Before tonight’s Enter The Realm, I thought I’d throw out some thoughts on Thor: Ragnarok. I’m sure they’ll discuss it in its entirety on the show (assuming the Jackal Squad all got around to watching it), but I figure I’d throw some thoughts out there for anyone wondering if they should go see it. This will be spoiler free and I don’t plan on revealing anything that wasn’t obvious from the trailers. If you purposefully stayed away from those, you may want to check out here. Actually, check out after you take a look at this Lego poster for Thor 3. It’s awesome!
Anyway, we’ll start with the bottom line. Should you see it? Yes, yes you should. I REALLY enjoyed the film. It’s a lot of fun and the visuals are stunning. Are there things that will be hated by “true” Thor fans or Hulk fans? Most certainly. They didn’t bother me at all, but I’ll try and detail some of them below.
First thing: The tone. As is often discussed on Nerd Rage Radio (and sometimes on ETR as well), there is a fear that the MCU films are getting too jokey. As Bobby Skullface would say, “Too many lulz.” Adam Russman was actually worried that after the success of the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies, Marvel Studios would automatically assume that we need more Chris Pratt-style jokes. Well, they were right. This movie is packed full of jokes. Did I mind it? Not one bit. In all honesty, the Thor movies were probably my least favorite of the MCU flicks. It’s not that I didn’t like them (something has to be at the bottom), but as a character, Thor has always been a bit bland to me (I was never a fan of his comics either). I enjoyed this shift in tone. It’s no longer about the warrior/god existing amongst humans. In fact, the tone shifts significantly from a Fantasy genre film to almost a Buddy Cop film (certainly once Hulk gets involved).
Lots of jokes at the expense of Tony Stark and Loki (as should be expected at this point), but there were many others as well. If you already thought the MCU films had too many jokes, this will certainly disappoint, but as I observed my theater, the jokes were very well received by those less jaded and by the normies.
Location. The first 2 films were on Earth. That grounded the Thor films in a way that was needed, certainly when introducing the god of thunder to a crowd that didn’t know him already. Having Kat Dennings’ character question all of Thor’s strange actions is a great way to answer the audience’s questions. Thor: Ragnarok is not on Earth. It takes place on Asgard or on Sakaar. Both worlds are fantastic and (for lack of a better term) out-of-this-world. Doing this frees Thor up to be Thor. You no longer have to try and explain Thor’s magic through the lens of earth-based science. Now it can just be magic. Thor can just be a badass fighter and a great warrior.
Visuals: Even if you don’t like the way this movie is sounding, you will still be enamored by the visuals. Yes, there are some parts that are obviously CGI (Cate Blanchett can’t actually generate knives out of thin air), but for the most part, things are at the level expected with the MCU. The world is bright and vibrant and the fight scenes are epic. There is a VERY 80’s sci-fi/fantasy vibe with the visuals, but given the soundtrack and the subject matter, it’s appropriate. It definitely adds to the fun (I pray that the Ready Player One movie can capture the 80’s feel like this movie did).
The Cast: This is probably where this movie shines the most. All of the major players do a great job in their roles. If you’ve seen ANY other review of Thor 3 (or even just read the headlines), you know that the star player is Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie.
She’s featured in a good majority of the film and she does very well with her material. She portrays a complex badass well!
Cate Blanchett is great as Hela.
I mean, look at her! You can tell that she really enjoyed playing Hela. She’s a multi-Oscar award winner, so you know she can play Subtle very well. She doesn’t have to do that here. She gets to be broad and crazy and you can really tell she’s having a blast.
Tom Hiddleston is as good as always with his portrayal of Loki.
By now we expect a certain level of excellence from him in this role. We get it here, though he’s the brunt of a lot of the jokes. It’s hard to take the trickster god seriously when he’s so often the brunt of the joke, but the movie doesn’t really focus as much on him this time. On a separate note, is it weird that when I see Tom Hiddleston with his normal hair, it looks wrong? He’s so engrained in my head as Loki that when he doesn’t have the long, black hair, it seems off.
Idris Elba is his normal badass self as Heimdall.
He has a meatier role this time around (I’m sure this is due to the fact that he’s just so awesome). A true badass all around.
Karl Urban is fine as Skurge, but he’s probably the most “throwaway” of the cast.
I feel that he probably had a more complex (and ultimately more satisfying) role in the movie, but his good stuff got cut out for time. If the MCU ever did a Director’s Cut, he’d probably feature more heavily. As it stands, he’s…fine. I fully admit, I may be overly disappointed in this due to my love of Karl Urban in general.
The biggest question mark was Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster.
Was he going to bring something interesting to the role, or would he just be Jeff Goldblum? Well, he was very Goldblum-y. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. The good thing is that the writers definitely took that into account. They used his quirks to the advantage of the story and his…neuroticisms played well to the character.
Mark Ruffalo plays Bruce Banner well as always and Sir Anthony Hopkins does a good job as Odin. They aren’t in the movie very much, so it’s tough to really critique their characters. Just know that Anthony Hopkins has a “Sir” before his name for a reason, and Mark Ruffalo gets to be jokey for the first time in a while (again, having this movie set somewhere besides Earth allows for the character to cut loose a bit).
So we get back to my bottom line. Should you see this movie? Yes, I would probably give it a high 8/10. I’ll give it an 8.5 for simplicity’s sake. Is it going to be for everyone? Probably not. I believe Jisk wants his MCU movies to be more serious like the DC films. He probably won’t like all of the jokes here. It’s a safe bet that Adam Russman and Bobby Skullface will not like this solely because of the jokes (Joe KW will probably like it). Will it do well? Absolutely. This will be the best performing Thor movie without question. Should you watch it? If you’re a fan of the source material, I have no idea if this is accurate, so your mileage will vary. If you like the MCU iteration of Thor and you like the progression his character has made, you will definitely like this. If you’re a casual MCU fan, you’ll like this. If you just want to have some fun at the theater, you’ll like it. If any of those sound like you, go see it.
Or as Chuck C so succinctly put it:
Like Lego? Be sure to check out the Building Up To It podcast on the Bricks On The Dollar youtube channel!