+10pts)
The action in this film was excellent. Right from the beginning, we got an awesome scene of Thor wielding his hammer. This scene was so much fun to watch, as it was the kind of Thor action that fans have been waiting for over the past several years. This scene then paved the way for some very entertaining and exciting action throughout the rest movie. We saw Hela taking out legions of Asgardians single-handedly, we saw a great Thor versus Hulk brawl, and we saw so many other great action sequences, far too many to list them all here.
As hard and fast as the action came, the comedy in Thor: Ragnarok came even faster. This was just a funny movie from beginning to end. It may be a turnoff for some, but for me personally, it worked and it never took away from the plot, action or tone. There was one comedic moment that did not work for me. It came when Valkyrie made her first appearance, but other than that, this movie had a perfect amount of comedy, most of which was effective. Then there was the funniest part of the movie, which was easily Korg (Taika Waititi), and I cannot wait to see more of this character in future movies.
Con: Hela (-5pts)
As has become the norm for Marvel films, the weakest element of this film was its villain. Hela had the potential to be the next great Marvel villain (after Loki), but the filmmakers made the decision to sacrifice her character development. Hela was Thor’s older sister, was the goddess of death, and helped Odin conquer the nine realms. This could have provided a ton of fascinating character development for both Hela and Thor, and while the filmmakers touched on it, this element of the story felt extremely shallow and left me wanting to know a lot more. The result was an antagonist that was just another generic Marvel villain.
Pro: The Plot & Visuals (+8pts)
We have seen Thor stripped of his hammer before. In the first movie, Thor spent most of the time trying to get his hammer and his powers back, but in this film, we saw his hammer dramatically destroyed. The result was a similar situation, but resulted in a very different Thor than the one we saw several years ago. We saw Thor in the middle of his most difficult journey and without the most powerful tool in his arsenal. His hammer was gone, but the movie did not feel lesser for it. This story was all about Thor trying to save Asgard from its apocalyptic event, Ragnarok. Sure there were a ton of new and familiar characters in this movie, but it still felt very much like the next chapter in this character's cinematic story, and it was easily my favorite one of the three.
While I really enjoyed the plot, it was complimented wonderfully by the movie’s visuals. Almost every moment could have been paused to create a stunning wallpaper. The scenery, visual effects, costumes, and colors all blended together beautifully. The result was a visually fascinating movie to watch.
Con: Grandmaster (-4pts)
Grandmaster was definitely one of this film‘s weaknesses. The character was essentially Jeff Goldblum, which was fine, but the problem came with the character‘s role in the story. The filmmakers did a good job of balancing a bunch of characters and storylines, but Grandmaster was one character that felt sort of under-utilized. This character got very little attention and felt like nothing more than a plot device to explain why the Hulk was in this film. I liked the Hulk’s presence, but the explanation for why he was there felt weak and a little forced. Fortunately, the movie was able to get me over this issue fairly quickly, but I thought the filmmakers could have spent a little more attention on developing the Hulk and the Grandmaster, to explain how they got to the place they were at when Thor met them in this movie.
Pro: Thor (+10pts)
As I mentioned before, despite the very crowded cast, this was difinitively a Thor story. Through all the jokes and the fantastic action, the filmmakers spent a lot of time developing their main character. He experienced great loss, finally found his place as a leader for Asgard, and discovered a dark past to his father’s rule and the history of Asgard, all while discovering what it means to be Asgardian. It was a very entertaining movie, but the filmmakers were also able to deliver a compelling story for their main character.
It may go somewhat unnoticed due to the heavy dose of action and comedy, but Thor went through tremendous growth and became a very different character by the end of this story. This was the version of Thor that some fans have been waiting for and others did not know they wanted to see. The film was absolutely packed with interesting characters. Some of them were excellent and entertaining to watch while others suffered from a lack of proper development, but one character that the filmmakers definitely got right was Thor.
Con: Skurge & The Warriors Three (-2pts)
Skurge, in my opinion, was a very unnecessary character. The filmmakers already had two primary antagonists (Hela and the Grandmaster). Both of these primary antagonists were underdeveloped, yet precious screentime was wasted on Skurge. Sure the character had a moderately interesting story arc, but it did not feel worth the lack of focus that was given to the primary antagonists.
The filmmakers also very briefly gave us the Warriors Three, who also had such an unnecessary presence in this story. They were in the movie so briefly and they get so little attention that I wonder why the filmmakers decided to have them in here at all. We have seen enough of these characters in the past that the characters deserved more than what they got in this movie. Was this film too crowded to give these characters much attention? Definitely, but why not just keep these characters in the background until a later movie instead of unnecessarily squeezing them into this one?
Grade: A- (92pts)
This was a very entertaining movie. There was a ton of fantastic action, hilarious comedy, interesting characters, and absolutely stunning visuals. We saw Thor dominating legions of his enemy’s minions, we saw a great brawl between two of Marvel’s most famous heroes, and that is really just scratching the surface of the exciting action that was in this movie. If you thought the previous films did not give a good showing of Thor in action, see this movie. This was also a very funny movie, but I thought the balance of comedy was handled well, as I did not think the comedy ever took away from the other aspects of this story.
The primary antagonists in Thor: Ragnarok were severely underdeveloped. We saw plenty of Hela and Grandmaster, but they felt very shallow and one-dimensional. These were such over-the-top characters with rich backgrounds that the filmmakers failed to explore. Knowing how much difficulty Marvel has had with properly developing each movie's villain, I am honestly shocked that the filmmakers decided to put two major villains in this movie, and ended up developing neither. This movie suffered from the same issues that so many Marvel films have suffered from, but it was still a very entertaining movie. There was tons of action, plenty of great comedic moments, gorgeous imagery, and entertaining characters. It was very much a Thor movie, and it delivered the Thor that fans have been dying to see (whether they knew it or not), and it was a movie that I definitely think is worth seeing.