Thor: Ragnarok (2017): Guardians of Asgard

Before we begin my review for “Thor: Ragnarok,” I’d like to just take a moment and remind you that this upcoming weekend, I’ll be at Rhode Island Comic Con! Rhode Island Comic Con is a three day event which begins Friday, November 10, and ends Sunday, November 12. There will be tons of artists, vendors, panels, and oh yeah, they serve alcohol! So if that’s something that interests you, check that out! Celebrity guests typically have appeared in movies and TV shows ranging from “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Boondock Saints,” “The Walking Dead,” “Power Rangers,” “Luke Cage,” and “Stranger Things.” In fact, since we’re on the topic of “Thor: Ragnarok,” Mark Ruffalo is actually showing up! If you are showing up to this event, don’t hesitate to say hi to me if you see me, which is probably gonna be hard considering the crowds this event can get. I will be there all three days so I’m sorry for stealing your ticket, but luckily there are tickets still available, and you can also buy special packages for individual or group celebrities, including a section that has little to do with the con itself, which is access to a Gene Simmons concert. Keep in mind, some of these don’t include admission tickets to the con. I’m going in as a patron, not as a guest, so if you see me walking around, I hope we can talk! Speaking of nerd things, let’s talk about “Thor: Ragnarok.”

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“Thor: Ragnarok” is directed by Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows) and stars Chris Hemsworth (Rush, Ghostbusters), Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager, Kong: Skull Island), Cate Blanchett (Lord of the Rings, How to Train Your Dragon 2), Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, The Dark Tower), Jeff Goldblum (Independence Day, Jurassic Park), Tessa Thompson (Creed, Dear White People), Karl Urban (Dredd, The Bourne Supremacy), Mark Ruffalo (Now You See Me, Spotlight), and Anthony Hopkins (Beowulf, Hannibal). This movie revolves around Thor, who happens to be imprisoned. He soon finds himself in a gladiator battle, which is basically borrowed from the Planet Hulk storyline in the comics for “The Incredible Hulk.” Also, Thor must annihilate the evil Hela, the Goddess of Death, who set out to destroy Thor’s home and Asgardian civilization.

Going into this movie, my expectations weren’t all that high. I will admit, as time went on, they actually kind of increased. I say this because I watched the first trailer for this movie, the one that came out before “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” officially released in theaters. I just watched the trailer thinking that this will be alright for a Marvel movie, but it had too much of a “Guardians of the Galaxy” vibe, considering the fact that Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant” was playing in the background as Asgard is being destroyed. “Immigrant” is a good song, in fact it’s also pretty catchy, but it just doesn’t work. Plus the whole fight between Thor and Hulk, or technically, the buildup to it, is basically played out like a comedy. Granted, Marvel has used comedy in its past movies and it worked. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” has done a great job at balancing comedy and seriousness throughout the entire film. However when it comes to “Thor,” it always seems to have a less than pleasant storyline or tone, and by less than pleasant I mean dark. The first movie made it work, and there was comedy interjected there too which happened to work. Just watch the movie while it presents its version of the fish out of water cliche. Then we get to the second movie… Just, kill me. There were only one or two things I found funny in that film and after watching it recently, I almost hated my life. Then we get to the second trailer, which was pretty cool in ways. The song choice was slightly better, although the tone felt like it was meshed together properly, but it ultimately made me more interested in the movie. However to be fair I was gonna see this no matter how interested or disinterested I was, because this is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I gotta keep up with the timeline.

Another thing to consider towards my lack of expectations is the fact that Marvel has been declining in terms of likability with their recent releases. Both “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” were not as good as I wanted them to be. They were good, but at the same time they were just movies that I particularly wouldn’t watch many times again. “Thor: Ragnarok,” ultimately, kind of belongs in the same category. It’s by no means a bad movie, but not as good as it could be. Let’s take it from the top.

First off, we have the vibe. This movie starts out in a way that’s kind of comedic, although at the same time it makes you wonder what’s about to come next. Then we get some light comedy throughout the picture, there was nothing really that stood out about it, it’s your typical comedy that you see in Marvel movies nowadays. Nothing really hit me. And that’s the thing, this movie, in terms of humor, is divided. At times, it’s hilarious, at other times, it just made me remain in silence. I will say though, this movie is actually funnier than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Not the first movie, but the second one. The first movie is a kneeslapper to the tenth degree, the second one was somewhat underwhelming. On the topic of “Guardians” and vibes, the whole vibe of the movie, just like the first trailer, reminded me of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which to some people might be fine and dandy. For me, not so much. If you have seen “Guardians of the Galaxy,” you’d know that it’s a lot different compared to other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s a lot more cartoon-like, a lot funkier, a lot lighter. OK, well, you can technically say the MCU as a whole is light, but “Guardians” definitely takes the cake as the MCU’s lightest film. This entire film we have here, is about the destruction of Asgard, and it’s all done by a being who’s referred to as the Goddess of Death, AKA Hela. I wanted this movie to be darker, I wanted it to be serious. Maybe it could interject tads of humor here and there, but nothing even close to the amount of humor given to us here. I may be biased, but this the seventeenth film in the MCU, not to mention the eleventh distributed by Walt Disney Studios, or as I like to call them, “GIVE US YOUR MONEY TO MAKE REPETITIVE CONTENT! Studios,” I would love it if we could see a really dark and gritty MCU film. Not like “Batman v. Superman,” it would have better characterization and casting put into it. “Captain America: Civil War” came really close, and I’ll have you know that it’s one of my favorite films of 2016, but what would put the cherry on the sundae is if someone from the Avengers died in the film. This as a whole just takes elements from the past “Thor” films, interjects part of the concept of “Captain America: Civil War,” and provides the mood of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It just doesn’t feel original. Some might even say that there’s one reason specifically that this is like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and before I actually tell you that reason, let me just say, it made the movie remind me of “Pixels.”

Before “Pixels” came out in theaters, one trailer was released and the music behind it happened to be Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” which was eventually used in the movie, not once, but twice. The first time was during the introduction when the kids are in the arcade playing “Donkey Kong” and the second time was throughout the climax when the adults are actually inside the game “Donkey Kong.” This movie isn’t beat for beat on all of those things. However, you may recall I mentioned a trailer that played Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” That song is in this movie as well, which I will say this movie gets some credit for unlike “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which had Sweet’s “Fox on the Run” in a trailer, but it never made it into the movie. This is a great and catchy song but just like “Pixels,” the song is played at the beginning of the movie, and at the end of the movie. Reminder, by the end of the movie I don’t mean during the credits. I’d be fine if the song were used once, but twice? Given what this movie has to offer, it just kind of didn’t fit. It’s not like “Inception” where a song literally had a purpose throughout the film. Remember how in that movie, they had a song to signify whenever there was a kick? Yeah, it was Edith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” which is French for “No Regrets.” I’ve never been a big fan of the MCU’s music as a whole, because it all sounds rather forgettable or generic, but I want some variety here!

I just want to say, to those of you who say that this movie is actually different compared to the other MCU films, you’re wrong. I will tell you something that is different though, and that’s Thor’s hair. During the movie it actually gets cut off and I got to say, going into this film, I’ve seen it cut off on posters, and it just simply reminded me of Channing Tatum’s character from “Jupiter Ascending.” Thor is shown to be the same charismatic dude we’ve come to know over the movies we’ve seen him in during the MCU thus far. He brings out a charm that’s extremely admirable, and he seems to be unbelievably joyous, and this is surprisingly also executed during the Planet Hulk fight scene. As far as Thor’s new look goes, I was a little skeptical at first, but in the end, I do think that it’s a good look for him.

Thor’s brother, Loki, also makes a return here. Loki has always been an interesting character to me. As far as this universe is concerned, sometimes he’s the antagonist, other times he’s a protagonist. Here, he’s helping out Thor on his mission, and at other times, the two are separated and doing their own thing. By that I mean, Thor’s doing his own thing and Loki is just watching. Loki also has one of the funniest parts of the movie, which involves a character whose name I won’t mention.

This movie is also the return of the strong monster-like Avenger and Jolly Green Giant impersonator, the Hulk. His last appearance in the MCU where he got some significant screentime was in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Neither Thor or the Hulk were in “Captain America: Civil War,” so there’s a good chance they don’t even know the whole controversy which arose in that movie. It’s nice to see the Hulk here, and his character, appeared to be a bit different than how I’ve seen him in previous movies in this particular universe, which I kind of liked. Seeing Hulk and Thor talk throughout the movie, kind of reminded me of George and Lennie from “Of Mice and Men” because of how one character’s language is structured compared to the other.

Speaking of the Hulk and Thor, the two had a fight, as mentioned recently. While heroes have fought each other before, I have to say this fight was pretty awesome. This fight, in terms of action, engaged me more than the fight in “Batman v. Superman.” I personally felt there was more at stake in that movie, but in reality, in terms of action, this fight was better. I will say though, the whole “friend from work” thing, was kind of cringeworthy. Still, the fight’s awesome!

Another character I want to bring up is the character of Hela, the movie’s main antagonist. As much as the Marvel movies have not been as good as usual, the villains have been becoming increasingly more likable. Another interesting thing about this villain, this is the first of the MCU’s main antagonists to be a woman. She’s played by Cate Blanchett, who you may know as Galadriel from the “Lord of the Rings” movies. In terms of mannerisms, Blanchett’s interpretation of Hela made her look like a cliche villain. Although at the same time, she was a very powerful being and the movie makes this case very convincing. The one thing that she did to drag down the movie more than anything else though is that she was very expositional at times, which helped you understand the history of Asgard, but at the same time, it just felt like a random monologue that could have been done in a lair but it was just done somewhere else. It’s the same thing, only different.

One of the movie’s biggest standouts for not just myself, but I imagine a lot of other people, is Jeff Goldblum’s character known as the Grandmaster. He’s basically this one dude who looks incredibly wacky, sounds incredibly wacky, and if there ever happened to be a commercial for makeup directed towards men, he would probably be  spokesperson presented in the ad. I have to give kudos to whoever did the makeup on Jeff Goldblum, it looked stellar!

One last plus I’ll give before I deliver my final verdict to you all, I noticed this in the trailer, but some of the shots in this movie are some of the best I’ve seen in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are various shots that probably looked great on a storyboard, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. The movie has shots that almost look like they were copied exactly from a comic book, which I admire wholeheartedly since this is a comic book movie after all. I will say there’s one scene that in terms of colors, could have been graded better. Let’s just say it takes place on grass. This may be a personal thing, but I still feel I should unleash this thought.

In the end, “Thor: Ragnarok” is a very weird movie to judge. I had fun with it, but fun isn’t really the word I want to be using in a circumstance like this. I get it, it’s Marvel, it’s Disney, it’s a similar formula we’ve witnessed in past movies carried over to this one, but it really should have been darker. I will say these movies do feel consistent, and in a way, that’s a good thing, but at times, you need to know what kind of stories you’re putting into certain movies. When you have a character referred to as “the Goddess of Death” in your movie, it’s kind of odd to fill the entire runtime with jokes. I don’t know how well “Justice League” will turn out, but I think ultimately, DC is gonna end up biting Marvel in the balls just because of how I gave all the DC films I’ve seen this year perfect scores and I’ve yet to do that with Marvel. Reminder, I’ve still yet to see “Logan.” I’m gonna give “Thor: Ragnarok” a 7/10. I will say though, if you’re gonna go see this movie, just prepare yourself for the “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” reference. I won’t go into detail, but it was freaking hysterical! Speaking of movies, there’s a line in the film that mentions the title “Point Break.” I won’t go into detail there either. But in all seriousness, next year better be good for Marvel. After seeing the trailers, nothing looks all that amazing about “Black Panther,” “Ant Man and the Wasp” is something I’m excited for though, but my biggest request is to make “Avengers: Infinity War” a slightly serious movie at the very least. Thanks for reading this review, I hope to see you all at Rhode Island Comic Con this upcoming weekend! Just go, you’ll be glad you did, and you’ll thank me later. Also, if you feel you are worthy enough to read these, I’ll have my previous “Thor” reviews listed down below if you want to check them out. I’d say please do so, I think you’ll enjoy them. Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, out of the three “Thor” installments we’ve gotten thus far, which one’s your favorite? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THOR” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/thor-2011-you-wont-need-to-be-hammered-to-watch-this-spoilers-for-the-marvel-cinematic-universe-movies/

“THOR: THE DARK WORLD” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/30/thor-the-dark-world-2013-why-is-kat-dennings-in-this-movie-spoilers/

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