From the Beginning
Since Disney took over the Marvel cinematic universe they have been popping out Marvel movies almost faster than we can keep track of. The latest addition is Thor Ragnarok, which gets us up to date on what Thor was busying himself with while everyone else was battling it out in Captain America: Civil War last year. We once again find ourselves heading back to Thor’s homeworld in relation to some “prophecy yet to be fulfilled.” You know, the same general idea that basically all the Thor movies have followed.
In an otherwise very familiar feeling film, Thor Ragnarok takes us on an adventure we haven’t yet experienced within the Marvel cinematic universe. As usual, those familiar with the original Marvel comics are sure to understand more of the obscure references, but this shouldn’t ruin the movie for the rest of us. This review may contain very minor spoilers, but it shouldn’t be anything you wouldn’t have been able to gather from the trailers.
Trouble in Paradise… Again
The Thor movies all seem to follow a similar format. The homeworld of Asgard is threatened by some powerful otherworldly being and, against what prophecy states (and, I dare say, against their better judgment) Thor, Loki and whatever band of misfits they can scrounge together set off to challenge said power and save the day. Frankly, I’m not sure why they didn’t just decide to relocate what with all the madness Asgard seems to go through on a regular basis. Anyway, this time they are challenged by Thor’s own long-lost sister, Hela. Oh, and she also happens to be the Goddess of Death itself.
As you may have gathered from the trailers, Ragnarok certainly takes the metaphorical scenic route in prepping the heroes to save the day. In a rather unexpected turn of events, Thor and Loki end up lost in a mostly uncharted region of the galaxy. Here, they meet some very eccentric characters and have to tackle some even-more eccentric trials. In case you prefer the comfort of living underneath your rock and haven’t seen any of the trailers, it is also here that Thor runs into a certain ‘friend’ on some pretty interesting terms. If you have seen the trailers you will know what I am referring to. And yes, the reunion was just as exhilarating as you might imagine.
They eventually get back on track and make their way back to Asgard, but certainly not empty-handed. They bring with them plenty of people they met along the way. The transition from location to location often seemed a bit abrupt, but there was enough momentum from the action sequences and character conflict to keep these transitions from being distracting. Rather than uncomfortable breaks in the story, they felt more like transitions between different stories with the same characters. A nice unexpected and somewhat dark ending (at least by Disney standards) helped make this movie one of the better Marvel films I have seen in recent years.
The Ragnarok Experience
It is no surprise that Thor Ragnarok was impressive both visually and in its ability to tell a good story. Aside from the few black sheep in Disney‘s cinematic history, neither of these are things they have ever struggled to accomplish. I did find, however, as is common among these kinds of movies, that it generally tended to treat things a little too light-heartedly. This may be good news for parents wanting to take their kids, but there are certain aspects of characters and their stories that you just don’t get while trying to keep everything PG.
The Marvel movies are also well known for their strategic placement of comedic content to relieve some tension and get a good laugh. Ragnarok is definitely no exception. I found myself chuckling on more than one occasion, but I must admit that I did find the humor to be a bit overdone. There were plenty of well-timed jokes, but there were an equal amount of quips that felt forced and unnecessary. It got to the point that the Asgardians (Thor included), who were supposed to be some of the most powerful and respected beings in the universe, were being portrayed as buffoons. If nothing else it seemed out of character.
Luckily, humor was not the movie’s biggest appeal. There were more than enough action-packed fight scenes, stunning special effects, and giant wolves tearing through hordes of the undead to keep anyone and their dog entertained. Thor Ragnarok is easily the best Thor-based film so far, and certainly not one that will be soon forgotten.
Even at its lowest points, I found myself enjoying every minute of the film. Aside from a few awkwardly-timed or cringey jokes, it was a very well-crafted and enjoyable adventure. It did little to evoke any kind of strong emotion, but it made up for it with some pretty kick-ass fights starring your friendly neighborhood God of Thunder. Overall I would consider this one of the best Marvel films yet; a definite win.