The Watchers Issue #17 Thor: Ragnarok Review
Hello ladies and gents,
Cade here, and I just finished watching "Thor: Ragnarok." I know Ken usually does our Watcher Reviews, but I had to come in and give my review on this film. Together, we are going to go through the good, the bad, and the comics. Here we go!
I'll get this out of the way right off the top: this was far and away my favourite Thor movie. The film finally gave Thor a personality, it was fun, it shook up Thor as a character and his entire universe. The film actually had stakes to it, and Thor goes through a real character arc. I loved the film, and this section is going to me gushing about it.
This movie is funny. The humor in the third Asgardian MCU film takes obvious inspiration from the success of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" film, with pop culture references, funny quips, and "fish-out-of-water" humour similar to that of Draax. While it may get a little over the top at times, it somehow still fits. The character is a ridiculous character, and to make him relevant, you need to get a little silly with it. Marvel has been slowly adding this to his character since the second Avengers movie, with the web videos of him and his roommate on Earth. They do a great job of setting the tone right from his opening monologue. It's is a fun movie with a lot of humour, and I genuinely enjoyed every second of this movie.
The film is also well written. Valkerie as a character is a badass female character, Hela is a compelling villain, and Thor goes through an awesome change throughout the film. Thor as a character in the MCU has been stale since his first appearance, changing very little since then. In Ragnarok, Thor is shaken right at the start, then through the rest of the movie discovers new things about his powers, his family, the history of Asgard, and the nature of his people. I feel like Thor went through more of a change in this one movie than he did in the last 4 movies he appeared in.
The fight scenes are badass in this movie, especially the one between Thor and Hulk. Considering Thor has always been a ridiculously overpowered character, seeing him go against someone that can stand toe-to-toe with him was awesome. The choreography is well done, and every strike carries weight.
The end of this film leaves you with obvious changes to the MCU. Thor's role in Asgard changes, and Asgard's role in the universe totally change, and are left somewhat in limbo. Hulk and Thor are set up to return for the final Avengers films, and discover something that will bring serious threats to everything we know in the MCU. This movie carried weight, had real stakes, and changed the status quo in the MCU. This movie actually mattered, which is not something you can say about every MCU movie.
Now, I loved this movie, but it was not perfect. I watched this with my wife, who is not a big comic person, so she was able to give me some cool outside perspectives on the movie. Some of these complaints are mine as a comic guy, but some of them are hers as a generic audience member.
First, this film has several totally useless characters. Skurge, the Executioner, was meant to be a character that we cared about and followed through his desire to be recognized and his redemption later. Didn't get any of that. Karl Urban's performance was okay, but that entire subplot was not compelling and I forgot about it between his short scenes. Korg and the other gladiators were funny, but served no purpose as characters. As much as I got some laughs out of them, the movie would not have suffered from them not being there. Also, Odin was weird in this movie. If you've seen it, you know what I'm saying.
The film felt a little long. For someone who is not a fan of the ridiculous humour of the film, my wife found that the movie could have been about a half-hour shorter. They spent a lot of time focusing on the gladiator planet, which in the grand scheme of things, didn't matter after finding Hulk.
One of my biggest gripes with this movie is one I have had with Thor in the MCU as of late. Loki is no longer a villain. He really isn't. We keep seeing what was once the best villain in the MCU turncoat and help the good guys. I know that in the comics, Loki is looking out for himself and trades sides to suit his needs, but in the films some of that is lost. He is more of an anti-hero, than a self-serving villain. It's a small gripe, but a gripe nonetheless.
There's a lot of cool little nods to the comics in this film. Hulk wears a rough approximation of his costume from World War Hulk. References to a "contest of champions" allude to the comic run of the same name, as well as the mobile game. Skurge's dual machine guns is a reference to his comic book counterpart. The giant wolf and Hela's undead army is not only from the comics, but also from Norse mythology. Thor losing his eye and taking Odin's place has been referenced/depicted in many comics over the years, most recently Jason Aaron's run.
This film takes the "Logan" approach to comic book influence, where it doesn't try to tell an exact recreation of a storyline. Instead, it takes inspiration from a bunch of different stories and storylines, creating something that feels like a Thor comic, even though you won't find the story in a single comic or arc.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. It was silly, it was action filled, it mattered, it had stakes, it introduced new characters, it was a Thor movie that I actually walked out of excited. Seriously, if you haven't seen the film yet, you should. You don't need to have seen the last Thor movie to get it. Seeing the first one would help. It is a fun movie and definitely worth the price of admission.
I'm giving "Thor: Ragnarok: 8 Mjolnirs out of 10.
What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Until next time,