Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017) (Thor-Some?)

(SPOILER-FREE)

“I know what you’re thinking: how did this happen?”

Thor: Ragnarok is the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film to get a shedload of critical acclaim. I’ve seen it advertised on Twitter as the “best reviewed Marvel film yet.” Of course, whenever something receives high critical acclaim, my Spider-sense tingles. It’s true, Thor: Ragnarok is enjoyable. You’ll laugh yourself silly. But I felt a little nonplussed when the credits started to roll. The third Thor film has little in common with its predecessors. The tonal shift is jarring, the characters involved are used mainly for laughs, and the story seems to have been written on the fly…

Thor: Ragnarok feels, looks and sounds like a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy rather than a sequel to Thor: The Dark World. We see planets with all the colour and sci-fi technology that a GOTG sequel would include. The soundtrack, including Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song,’ may as well have been stripped out of GOTG. Thor himself has changed from a serious God (which is where most of his humour originated) to someone who takes nothing seriously…like Starlord (or Tony Stark…). His self-depreciating humour feels very strange considering his character in the past. Why this radical change of heart? Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk, Thor’s Avenger companion for this romp, also suffers from the same personality change. I found it hard to believe I was watching a Thor film at times, instead thinking I was watching a Saturday Night Live skit.

This isn’t the Thor we’ve known in the past…he’s even had a hair cut!

“I have dire plans for destiny”

I’d tell you the basic plot of Thor: Ragnarok, but it’s not important to the director or the writers. It shouldn’t be important to you, either. Thor’s sister, Hela, returns to take over Asgard and rule the Seven Kingdoms/universe. That’s about as spoiler-light as I can be. Hela, played by Cate Blanchett, is a revelation as an MCU supervillain. She has just enough screen time and exudes malice and evil. She immediately plunges herself into the upper realms of MCU villians. So, there’s ample threat on the horizon in the form of Hela, but unfortunately the film cares little about threat and menace. Yes, there are the obligatory action scenes (some of which are framed suspiciously like a Zack Snyder action scene…). But, as is typical of an MCU film, these action scenes are merely background to jokes. GOTG vol. 2 forced humour into every minute of screen time, but Thor: Ragnarok throws a joke at you every second (or so it seems).

Everything in Thor: Ragnarok plays second fiddle to the comedy. The first Thor film was a Shakespearian tragedy in comic book form. Let’s not talk about the second Thor film. But giving a Shakespearian edge to Thor felt natural. Forcing him into the comedy zone feels out of place. Plenty of substantial events occur in Thor: Ragnarok, but they are all deflated by a joke before you’ve even processed what’s happened. Why do something that has ramifications across the MCU if you are playing it for laughs? Let’s take time to digest it, even time to get a little emotional about it. Don’t hurl a joke in my face straight after it happens!

I hope this wasn’t the last we see of Hela. She deserves a bigger role as a villian in the MCU!

“I’ve been falling…for thirty minutes!”  

Fortunately, if you take Thor: Ragnarok at face value i.e. a series of skits that use the characters we know (and love?) any way the joke needs, then Thor: Ragnarok will make your sides split with laughter. As a comedy, it works wonders. GOTG vol.2, for example, put comedy above all else, but more often than not the comedy felt forced. The Guardians acted as if their arcs from the original had never happened. Most of it just wasn’t funny. Thor: Ragnarok, however, had me shaking with laughter frequently. Even when the laughs were forced, I still appreciated the effort behind it. Undoubtedly, it’s the funniest MCU film yet.

But that does not make it the best MCU film yet. I’m a big fan of the original Thor film, with its Shakespearian overtones. Thor: Ragnarok tries its best to ignore all that went before. It presents a series of well-shot, beautiful looking skits that have a storyline tagged along. A great villain in the form of Hela is lost among the laughs, as is everything else. It’s incredibly hard to judge Thor: Ragnarok. As a comedy, it’s second to none. It’s the most I’ve laughed in a cinema this year. But this wasn’t the Thor I knew and loved. This was an imposter Thor, a clumsy and self-depreciating Thor who’s only used for laughs. However, I enjoyed it more than the other two MCU films released this year…so go figure!

VERDICT: 6/10. Thor: Ragnarok wants you to forget the Thor that the first two Thor films presented. It wants you to forget everything except how to laugh. Because you will laugh a lot during this film. But that’s about all you’ll do.

What did you think of Thor: Ragnoark (2017)? Leave your thoughts below!

Click here for my review of Thor (2011)

Click here for my list of MCU film reviews!

28 thoughts on “Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017) (Thor-Some?)

  1. Sarah Hargett November 6, 2017 / 7:00 pm

    Great, great review, I couldn’t agree more! I don’t wanna knock anyone who loved this movie and didn’t have any issues with it, but I’m glad to see more and more that I’m not alone in being disappointed with the characters changes and complete lack of gravitas! Much prefer the Shakespearean original.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hammy Reviews November 6, 2017 / 7:03 pm

      The two people I went with loved the film. Yes, it may have been funny, but at the cost of story, character, pathos, gravitas, etc…Felt like a betrayal of the Thor we know!

      Like

  2. Maxle2000 November 6, 2017 / 7:21 pm

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who was bothered by this sudden shift in gears. 🙂 I think the last time a sequel went for straight-up comedy despite its predecessors taking themselves somewhat seriously was… Lord help me, “Superman III”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews November 6, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      Fortunately, I have never seen Superman III! It stares at me from my DVD shelf…but I refuse to meet its glare!
      Bring back the Thor we have followed since 2011!

      Like

      • peggyatthemovies November 7, 2017 / 10:39 pm

        Of course.. it was actually really refreshing to see someone have a different outlook besides the same ol’ same ol’ ya know.. I mean I liked the movie..and I can tell you did also.. but you really made me think and brought up some honest reasoning behind what you thought. I just liked it I think because it was what I call – mindless entertainment – which means it just entertained me without having to make me think so much..and sometimes I just enjoy that too. I think everyone does from time to time. so thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hammy Reviews November 8, 2017 / 7:55 am

          No worries! I often like mindless entertainment, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood for it!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. rAdishhorse November 7, 2017 / 2:21 am

    Why so serious?
    Now seriously, I understand you prefer a different movie. I’m of the opposite opinion regarding these Thor movies. I thought Hemsworth was so unconvincing with Branagh’s Shakespearean tragedy and seems more fit for comedy (Hiddleston of course can do both). Which is why I enjoyed Thor 2 and Thor 3—even more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hammy Reviews November 7, 2017 / 9:40 am

      I don’t think I was ready for the complete change of tone for Thor

      Like

  4. thatgeekywriterchick November 8, 2017 / 1:44 am

    I have to disagree, although, I can understand where you are coming from. I loved Thor Ragnarok’s sense of humour, and I also didn’t feel it ignored the plot. I feel that the humour is more at the expense of the plot in Age of Ultron and the Guardians movies. For me, Thor has always had a humorous side. He’s a character who has a somewhat inflated sense of his own importance and intellect, and a lot of this movie’s humour comes from playing with what he expects to happen against what actually happens, which I feel works really well.

    It could also be that I don’t want to see more of the same from Marvel. I’m sick of serious situations with superheroes that happen to have funny lines in them, and I’m sick of the same Marvel formula. I loved Thor Ragnarok because it was a breath of fresh air, something really different (although this is the part where I have to acknowledge that as an Australian, I was definitely part of Taika Waititi’s target market). Having said that, I acknowledge that the Marvel formula has worked well for sixteen previous films and that breaking that formula could have been a misstep. We shall see.

    Thank you for being open to people disagreeing with you and for putting your opinion out there. Talking through differing opinions on film is one of my favourite things about it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews November 8, 2017 / 7:55 am

      My fiancee had exactly the same feelings as you. She loved it!
      To me, it just felt like a GOTG sequel without the Guardians and a lot more humour added. True, it was very funny, but left me feeling like something was missing. But a second viewing will tell me how I trily felt about it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reggie's Take November 8, 2017 / 10:20 am

    I loved Raknarok. I’ve read where some feel the humor in this movie felt forced, but I didn’t feel that way while watching it. I also never felt they ignored any of Thor’s past. Even if Marvel intentionally turned Thor into a comedy I don’t feel it hurt the movie in anyway. Do I want to see Thor as a comedic relief every time I see him on screen as they move forward? No, but for Raknarok I feel it worked.

    The post was a good read even if I didn’t agree with everything you said.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews November 8, 2017 / 11:15 am

      Thank you! Maybe the change of tone was too jarring. I thought it was hilarious, but not really a Thor film!

      Like

  6. My Comic Universe November 22, 2017 / 2:37 am

    Sometimes the humor took you out of the movie a little. For example in the beginning when Thor is hanging by chains spinning around.
    But overall I really liked this movie. It was a lot better than the last Thor movie and having the Hulk in it really helped

    Liked by 1 person

  7. amateuranarchistblog December 3, 2017 / 12:16 am

    A Youtube commenter summed up this film with “It’s more like ‘Chris Hemsworth: Ragnarok’ than ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, I think”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. tomla10 January 2, 2018 / 6:34 pm

    I agree with you as you say it isn’t your favourite of the marvel films but it was probably my favourite of the Thor films. The comedic approach made it quite different which made it so funny to me. But I see what you mean as we see a new side of Thor which is quite different and, frankly, strange! Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews January 2, 2018 / 6:37 pm

      Cheers! I love the first Thor, but the second is awful. Ragnorak is better than the second, and it was quite funny!

      Liked by 1 person

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