I didn’t get around to seeing Thor: Ragnarok in theaters, but I was looking forward to seeing it, so I’m glad to be able to watch and review the movie now in time for its home video release. The previous Thor films didn’t really appeal to me, so I never bothered to watch them, despite being a fan of Avengers and the overall Marvel brand. Thor: Ragnarok, though, looks and feels very different from the previous Thor films, with sharp comedy and striking, candy colored visuals. If you’ve seen any of the marketing for the film, you probably know that the Incredible Hulk is a major supporting character this time around, and I’d venture to say that his presence in the film is what drew a lot of people like me to see the movie.
From the very first scene, it’s clear that Thor: Ragnarok is, narratively, a mess. The setup is rushed and random, and the introduction of Hela (Cate Blanchett) checks off just about every movie villain trope you could think of. She becomes very powerful very quickly, and although I appreciate the character’s badassery and Cate Blanchett’s performance, Hela is just too thinly written to give us any sense of real danger. The film has another antagonist in the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), a fun character who gives off some serious Wizard of Oz vibes (which is always a good thing).
I’ve never cared much for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in the Avengers movies, but he’s much more likeable here. Chris Hemsworth was surprisingly funny in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters, and he proves again in Thor: Ragnarok that he can do comedy really well. Hulk or Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is great, too, and I think giving him a substantial role in the film was definitely the right move. Hulk looks more realistic every time he’s on screen, and there are moments in Thor: Ragnarok where it’s so believable that you forget he’s CGI and not a real, living actor. I expected to love Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), but she doesn’t add much to the film nor is her character particularly likeable, which is unfortunate because Tessa Thompson is really good in Creed. Oh, and I can’t talk about the characters in the film without giving a shoutout to the hilarious Korg (Taika Watiti), who has some of the best comedic moments in the film.
I don’t know exactly how the idea to make Thor: Ragnarok a comedy came about, but based on the outcome, I imagine it went something like this. A script for a third Thor movie came across the desk of Kevin Feige, the Lord and Savior of Marvel Studios. He read through it and found that it was boring and chock full of predictable storytelling and poorly resolved plot holes. He put the script down and sighed. There’s no way a third Thor movie could compare to the boffo box office of something like Guardians of the Galaxy. He thought about it for a moment, then grabbed a red pen and scribbled his notes on the front of the screenplay: “Add Hulk. Maybe Doctor Strange. Make it funny.”
Thor: Ragnarok obviously isn’t the first Marvel film to be “funny,” and I’m not saying the comedy doesn’t land. It is, for the most part, a funny and entertaining film. It’s fine. But it ranks pretty low among all the other Marvel films I’ve seen because it feels so poorly thrown together on a story level. It’s not a bad movie overall, but I honestly can’t say it’s a very good one either. I guess I hold Marvel to a pretty high standard, and this film just doesn’t meet it.
As for bonus features, the 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray release of Thor: Ragnarok has a decent amount of content, but none of it is as insightful or as interesting as it could be. Most of the featurettes are basically short fluff pieces and don’t really involve the viewer in the filmmaking as much as I’d like. There are some deleted scenes and an audio commentary with Taika Watiti, so maybe that would fulfill a film buff’s desire for more insightful bonus content.
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