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Monday, October 30, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review


If you're of the opinion that Marvel movies basically boil down to Quips: The Laughening, Thor: Ragnarok will definitely cement it. The difference here is that it embraces the campiness, revels in it, turning the last of the Thor trilogy into quite the movie that's better than its predecessors in surprising ways.

Forget the Shakespearean diction and the solemn tone of the last two Thor movies. In fact, forget everything you know about MCU Thor, because you won't be needing it. Here, Thor is on full-on bro mode, trading jokes with Surtur the goddamn fire demon that heralds the apocalypse and even having his share of physical comedy. Chris Hemsworth has proven his knack for comedy before, and I have to say it's fun watching him take the God of Thunder in a fun new direction while giving us more of the physicality and awesomeness we expect from a larger-than-life character like Thor.


Mark Ruffalo's Hulk deserves special mention, because we're finally treated to more of the Big Green Machine than ever. Scary powerful and with a wicked sense of humor, Hulk lets loose in Ragnarok, which is ironic given that most of the characters in the film are from his comics.

But the further the movie goes, the more Thor:Ragnarok feels like a parody of Thor films than an actual one. Director Taika Waititi doubled down on the comedy in this movie, which unfortunately leaves little room for gravitas. Every dramatic moment is immediately undercut by a stray ball to the face or pratfall, as if the movie's afraid of coming across as too serious. Characters not known for being funny, like Loki, suddenly become quippy caricatures. And if you're a fan of Skurge the Executioner, He who Stood Alone at Gjallerbru, I have bad news for you.


The levity ultimately hurt Cate Blanchett's Hela, who may have been Marvel's most formidable villain yet but whose villainy is reduced to posturing cutscenes while all the fun is happening elsewhere. I never felt afraid for Asgard, never felt the imminent Twilight of the Gods, while Hela was on-screen, since I was conditioned to expect a joke afterwards. What's the use of tension when everything is a punchline?

Still, if you're looking for a fun time at the movies, Thor: Ragnarok delivers even as an action-comedy. The visuals are dazzlingly colorful and lovingly Kirbyesque, the action is rampd up to amazing levels (you will definitely know the answer to the question "What were you the god of again?"), and to call this simply "funny" would be underselling it. Thor: Ragnarok is an explosive farewell to Thor as we knew him, and now I can't wait for the final phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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