Thor: Ragnarok – Franchise Friday

*WARNING* This article does not contain major spoilers, but does discuss plot points, details, and possible minor spoilers. If that is not cool with you, watch the film and come back. Reader discretion is advised.

Thor: Ragnarok was directed by Taika Waititi and stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, and Tessa Thompson. It is the third movie in the Thor franchise and serves as the penultimate film before the events of Avengers: Infinity War.

Before I get very far into the article, I want to clarify that Thor has always been my least favorite character in the Avengers gang, well at least until this movie (and by the end of Infinity War, he would actually end up being one of my favorites).
I haven’t enjoyed a Thor movie until Thor: Ragnarok, but even that isn’t entirely true. Upon first viewing, the film didn’t really sit well with me, and I never knew why, so that’s why I decided to give it a rewatch. After watching it again, I am lost as to why I didn’t like it back in November, because this film is a freakin’ blast.

By that, I mean Ragnarok is an excellent flick to slide into a Blu-Ray player, and throw it up on a big TV with some friends, while you devour some popcorn. The film fits right along with the rest of the MCU lineup in the humor department. Every few minutes, a joke comes along that surpasses the last. Despite repeatedly breaking tension by cracking a joke, this film actually does it well by remaining tonally consitent, unlike a certain Star Wars film.

The action scenes were a solid example of style over substance, but still enjoyable. They were mindless entertainment to show the strength of our heroes (and villain). The music tied in very nice with the fight scenes as well, especially in the final battle. The soundtrack for this film is strong, but not Guardians of the Galaxy level of strong. 

While on the topic of the villain, Hela was a solid villain, especially when you consider the weaker villains we’ve grown accustomed to. Cate Blanchett brought an excellent performance to the strong, dangerous antagonist, and you can tell that she brings a real threat to the characters of the film. While she is portrayed as a real threat, the character wasn’t well developed by the script and, ultimately, Hela will go on to serve as yet another villain forgotten by the MCU machine.

In the end, Thor’s character would go through some evolution, but this would be brought about with Odin, keeping with Marvel’s recent theme of sins of the father. The portrayal of Thor in this movie is much less pretentious and more inviting. Essentially, he’s less of an a-hole.

The whole storyline of Bruce Banner is this film is weird (to me anyway). I don’t understand why it is that he was stuck in the Hulk form for so long, as it wasn’t really explained too well. I don’t really care for the “taking the piss out of” approach to humor when it’s done too often, and especially when it’s aimed at someone like Banner who is supposed to be a genius. I guess that’s more of a flaw with the MCU version of Banner as a whole, not just in Ragnarok. That being said, Banner was often the source of some really great action, as well as humor, which made up for any character short-comings to me.

While speaking of the humor in Ragnarok, I want to say that this movie is hilarious and one of the best times you’ll ever have in a Marvel movie. Some characters, like Korg, steal the show, while other pre-existing characters get a more comedic spin to them, despite being more serious characters, typically (Hulk and Thor are both great examples of this). I think this tone makes Thor: Ragnarok a good film to introduce new people to the franchise.

I spoke earlier of the entertainment aspect of the actions sequences of the film, and while they are fun to watch, they lack a sense of tension, though this is not uncommon in the MCU, it’s very evident in this film, as characters (both good and bad) plow through mindless droves of enemies without batting an eye. This doesn’t take away from the comedy aspect, but hits hard at the action tone we are used to seeing. While I can’t say that makes Ragnarok a bad movie, I can say that it could rub a viewer the wrong way, depending upon what you’re planning to watch.

At the end of the day, Thor: Ragnarok is a solid film that makes a welcoming mark on the MCU. It seeks to broaden the horizons of this universe, and it does so well. There is something here for every type of fan, whether casual or a hardcore Marvel fanboy. With some well put together graphics, an okay story about Thor once again overcoming his family struggles, and Loki being as amazing as ever, Ragnarok is definitely worth a watch (and probably a rewatch, if you haven’t).

MTFBWYA,

James

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