Hello everybody! I'm back and ready to do another late-night Review of a movie that I went to see not too long ago. Full disclosure, I want to tell everybody that SPOILERS be ahead, so if you don't want to have any surprises ruined for you about the film, stop RIGHT here. If you want to see the movie, ignore this review and go see it, come back to see my Review afterwards if you wish. If you want to see my opinion, then YOU'VE BEEN WARNED! Additionally, if you want to skip all my rambling (I won't blame any that do) just read my Tl;DR summary below. If not, please read away!
Prologue - The Set-Up
Alright, I'm sure a lot of you fans of Thor, both myth and comics (along with miscellaneous material like the cartoons or games) Asgard is a realm where they are rife with Norwegian mythological perils. Whether its the Frost Giants, the Goblins or other creatures (ordinarily roused by gods or beings like Loki and the Enchantress [The latter whom I'm upset I haven't seen yet]) are all trying to destroy Asgard, but its armies and the heroic band of Warrior 3 and the Warrior Goddess Sif. A perfect example of a Ragnarok done right is the one hour double feature of Hulk vs Thor (teamed up with also Hulk vs Wolverine; both are fun romps and interesting explorations of how Thor and Wolverine's relationships with Hulk is).
In the MCU, the bombshell for Thor was in the apparent 'failure' of Scarlet Witch's illusion cast on the son of Odin in Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, instead of being afflicted with mind control or whatnot, he sees his people in duress and that his friend, Heimdall, tries to warn him of the imminent danger. In order to gain better clarity, Thor briefly abandons the crew in the film and gets help from Jane Foster's father who guides him to a mystic pool where he gains a clearer clairvoyance of coming events of both Infinity War and Ragnarok, most of which insinuating the Infinity Stone that serves as Vision's energy core was tied to future fates' of all. At the end of the film, he says he has to deal with said visions and help avert the coming danger to his people.
The next we see of Thor is in the End Credits scene of Doctor Strange, where a humorous exchange entails that Strange is holding Loki prisoner and Thor needs him to find Odin (more on this scene later). And what the scene detailed it seemed Strange was going to help Thor and thus we get a cool team-up promised to us in Thor: Ragnarok comes out.
Trailer drops and I'm immediately dubious by the rumors circulating, but still holding out hope. Hella's involvement made me believe that she killed him (Goddess of the Asgardian Afterlife, after all) and that he'd have to find a way to be brought back to life, and reforge his hammer and/or stop whatever plan she has. I avoided as many spoilers as possible so I could digest the film on my own terms and not be swayed by the marketing team.
I watch it, and I like it...at first...but this quickly leads me to believing this is probably going to be the MOST forgettable film of the MCU's history of films.
Act I - A Rushed Beginning
Let's break it down. Thor is telling his story of how he got to the realm of fire and ash, called (reads Wiki article) Muspelheim. You THINK the film is going to do a flashback with Thor's narration dictating you how it happens, then (slowly or quickly) showing you how he got 'here'. However, it turns out he just gave a pretty lackadaisical summary for the events that led him from Age of Ultron to a cage in a volcano(?) underground cavern to a skeleton. This is funny, but the humor doesn't stop here. Dropping down, wrapped in chains, he's suspended in front of Surtur, a thought to be dead fire demon who Odin had bested long ago and has been waiting to get his revenge. But amidst the intimidating spectacle of a being embroiled and living of fire (imagine if the Balrog had no wings and talked in an authoritative booming voice, that's what he kind of looks like to me). But unfortunately, a thrice done joke shows how little he cares for him. It was funny the first time, a little funny the second, and a bit tiring at the third. So, cue a very off putting song of him fighting the legions of Surtur as he pretty much swagger-jacks his hammer around as if its a ceiling fan in their faces. Then a very underwhelming fight with Surtur later and he carries his 'crown'/head after NOT beating a dragon but RUNNING AWAY FROM IT.
Missed opportunity to recreate one of Thor's most infamous feats of beating a beast of phenomenal proportions but instead is killed by the Bifrost gate opened by...Durge(?). Apparently, while Thor's away he replaced Heimdall cause, low and behold, he saw through Loki's disguise and rebelled but instead of being arrested he pulled a The Fugitive and went on the run from Asgard. This, plus another pointlessly padded out humorous scene, gives Thor enough credence to reveal Loki's disguise as Odin (a plot point heavily emphasized as menacing, cool and a nice move for Loki; undone, thanks to the Director of Green Lantern). Then, they head to a demolished old people's home (lol?) and Doctor Strange detours them to his place, overuses a teleportation joke on a disoriented Thor and then sends them both away to Norway cause Odin was there...powerless Odin was in Norway...somehow...
Yep. That was our Doctor Strange involvement. No team-up, no long battle where he helps Thor fight the Main Villain, nope. Just a glorified GPS and transport. Wasn't that funny?!
Then, after some vague speech about not being able to "hold back her any longer" Odin dies. Yep. Straight up turns into gold dust via Kung Fu Panda style and leaves us and the brothers so taken aback my brother in the theater thought Loki was about to break the 4th Wall with his facial reaction of "Really? Is that it?"
Oh it gets better! Then, when you think we can bask in this moment of just utter stupidity of so many plot elements just being hand-waved so easily, out comes a green portal...from somewhere (never established WHERE and HOW Odin kept her there) to reveal Hella. A not 10-20 foot tall Hella who is fairly unattractive thanks to the heavy mascara and gaudy costume design (especially her horns; she looked like a deer with those antlers) who is NOT the daughter of Loki but the BIG STRONGER SISTER of Thor. Yeah, lovely retcon. Glad to see more misandry shoved pointlessly into MCU (oho, but she isn't the worst by far, we're going to see HER in a bit later). So, because Thor is rightfully angry from his father dying, decides to chuck Mjölnir at her face; to which she SOMEHOW (never clarifies how, just that she CAN) breaks it despite her power revolving around materializing edgy blades.
They try to flee to Asgard (much to Thor's chagrin) and she kicks them out of transit while she gets there. And this is the best part of the Act One! You know how you all wanted to see MORE of the Warrior Three and Sif? Well guess what? Two of the Warrior Three dies in five seconds! Yep! Just wham-bam, no fanfare or anything. Big-Bad just kills them without batting an eye, leaving the "Executioner" to be one of the sole survivors. Another one of them combined with a Non-Scifi weaponized army (seriously, where did your cool space-age weapons from Dark World go, movie?). And Sif just doesn't show up, not even mentioned once (Thor doesn't even think about his fallen colleagues or the fact that they MAY be dead). Oh, and Jane Foster, the girl he fought tooth and nail to save in the previous two movies, broke up on "mutual terms" while taking a selfie *spasms due to hatred of SJW adoration of selfies*.
And this was Act One. It was just...can you see how rushed and nonsensical it is? They just go through one scene after the other without any real care of what happened before it. The jokes were all that mattered, and the scenes were just mere props for them. By the time we're introduced to the villain, we cast aside the heroes conveniently in transit (instead of being beaten proper) so they can be conveniently in the next area so she can just be evil and take down a horde of red shirts to show how 'strong' she is.
Everything about the humor felt forced, much like the Green Lantern movie that this director is known for. Act 2 is marginally better, but not by much.
Act 2 - The B*tch, the Bastard, and the Bloke
Sakaar. It was the world where a tyrant ruled with an iron fist and strength was the only thing valued on this desolated planet. Hulk, sent into space by the Avengers due to how dangerous he was, accidentally derails it thanks to him breaking free of restraints and making the vessel crash land there. He makes new friends, saves the world from the overlord and becomes its king. He even has a kickass wife and a child-...oh wait, that doesn't happen here. How did Hulk get here again?
One bad video footage of it makes his departure from Ultron to HERE no sense, so your guess how he got to an alien planet is as good as mine (especially when it was mentioned that Thor crashed the vessel in the ocean...I believe, you may correct me if that isn't the retcon for this convenient ploy). So yeah, we see him later, but for now, our hero Thor is marooned on a garbage pit planet and this is one of the only good things about the film though it feels like a genuine distraction from the real plot. Thor NEEDS to get back to Asgard but is assailed by a bunch of scavengers who want to cannibalize him (yeah, they called him food, they were going to eat him) and he gets overpowered (because a hammerless Thor is incapable of beating a bunch of two-bit aliens with little pee-shooters). Then we meet the Mary Sue of the story...Valkyrie.
I. Hate. Her. SO MUCH! I cannot emphasize how much disdain I have for this butch, bi-lesbian tool. Not that her sexual preference EVER plays a role in this stupid trashy entrance of hers. She takes down ALL of the cannibal scavengers with a giant pair of cannons and then incapacitates Thor and acts completely b*tchy about it. Then he's taken to the Grandmaster (played humorously by Jeff Goldblum) who is one of the silver linings to the film with his awkward acting style and funny mannerisms that aren't overplayed like the rest of the humor (of which is noticeably more crass, adult-themed and immature, with even mentions of orgies in a theater supposedly meant to target FAMILIES; wtf Disney/Marvel?!). When he's made a gladiator, he has a brief scene with Loki (while Executioner has a brief irrelevant scene with Hella about her needing an Eternal Flame to help her plans instead of, you know, using her powers as a Goddess of Death; but I guess that means she just kills people and creates stabby things, not actually be a ruler of the afterlife/hell).
Thor vs Hulk was fun. It wasn't amazing (like Hulkbuster Ironman vs Hulk was) and it wasn't bad, it was just...serviceable. That's pretty sad given how much hype this fight was given. And when Thor unlocks Super Sai-waitno-Super Thor(?!) mode, he's given electric-punch powers (much like Raiden from Mortal Kombat) but incapacitates him via cheat-tool from the Grandmaster and an ambiguous shot makes it seem one or the other wins. Hulk has a lot of dialogue for Hulk, it almost makes him seem like an Orc at times. I didn't mind it that much, but I can see why this annoyed some people who watched it with me. It's just...odd for a movie character whose barely spoken more than a few syllables can make a coherent conversation with someone.
But of course, that leads us to the necessity of including Valkyrie; acting like she's super special because she can beat up Thor, Loki and pin-down Hulk in a play fight makes her "special" and that there was never a badass female warrior in the MCU before, let alone the Thor Movies...except, you know, SIF! Or Scarlet Witch, or Black Widow. I get what they're trying to do, make Valkyrie into the 'Wonder Woman' of the MCU cause they don't have a definitive powerhouse other than Scarlet Witch that can deliver as much as the other heavy hitters. But why did they make her so damn unlikable? What, she lost comrades in a war and that entitles her to be bitchy the whole time while drinking (which she never acted in a way that convinced me she was an alcoholic) her sorrows away? Cry me a river, Thor should be wallowing in despair from all of his friends dying back home and you had yours dead AGES ago. Get over yourself and do your job instead of just hiding on a junkyard planet!
To move along, after Thor frees himself from captivity, Hulk tries to stop him from escaping but a video of Black Widow's speech to him (recorded from the events of Age of Ultron) and he reverts back to Bruce Banner. His acting was great fun and gave us a bit more insight to his character. Other than that, a bit more crass humor and more fanfare for Valkyrie (eugh!) and Thor helping them all escape so they can get back to Asgard. But not before Thor tricks the trickster (this movie's Loki is really underwhelming, btw, compared to his Dark World counterpart. Barely a scene where he's portrayed with dignity.)
Act 3 - The Finale...that was the Finale?
Well, Thor, Banner and Valkyrie get to Asgard and it starts off promising. Thor gets a hold of Odin's trademark weapon, Gungnir and begins to bang it against the throne floor loud enough to be heard by Hella. It was damn cool and it gave me chills. However, instead of using the weapon to take Odin's powers for himself or using it to bring out Super!Thor back, he gets disarmed and then loses an eye (again, in a very disbelieving way cause all she can do is acrobatic twirls and fling blades around). While her undead minions and pet wolf try to stop the Asgardian refugees (ha! topical!) from leaving, Hulk (too humorously again) stops the wolf and Valkyrie with Loki's help (oh and some other pointless aliens who were characters in Planet Hulk) fight the undead. Executioner makes a funny Doom reference later on, but dies just as casually as the Warrior Three. And despite a well done scene of Thor willfully using Super!Thor's powers, it does nothing to the OP villain who just doesn't die. Instead, we use what should've been the defeated villain's head/crown to power boost him using the campfire of eternal whatever and he becomes HUGE.
There is a funny scene where Hulk tries to fight Surtur but Thor tells him NO and Hulk walks off dejectedly. But Surtur, despite being stabbed, kills Hella with one blow along with destroying the whole of Asgard (again, not without a joke being told). So one-eyed Thor (needs his hair back, btw) and Loki mend their brotherhood while leading Asgard as king of the refugees and other aliens; though not before they're taken hostage in the after-credit sequence by presumably Thanos.
And...that was it. Not really world ending or a real Ragnarok, is it?
Summary - Tl;dr, this movie's "Progressive themes" hide its flaws poorly
I've noticed quite a few critics laud this film highly, with a (slightly diminishing, but still strong) Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% as of now and 8.2/10 on IMDb. What we have here is a ton of inconsistencies made by having a director whose attachment to the now Thor Trilogy is very light, and attachment to any comic book films is less than stellar (see Green Lantern film for why). One of the things that has always set apart Thor movies from the others was how it melded Scifi and magic into a seamless union so it was more relatable to the scientific tech audience but also pleased fans of the old magic origins. But when continuity is screwed up thanks to retcons, deep characters are either turned into boringly predictable stereotypes to fascinate laughs or create needless drama so that the "new" characters can shine, it becomes incredibly bland and leaves a recipe that'll make this movie a forgettable picture.
But given most of the notably high ratings posted on sites by Newspapers/sites and Leftist Activists, it's quite clear some of the only reasons that this was given the promo was that the humor was incredibly PC Friendly (despite the aforementioned Adult Themed humor that is incredibly inappropriate for children in a supposed Family Marketed Movie) if the butch Valkyrie and boring one-note main villain was any indicator was that it promoted more 'strong women' into the fore in an artificially unbelievable way. It's definitely a Feel-Good, pleasing those in it for the short-laugh and romp. There's no real stakes in this film for main characters, just faceless nobodies and the only named side characters are not mentioned or treated as afterthoughts. Loki's role is greatly reduced to comedy and even Hemsworth's Thor was treated as a conduit of jokes far more than he was as the authoritative, brazen god of thunder.
Taiki Waititi may have done better under Disney/Pixar supervision with Moana last year, but he isn't cut-out (in my opinion) as a MCU film director given how poorly handled Thor Ragnarok was. I'm going to be a bit guarded about upcoming Marvel films from this point on, and perhaps Infinity War will be mishandled. Will it be good? Well I know Taiki won't be directing, so that's a relief. I just hope he never touches a Marvel film again; we can only hope, after all.