After spending the past month and a half listening to “Shia LeBeouf” at 75% speed, it was time to go see a new movie.
I’ll spare you the delayed introduction vaguely suggesting I’m reviewing Justice League considering you’ve already read the title of this post.
The journey of the movies in the Thor series is on has been interesting. Each new movie either introduces new goofy characters, increases the goofiness of an existing character, removes serious characters, or all three (repeatedly).
We’ve now reached the point where a new Thor movie must rely on the antagonist to provide the majority of the seriousness. And thank goodness Ragnarok had two antagonists, because one of them was Jeff Goldblum.
Obviously, Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t have a monopoly on the funny (nor should it), but it is a bit distracting given that the Thor series has hemorrhaged most of their non-superhero cast. With no real grounding influence, the dire seriousness of Ragnarok’s stakes gets a bit lost in the levity. Granted, it’s a fun time, but it fits very poorly with the mass amounts of death, including that of named characters (who deserved better).
So, consequences be damned, you have little choice but to enjoy it as a superpowered romp though weird places with weird people.
But you also get a proper throwdown between Thor and Hulk, which is easily the best fight in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it lasts a good, long and satisfying while. Don’t get me wrong, the Hela fights are nice and she’s got some smooth technique, but you can tell everybody was aching to bring their A+ game to
Any Marvel movie not primarily based on Earth is difficult to do without a ton of CG, the exterior shots on the garbage planet Sakaar were so overdone it became difficult to discern anything you were looking at. It also had an odd blockiness that reminded me of the visual aesthetic of The Lego Movie. Asgard looks as fantastic as it ever did. The otherworldly costumes are appealingly striking with just the right amount of comic-bookiness to them.
While I really, really want a good solo Hulk movie, Ragnarok isn’t helping dissuade me from the notion that the angry green giant works best when there’s another hero to work off of. It sounds bad on paper, but the strongest Avenger might have to be a permanent second fiddle. For me, the jury’s still out on Hawkeye and Black Widow, but there’s quite a bit more data to work with for the Hulk given that he’s already had two shots at a solo movie.
I was hoping that the nature of the MCU would make use of Golbum’s Grandmaster’s connections with Ego and The Collector from the Guardians movies, but that was left by the wayside. Given how little information the movie passes you about Grandmaster’s backstory, most viewers wouldn’t know he wasn’t a mere mortal. But with so much else going on the universe and with so many characters yet to even appear, this opportunity will probably remain missed.
Verdict: Go for it (4/5). You probably won’t think too much about the rough spots when you’re actually watching it. I didn’t.