Thor: Ragnarok Review

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 superhero film directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows), starring Chris Hemsworth (Snow White and the Huntsman), Tom Hiddleston (Kong: Skull Island), Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers), Idris Elba (The Jungle Book), Jeff Goldblum (Mortdecai), Tessa Thompson (Creed), Karl Urban (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers), Mark Ruffalo (Collateral), and Anthony Hopkins (Titus).  Serving as the third installment in the Thor series, the film follows Thor who must escape the alien planet Sakaar in time to save Asgard from Hela and the impending Ragnarok.


Positives:

  • Great humor
  • Great performances
  • Tons of action
  • Terrific cast
  • Good story
  • Great special effects
  • Great dialogue
  • Great direction
  • Well-written script
  • Great score

Negatives:

  • Too much humor
  • Missed opportunity for certain subplots

Plot:  The story begins with Thor and Loki’s search for Odin, whom they find on Earth.  Shortly afterwards, Odin dies therefore releasing the Goddess of Death, Hela who attacks Thor and Loki, then heads to Asgard.  Thor and Loki then up on the world of Sakaar headed by the Grand Master, who instructs Thor that if he wants his freedom, he has to battle his champion who is revealed to be Hulk.  After his battle with Hulk, Thor is assisted by Loki, Bruce Banner, and Valkyrie in escaping Sakaar and returning to Asgard to face Hela and stop Ragnarok.  Not a bad story.  It’s face paced, never boring, and is pretty damn entertaining.  However, there are a few subplots that the film does glance over which could’ve provided more to make the film feel a little less rushed.  However, there is an interesting twist where Thor and Loki discover that Hela is their sister and that Asgard holds many secrets that has been hidden away.  The movie does have a really good opening sequence as well as an action packed ending. (4 out of 5)

Characters:  Loved the charactes.  Of course, the film revolves around Thor (Hemsworth) who has to contend with the Goddess of Death, Hela (Blanchett), who happens to be his sister.  Thor is just baddass and the film waste no time establishing this.  Loki is pretty cool and although he is still a douchebag he has his moments of development.  Bruce Banner/Hulk makes a return and he is just badass.  One of the new characters, Valkyrie, is a great addition to the cast.  She initially comes off as tough and cocky but she does have depth to her character especially when it comes to her loyalty to Asgard, as she was one of the famed Valkyries. But it’s Thor’s relationships with these characters that make the bulk of the film. The main antagonist is Hela, and for badass as she is, she’s one of those characters that she has understandable motivations and has a lot of personality (easily one of the best villains in the MCU).  The Grandmaster is the secondary antagonist and a fun character compared to Hela’s more serious attitude.  There’s also this Asgardian warrior named Skurge who’s a pretty good character.  He teams up with Hela but it’s nice to see that he’s bothered by his choice and their actions.  Heimdall is kicking ass and taking names, saving the citizens of Asgard. Also, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention Korg.  He’s undoubtedly one of the best addition to the cast.  He’s just so freakin funny.  (5 out of 5)

Cast:  Like all MCU movies, this one is well cast and the performances are topnotch.  Chris Hemsworth owns the role as Thor, the guy just does and he has great chemistry with Tom Hiddleston.  Hiddleston hits the mark as Loki.  Cate Blanchett is just great as Hela and it’s nice to see her portray such a great villain.  Great chemistry with Hemsworth and Hiddleston. Karl Urban and Jeff Goldblum are just hilarious.  Was definitely surprised by Tessa Thompson who does a fantastic job as Valkyrie and she’s just a beauty.  Loved Mark Rufallo and the banter between him and Hemsworth.  The cast also includes Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel House, and even Waititi himself as Korg and Surtur. (5 out of 5)

Visuals: Hands down one of the most artistic and colorful MCU movies.  The CGi was done exceptionally well. Beautiful wide shots of the landscape. The costume designs, makeup, and set designs are absolutely great.  Loved the Hela character design and the formation of her horns/helmet/crown thing.  The fights were intense, entertaining, and shot really well. Sakaar has this unique look where it looks like a junk planet.  Surtur looks pretty freaking awesome. Great use of special effects. (4 out of 5)

Score: Loved the soundtrack.  Mark Mothersbaugh does a fantastic job with the score.  In fact, this is one of the best soundtracks in the MCU. If you liked the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, chances are you’ll like this one too.  It was definitely fun and action packed.  “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin is just epic and well executed during the action scenes. (4 out of 5)

Writing:  Marvel films have always had humor but this movie is probably the funniest of the series.  The well-written dialogue, great execution by the actors, and good moments are what make the humor work.  Taika Waititi does take Thor in a totally different direction than its predecessors making for a dark but humorous experience.   Also, there is the focus on action which this film has a lot of. The Thor/Hulk fight is definitely the fight that we needed that should’ve been in the 2012 Avengers.  There is also a great emphasis on the characters and their screentime is balanced despite the film being about Thor.  There are some changes to the lore (Hela being Odin’s daughter instead of Loki’s, Thor being sent to Sakaar, etc.) but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing and does work for the story.  The two stories of Planet Hulk and Thor: Ragnarok is blended pretty well for the most part.  Like how they took inconsideration that Sakaar is a world that loves Hulk due to him winning the gladiator arena matches compared to Earth hating him.

But as good as the writing is, there are some problems in the script, mainly the introduction of Sakaar in the story and how it is handled.  I heard another movie reviewer say that during Thor’s time on Sakaar that the gladiator portion felt rushed.  That there should’ve been like a Tournament montage of Thor winning his way up to fighting Hulk rather than facing him off the bat.  And I gotta admit I agree.  It would’ve been great to see Thor taking on all of these different characters before building up to the Hulk.  Even with rebelling of Sakaar, we don’t see it.  At all.  Also, Hulk kind of doesn’t get the full spotlight like he deserves.  One example is his fight with Fenrir.  There is very little shown of the fight outside of about three or four bits and the last bit is Fenrir falling off the edge of Asgard.  Hulk should’ve had a little more screentime but sense the movie isn’t just about him and Thor, there’s also Loki and Valkyrie this can be somewhat overlooked.  It would’ve been nice to see a bit of back and forth between Hela and Odin. (3 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Thor: Ragnarok is the best Thor movie and one of the best movies of 2017.  There is some problems with the script concerning the blend of the Thor: Ragnarok and Planet Hulk storylines as well as a little too much humor.  However, the movie excels at everything else.  The casting and performances are awesome, characters great, badass antagonist, awesome soundtrack, awesome action sequences, great direction, tons of humor, and great dialogue.  Thor: Ragnarok gets 4 out of 5.

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