When I was thinking of ways to start out this review I kept feeling like I was going to potentially upset some people. I don’t always follow what everyone thinks, I don’t always agree with the critics, and I especially don’t always agree with my friends when it comes to film. I never go into any review expecting people to share my opinion, in fact, I have quite the opposite feeling. So with that, I would hope you’d venture into this review of Thor: Ragnarok with an open mind and come at from a different perspective. I won’t share any spoilers of the plot and will do my best to be extremely vague with this film. Nevertheless, let’s dive in.
I feel like we are in a day and age where people want to have these real life-like, dramatic character-driven stories when it comes to comic book movies (CBM). I don’t have a problem with it as a lot of the CBMs released within the past few years have been quite entertaining but I think we’re missing something that Thor: Ragnarok is trying to tell us. Comic books are weird and absurd things happen all the time within them. We’ve been trying to be “over-serious” with CBMs for quite some time now with varying degrees of success and with Thor: Ragnarok I think we’ve been given the first intelligent, action-comedy CBM.
The film’s pacing is hectic but I never found it to be over-bearing. To quote what a friend of mine said, “It’s like a better Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” And I think I’d have to absolutely agree with that statement as the timing for all of the jokes and puns is impeccable and better than what we saw in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I had never seen a film by director Taika Waititi or even heard of him before this film but he has sold me as being a master of the comedy genre. This is such a fun movie with a great flow of humor. Yes, jokes and puns are all throughout the film but they felt fresh and natural. To me, it made all of these characters so much more relatable because of how much I value humor in my own daily life. This is what I mean about looking at this film from a different perspective. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but as long as you don’t go into the film expecting everyone to take everything serious then I think you’ll have a good time. I also don’t think you have to check your brain in at the door either. Just go in and enjoy the ride. I’ll be completely honest that it’s really hard for me to be extremely critical of this film because of how much fun I had.
I know a lot of people will be concerned that the characters aren’t taking the subject matter as serious as they think they should but there’s a component to these films that we’ve been missing for quite some time. These are COMIC BOOK movies that have characters that are out of our own world. To expect these characters to respond to events in the same way we would, as humans, is a bit too much because at the end of the day Thor, Loki, Hulk (not Bruce Banner), and others, aren’t human and the things they see on a daily basis are a bit more fantastic in nature. I think there’s a reason why when we see Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films that are on Earth the characters are more serious and Marvel has tried to let there be more consequence in everyone’s actions. It’s a bit more personal because it’s Earth which is where we humans call home. In space, which is where Guardians of the Galaxy’s and Thor’s films take place, things are a bit more chaotic, harsh, strange, weird, and the characters we meet are quite alright with that. This is where you need to have an open mind because I know the humor will be too much for some people but try not to compare it to the Captain America: Civil Wars or the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justices in the world. Thor: Ragnarok wanted to walk to the beat of its own drum, much like Guardians of the Galaxy did, and director Taika Waititi made it work. (Credit goes to my girlfriend for having such a fantastic discussion about all of this after we saw Thor: Ragnarok.)
I think it’s quite obvious that I enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok immensely. The fight scenes were great, the characters all had crazy good chemistry with one another (Thor and Hulk were incredible), and the story actually had a good, if overused at this point, meaning to it. Most of my issues were the film are mostly nitpicks. I thought the CGI in a handful of places was distracting. It seems this year has been a strange one for CGI fight scenes as every one of them seem to have unfinished CGI and rubbery looking characters. Also, some of the locations were very noticeably green screen rooms. I know the reason why it was done but it still felt cheap and it took me out of the movie for a bit. A few of the more heartfelt scenes in the film could have been expanded on but with the hectic pace of the film I could understand why they had to move on. The film doesn’t feel like an over two-hour event. While I enjoyed each character’s performance, everyone felt so loose like they were having a great time on set, there is one character I feel like was severely under-utilized, three who deserved more than they got, and one who was just blatantly missing for a reason that is never mentioned. Obviously, I won’t say who these characters are but I think you’ll notice this throughout the film. There are also a few cameos in the film that are great.
To quickly touch on the music, this is probably one of the most iconic MCU scores to date. The synths used gave me a Stranger Things vibe but I feel like it suited the aesthetic of the film really well. Mark Mothersbaugh did really well and I’m actually really glad they got the frontman of Devo to score the film. The usage of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song was done tastefully. There’s another familiar song used within the film but it’s used hilariously and I want you to experience that on your own.
Thor: Ragnarok may be a bit of a “culture shock” to some as the comedy in the film is on another planet when compared to the rest of the MCU but I think this will go down as one of the best, most unique MCU films in its history. It’s easily the most quotable MCU film. I hope that everyone that goes and sees it enjoys it because I do believe this type of film deserves to be celebrated. This is absolutely one of my favorite films of the year so far.