Thor: Ragnarok

5.6 Overall Score
Performances: 5/10
Production: 9/10
Writing: 3/10

Some of your favorite actors...

doing a skit about superheroes.

 

Thor: Ragnarok
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett
Disney Entertainment/Marvel Studios
2017

Thor: Ragnarok is a severe mid-air malfunction of a movie that threatens to throw the MCU into a nosedive. Because they made it a comedy, it was a tragedy to watch. They made it…a comedy. It’s funny from start to finish. It’s jokes all the way through. The writers should both be fired.

Thor, the Odinson, the God of Thunder, the heir of Asgard, isn’t funny. He is a Wagnerian character, a Jungian archetype, the Warrior Prince. And so he has been through Thor, Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: The Age of Ultron.

But now he’s a doofus dudebro who gets slapped around by just about everyone he meets, and falls down a lot, undermining his character concept to the point of collapse. When a god fights the Incredible Hulk, it should be titans battling like an earthquake, not be a sitcom.

But making that into a sitcom isn’t enough for Thor: Ragnarok. It also turns Loki, who not so long ago nearly subjugated the Earth, into a pratfalling straight-man who can’t seem to tie his own shoes. Bruce Banner is now a kvetching neurotic, not one of the most formidable intellects of his generation. The Incredible Hulk is a joke about stupid instead of a vivid metaphor for the dangers of uncontrolled anger. Hulk is so angry all the time that he’s going to make a mess of his room, man!

The film even features an absolutely unnecessary cameo by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Steven Strange, who takes time off from being Sorcerer Supreme to add more length to a film that was already two hours by spinning the sons of Odin in funny circles. For a couple of gods, Thor and Loki seem to be quite at the mercy of just about everyone. Including Stan Lee the barber.

The Guardians of the Galaxy is a cancer metastasizing through the MCU. That film was a surprise hit; that film was a comedy. Now all the Marvel films must be comedies. Doctor Strange had rather a lot of jokes. Spiderman: Homecoming leaned on that even harder, but it fit with Peter Parker’s overbrimming teenage energy. Now a movie about the prophesied destruction of Asgard and the cataclysm that befalls its people steals most of its plot from The Hangover II.

Speaking of the plot, 40% of it is a detour to a planet we have never seen before, ruled by Goldblum the Merciless Part-Time EDM DJ, who conveniently has the power to keep Thor and the Hulk as pets. He’s not scary and he’s barely funny, but his whole subplot is one of the most spectacular wastes of screen time in memory.

Eventually, the Odinson gets back to rescuing Asgard from Hela, the Goddess of Death, which is Cate Blanchette looking gorgeous in one epically stupid hat as she chews the scenery to pieces as the most boring villain in the MCU. What does she do? She slaughters and conquers. Why does she do it? She likes it. How does she do it? She’s just really good at throwing those spikes she conjures out of nothing. Blofeld, Vader, Smith she is not. Keaton’s Vulture was three times more interesting.

The death-spiral of any franchise begins when installments become jokes about the franchise. That is what’s happening here. They took a film about the twilight of the gods and they filled it with one-liners and beer-chugging jokes. The fact that Ragnarok made so much money is where the engines caught fire. I it will only encourage Marvel to make all their movies into farces. The future is Iron Man peeing in the armor, Captain America slipping on banana peels, decadence, and irrelevancy.

 

 

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Brian Downes
Author: Brian Downes View all posts by
Brian Downes is a writer who lives in Orlando, Florida. His novel, The Berlin Fraternity, about a man who hunts vampires for the Third Reich, is available on the Kindle and through Amazon.com. He enjoys pen and paper roleplaying games and geek culture. He clearly remembers waiting for The Empire Strikes Back to hit theaters, and vindicate his opinion that of course Vader was not Luke's father. You can't trust Vader's word!

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