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Review: “Thor: Ragnarok” Slips From Serious to Silly

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios

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The seventeenth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) hit screens a few days ago and get ready to laugh because this film is an absolute riot.

“Thor: Ragnarok”, Directed by Taika Waititi, who also directed “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and “What We Do in The Shadows” is as colorful and exuberant as its director’s name, in some good ways and some bad. Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the Asgardian God of Thunder, Thor. Tom Hiddleston is back as Loki, the mischievous adopted brother of Thor who is disguised as Odin, which was a very interesting plot point from the second Thor film, but is thrown away in mere seconds to accommodate the many jokes in this film.

New faces include Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie, a drunkard Asgardian warrior, Mark Ruffalo, who we know from the Avengers film as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Jeff Goldblum as himself but called the Grandmaster, and the best addition, Cate Blanchett as the wonderfully evil sister of Thor and Loki, Hela. “Thor: Ragnarok” takes two great storylines from the comic book series, including  Ragnorok and Planet Hulk and meld them together to explain why Hulk and Thor were absent in “Captain America: Civil War”.

This film was my absolute most anticipated film of the year, not Star Wars or Justice League. Every time I saw a teaser or trailer, my level of anticipation rose until I started hearing about the early reviews. Everything I heard about this film before it was released was extremely positive but that it was the funniest Marvel movie to date.

I understand that Marvel aims towards a lighter universe, but when I think of Thor from all the amazing works in the comics, I can’t envision a laugh out loud comedy. But that is what director Taika Waititi delivers to us in the newest instalment to the MCU.

I’m a bit torn up about this film after a few days. I saw “Thor: Ragnarok” on opening night Thursday and my immediate thoughts were very positive. Initially, I wasn’t sure if the film had just enough humor or slightly too much, but I was okay with the comedic focus of the film. I loved the fact that the Planet Hulk storyline and a cameo from Doctor Strange were incorporated into a Thor film, which is one of the great things the MCU has been able to do.

However, Planet Hulk is an expansive and in-depth story where The Hulk channels his rage to become a hero to a group of people, and finds love that he didn’t have on Earth. In this film the barest of the bare framework from that story is used.

I think all of the performances in this film are great. Cate Blanchett plays a wonderfully arrogant and powerful Goddess of Death, Hela. Whenever she graced the screen I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Tessa Thompson emerges as a new star in the cosmic side of the MCU, playing a great equal to Thor. This is something that is absolutely amazing about this film.

“Thor: Ragnarok” is gorgeous, with vibrant colors and flawless CGI. There is never a moment where I thought any visual was lacking. Waititi turns this film into a Kirby inspired wonderland. It perfectly fits with the whimsical performance of Goldblum as the Grandmaster.

Along with the visuals, the score for this film is outstanding. Every song is a memorable song that the audience will know and they really bring the ROCK to “Thor: Ragnarok”. I think every use of humor works for the fact that the jokes are funny. There aren’t any jokes that fall flat, but the placement of jokes at times where a scene should have stayed serious is what falls flat for me.

Similar to the ending of the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, Star Lord dances at Ronan after an extremely hectic and grueling battle. There should be levity, but it should be after the meaningful scene concludes, not in the middle just to get a laugh. The seriousness of scenes should remain that way but are ruined with unnecessary jokes.

After thinking about this film one moment comes to mind that really hurts it. In every trailer we see a scene where Hela destroys Mjölnir, Thor’s beloved hammer. After the Hammer is destroyed, Thor and Loki try to battle Hela but are sent flying into wormholes and ends up on the planet Sakaar.

Thor utters one line, which is a comical line, about his hammer being destroyed and then doesn’t speak about it again until the final climactic battle. The reason for this is to show that Thor has had the power inside of him all this time, which is a fine plot line, but the film completely destroys any gravitas that the hammer brings. One of Marvel’s greatest heroes has a weapon that is synonymous for being ultra-powerful and important and it becomes an afterthought.

For those who are looking for a fun time at the movie theatre then is an absolute must see. It gives laughs and beautiful visuals that immerse you into this rock star world, but if you’re someone who is invested into the MCU for its more serious storytelling aspects then you might come out of this film wishing for more.

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SUNY Buffalo State's award-winning student news outlet since 1913
Review: “Thor: Ragnarok” Slips From Serious to Silly