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‘Ragnarok’s’ shockingly mediocre release

“Thor: Ragnarok,” directed by Taika Waititi, is the seventeenth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the third film in the Thor series. The main stars, as per usual, are Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and Cate Blanchett as Hela, the film also features Idris Elba, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum and Anthony Hopkins.
The film centers around the Thor’s attempt to prevent the destruction of Asgard, the ancient Nordic Kingdom where he and his family originate. This movie is so massive in scale and has so many sprawling story lines that it is difficult to know where to begin reviewing this behemoth.
Let’s begin with the tone of the film. While this is a Marvel movie, it is perhaps the first Marvel attempt that can be officially classified as a comedy. In a previous Thor movie, this may have been welcomed. However, the contrasting attitude throughout the film made some of the humor tastefully forced.
To commend the writers and the director, some of the other jokes were actually really funny. But the dark atmosphere of “Ragnarok” caused the constant jokes to feel both forced and out of place. From the beginning to the end, the visual images are of sorrow and darkness. This is heavily contrasted by the constant jokes spewed forth by the characters. It’s unlikely that this will cause any confusion for the audience, but it gives the impression that the Marvel films are running out of steam, and this is their attempt to prevent people from realizing this.
Cate Blanchett’s character, Hela, is the incarnation of death and darkness, not the type of character to inspire jokes, which made the comedy of “Ragnarok” misplaced. However, the second act of the film was ripe with comedy and felt appropriate and natural. Jeff Goldblum’s character and the Hulk were constant sources of humor, which is Goldblum’s schtick.
The comedic nature of “Thor: Ragnarok” will likely appeal to a general audience members; however, hardcore comic book fans of the Marvel series might be slightly annoyed by the absurd amount of humor throughout the film. It makes you wonder if the film struggles to decide if it should be taken seriously or in jest. It’s as if Luke Skywalker, when battling Darth Vader, suddenly stops to give the film a series of jazz hands. In the least, viewers desire more consistency.
The strongest elements of the film were its plot and amazing incorporation of Marvel comic book storylines, such as “World War Hulk.” The weakest characters of the film were Valkyrie and Hela, because they came off as one dimensional and bland. Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, is a former Asgardian, now in self-exile after losing a fight to Hela thousands of years prior to the story. She is a rare example of a character who was portrayed by a good actress and had great chemistry with the other actors, however, in a film with so many newly introduced characters, Valkyrie unfortunately feels forced and irrelevant. Her presence could easily have been absorbed by any number of previously established characters, as well as left more screen time for Hela, who had the potential of being one of the most interesting Marvel villains in the cinematic universe.
Hela, played by Cate Blanchett, was the goddess of Death and truly the most powerful and intimidating villain the Avengers have faced up to this point in the franchise. Cate Blanchett did an amazingly horrifying job at portraying Hela, however, her screen time was limited. She also often appeared out of the blue with very little setup. Her entrance on-screen was terrifying, which provided anticipatory excitement to see what else she would do in the rest of the film.
She had a big entrance in the beginning, but her role was diminished until the very end of the film, and aside from killing some Asgardians, there was no reason for us to hate her as a villain. The writers did not spend nearly enough time developing her character, and the audience was left disappointed that her presence was so limited. And therein lies the trouble with “Ragnarok,” the fact that the director tried making the film all in one, a regular plethora of the kitchen sink, and therefore, a stirred-up mess of confusion.
In the end, “Thor: Ragnarok” is a departure from most Marvel movies. It’s a comedy first and comic book movie second, and this is the basis for their grand error in filmmaking. If you go into the movie theater understanding this, you’re less likely to be disappointed or as annoyed than if you were anticipating a darker comic book tale. It was fast-paced and exciting, yet, at the end, unsatisfying.
The film failed to fully deliver the good Thor movie we should expect. Ultimately, “Thor: Ragnarok” receives three out of five stars. That being said, if you follow the Marvel cinematic universe, this is a must-see movie, otherwise, you are without the complete series. You will need to see this movie in order to prepare for the next MCU movie “Avengers: Infinity War.”

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