I’ve been putting off my review of Thor: Ragnarok as I’ve been trying to decide what to think of it. Reading professional reviews and debating the flick in my head. Thor: Ragnarok is the third proper Thor film, the 17th Marvel flick, and I think the 7th time Chris Hemsworth has played the God of Thunder (or Lord of Thunder… whatevs!).
Thor and Loki confront Hela, the Goddess of Death who is intent on conquering their home world of Asgard. They are both exiled to a junk planet where Thor has to fight a supposedly surprise Hulk (thanks, very spoilery trailers) as they work out how to get back to Asgard and take it back.
Ii’s two very different movies mashed together with very little interest in its more serious story on Asgard. The movie really just wants to be a goofy lark on the planet of junk but it also feels the need to sparingly and off-handedly tell the struggle of the Asgardians surviving the tyranny of Hela. It’d have been better if it they hadn’t included the handful of “this is serious” scenes if they had no real interest in telling that part of the story. But they do.
A lot of reviews have expressed how much of a comedy the movie is but, really, it’s no more or less a comic lark as the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and some of the main Marvel flicks for that matter. Unfortunately, the light comic tone keeps conflicting with what should be very dire and serious-minded events. I mean, the movie is called Ragnarok… the Twilight of the Gods. Very serious things happen to the people and places of Asgard… things that are important to these characters and to the greater Marvel story as a whole. But, nah, this is a big goofy lark. Even those big events are treated off-handedly and with jokes that take the air out of the serious sail.
But, hey, it is pretty funny. I laughed often enough. Thor and Bruce Banner/Hulk are fun together and there’s a new character rock alien gladiator who speaks with a laconic New Zealand accent who is great. Loki works well, not quite a good guy, still an un-trustworthy trickster. Jeff Goldblum makes an appearance as the oddball Grandmaster and he’s totally peak Jeff Goldblum. So Jeff “I’m on in the joke of my own personality” Goldblum that he made me miss him not seeing him in movies lately.
Less comedic but very welcome are Tessa Thompson as new character Valkyrie and Cate Blanchett as the vamping-it-to-the-nines Hela. Both ladies are good but get fewer laughs, even if both are very much enjoying their screen time. And both are also emblematic of a certain majesty and painterly look the movie occasionally deploys. For as much as a goof as most of the movie is, it occasionally gives us some real artistic shots that are clearly meant to look awesome (and are).
Unfortunately, in the end, I just found the movie a reasonable lark but without any emotional heft, intellectual connection, or dramatic impact. Which, once again, makes a Marvel movie feel like a light-weight goof instead of something that means anything. I guess I can still recommend the movie if you are just looking for a goofy comic book movie that makes you laugh.