MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Thor: Ragnarok” stars Chris Hemsworth (Rush, Red Dawn ), Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak, Only Lovers Left Alive), Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Tessa Thompson (Creed, Dear White People), Idris Elba (Prometheus, Zootopia), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day), Karl Urban (Star Trek Into Darkness, Dredd), Mark Ruffalo (Begin Again, Shutter Island), Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal, Red Dragon), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, Black Mass), Taiki Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), and Rachel House (Moana, Whale Rider). It is directed by Taiki Waititi and written by Eric Pearson (Agent Carter [TV series], Marvel One Shot: Item 47 [Short]), Craig Kyle (Planet Hulk [Video], Thor: Tales of Asgard [Video]), and Christopher Yost (Thor: The Dark World, Silver & Black). When Hela (Blanchett), the goddess of death, is released to Asgard, Thor (Hemsworth) is thrown onto a different planet and must find his way back home so he can defeat her and save his people.
The moment has finally come for a third “Thor” film. Before the trailer dropped, I couldn’t imagine anyone to be waiting for this. The son of Odin’s track record has not faired well over the course of its last two releases, and for good reasons. While “Thor” is a personal favorite of mine, it had its flaws to overcome; and “Thor: The Dark World”…well, let’s just say that Jane Foster should’ve been left out of the movie entirely. It’s difficult to say that either of them have hit a strong mark with audiences because the stories themselves didn’t give much of a pull with its characters. “Thor” came close, but there was certainly an emptiness to be found in its narrative. Now with “Thor: Ragnarok,” I was hoping for a change-up, and the trailer that was released for it gave a shimmer of light. Taiki Waititi is an up-and-coming director that I admire a lot. He knows comedy like the back of his hand, and I find his style to be amusing. “What We Do in the Shadows,” the first of his that I’ve seen, was entertaining, hilarious, and fun. It had all of the elements of what a mockumentary about vampires should have. However, what I saw to be a blessing of hiring Waititi to helm this was also what I saw to be a trap. Why? Because Waititi does comedy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the genre of comedy; it’s Marvel’s bread and butter. On top of that, it absorbs the dialogue of any superhero flick (with exceptions like “Logan,” “300,” and “Winter Soldier”). What I feared most was that Thor was going to be taken as a buffoon and his whole grit would be lost. Did this happen? Pretty much. I’ve been wanting a dark and gritty “Thor” movie almost as much as I’ve been wanting a fantastic “Thor” movie in general. After seeing “Ragnarok,” it looks like I’ll never be getting this satisfaction. Granted, the Norse God did have his moments of grit, but in light sprinkles (some of the best moments of the flick). You see, “Ragnarok” travels a path that Marvel has set up for it. It boasts that gloss that all Marvel films have now established, where comedy is king, colors are vibrant, and the 80’s are trying to break through. I’ve enjoyed this style in movies, like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but when it comes to “Thor,” I teetered between heavily enjoying it and wishing it stuck to its roots. Thor is meant to be menacing and oblivious to the cultures that earth has. It’s been evident in all of the Marvel movies leading up to this one, however with the new direction “Thor: Ragnarok” took Thor and peeled back a layer that probably wasn’t there to begin with. What was once a hardened Asgardian is now a soft, comedic guy who makes situations awkward for himself.. This sudden shift to make the character more entertaining has left me a bit discombobulated, primarily because it happened so suddenly. I understand the director’s point though; it was either Thor got funny, or he remained dull (Marvel wouldn’t want him being gritty). In all honesty, I’m at a cross roads as to picking which one I like more. In terms of overall story, Thor is better left comedic, but when it comes to the character’s motivations and personality, I would have to change my mind. Why I am relaying this to you is because of how it was on my mind throughout the feature. Techno-funk, joke-after-joke isn’t Thor, so I had to clean my palette of the character in order to fully soak in the ride. How did this movie fair? Pretty solid. The cinematography and colors were absolutely beautiful. I loved the shift in tones from upbeat to gloomy, and how that was displayed really made for a fun ride. The acting as well as characters were extremely entertaining; I thought the addition of Jeff Goldblum made things even better. What was probably the best part of this film, however, was it’s slow-motion, action moments featuring Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” My gosh, were those scenes epic! I absolutely loved the shots that were taken in that, as they resembled paintings, and the action itself was well-choreographed. Also, another great moment was the flashback of the Valkyrie (that reminded me of a Renaissance portrait). This film gave the audience a ton of fun moments that made for a highly entertaining ride. I laughed a lot and was even pulled into a few character moments, primarily those involving Thor and Odin (Hopkins). There’s plenty to love in this picture, though the shift in tone for “Thor” as a whole is what ultimately holds it back. I want this character to be taken seriously, and he’s at his best when he is. Besides that, there were a few other cons this movie had, such as Doctor Strange’s (Cumberbatch) presence (he could’ve honestly been taken out and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference) and the under-developed character of the Hela. While she was one of the better villains Marvel has presented, she definitely needed some flashbacks to solidify her personality. Telling the audience through dialogue is a lot different from actually showing. But, Marvel has always had trouble making their villains leap of the page, so this wasn’t too much of a shocker. Overall, “Thor: Ragnarok” was a cool thrill ride filled with many awesome sequences and laughs. It’s certainly a movie you’d want to see if you wanna have fun, though for comic book fans you might be a bit disappointed with how Thor’s character shifts. FINAL SCORE: 87%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: