Review – Thor: Ragnarok
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Written by: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Release Date: October 24th 2017 (UK)
Last night, I re-watched Thor: Ragnarok for review to see how well it holds up a few years on from its release. While there is still a very fun movie to be enjoyed here, it is far from perfect. I wonder if the filmmakers were so paranoid about not churning out another formulaic, checklist of a Marvel movie after the snooze-fest that was the Dark World, that they just chucked a whole bunch of disparate ideas into this mixing pot of a film and hoped that some of it would work.
To some extent they were right; some of it does work, but some of it really doesn’t. The stuff that doesn’t work would probably work okay in a separate movie, but here it just provides a lack of cohesion and brings a jolting change of tone to many of the film’s scenes. The abrupt tonal shift that takes place whenever we change environments is one of my biggest issues when going back to re-watch the film.
Some plot elements also feel rushed in the film, which means that less emotional impact is felt overall by the audience at the climax of each plot thread. The plot elements of Ragnarok could have been split across a few movies and it would mean that certain characters wouldn’t have been wasted and that the big events that take place would have had more weight and gravitas to them, instead of just being brushed off in favour of getting to the next punch-line.
For example, Odin dies in this film and Thor and Loki deal with it and move on in a matter of seconds. There are no emotional repercussions felt whatsoever. Another example of this is the Warriors Three appearing in a single scene, having no dialogue and then being killed in a matter of seconds of being onscreen. Additionally, a character arc is attempted with Skurge, but again Karl Urban is onscreen for such a small amount of time that no resolution is felt following his sacrifice at the end of the movie.
As soon as Cate Blanchett starts to show some potential as a memorable Marvel villain, the movie cuts away to yet another scene of Hulk and Thor bantering on Sakaar. The fact that Hela spends the whole movie in Asgard and Thor and Loki spend most of the movie on Sakaar, means that the main threat in the film always feels very distant and disconnected.
Idris Elba is wasted here too, having barely any dialogue and a very dull subplot. Jeff Goldblum is used purely as a gimmick and again is wasted by not having anywhere near enough screen time. I normally like seeing Tessa Thompson in things, but even she phones it in here.
Then, at the end of the movie, it is like the filmmakers suddenly remembered, ‘oh that’s right we need to conclude that Ragnarok subplot that we started at the beginning of the movie.’ You know the goddamn title of the movie? And so Surtur destroying Asgard gets tacked on at the end to sort of bring a conclusion to all of the other multiple subplots and lazily wrap up the movie.
The sheer amount of ideas that they attempted to incorporate here, causes a number of elements of the movie’s plot to feel underdeveloped and although most of these separate parts could have worked if they were split up and fleshed out, here they all just end up falling flat by the end of the movie making the film feel anti-climatic as a whole.
Don’t get me wrong, there is also a lot here that works too. I thought the cameos from Matt Damon, Luke Hemsworth and Sam Neill was awesome. I liked the Doctor Strange appearance. I like how they had Thor lose his eye and I especially like how they managed to keep that out of all of the trailers and marketing. The trailers did ruin some things though, if we didn’t already know that Mjolnir was going to get destroyed through seeing the trailers, it would have had more of an impact and all the talk about the vicious rival that Thor would have to face in the gladiator ring would have been way more effective if we didn’t already know that it was going to be the Hulk.
Let’s end things on a high note, the visuals were spectacular and this movie is worth going to see in theatres just for this alone. The CGI was incredible and the soundtrack was pretty great too. Overall this is still a very fun movie, even if it is a little bit all over the place.