‘Thor: Ragnorak’ sacrifices intensity for humor

Thor, Loki, and Hulk go on a cosmic mission to save Asgard.

“Thor: Ragnorak,” the third Thor film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, premiered on Nov. 3 and had a largely successful opening weekend.

The movie begins with Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) imprisoned by Surtur (Taika Waititi), a Fire Giant of Musplheim. Thor is telling the skeleton that’s in the cage with him about what he’s been doing the past two years and how he got where he is. Bleh. I would’ve rather seen a montage recap of what he had been up to, and it could’ve still been narrated by him. The next scene almost makes up for it though.

Thor falls from his cage and ends up dangling in front of Surtur, who goes on to tell the God of Thunder that Ragnorak, the apocalypse, is coming to Asgard.

Surtur is portrayed by Taika Waititi, who also directs and does a few other things for the film. While Waititi may not do everything right with this film, he nails Surtur, which could’ve been hard, seeing as he is a Fire Giant.

I wish Surtur would’ve been much more present in the film, and as is the case with a lot of this movie, Thor should’ve been more serious. Instead, he’s cracking wise which really takes away from the possible suspense of the scene, as well as Waititi’s stellar performance of Surtur.

Thor summons his hammer, Mjolnir, breaks free, defeats Surtur, and heads to Asgard to warn his father, Odin the Allfather (Anthony Hopkins), of the potential danger coming to Asgard.

Upon arrival, Thor discovers Heimdall (Idris Elba), the Gatekeeper of Asgard and the Watcher of Worlds, has been banished, and Skurge the Executioner (Karl Urban) has been left in his steed.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s adopted brother, is parading around disguised as Odin when Thor forces him to submit and the brothers go looking for their father. Loki left him in New York, and when they get there, they’re greeted by none other than the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Dr. Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).AE Thor Rag

Strange traps Loki in a different dimension while he and Thor talk, and it’s quite a fun and rewarding scene for comic fans. Dr. Strange sends them to their father’s location.

Odin tells his sons that someone who was once his ally and has now gone rogue, Hela (Cate Blanchett), is coming, and it’s up to them to protect Asgard.

Hela appears to them shortly after and destroys Mjlonir. Loki calls for the Bifrost (the doorway between the Nine Realms that’s usually overseen by Heimdall), and Hela goes into the Bifrost with the brothers. She throws them out, and they both land on Sakaar in different places and at different times.

Although not directly said at all in the film, Sakaar is the planet from the comics that is also known as Planet Hulk, a place where the Hulk persona completely took the wheel from Bruce Banner.

Since the film rights to Hulk belong to Universal Studios, Marvel isn’t able to make a solo Hulk film, and they did an adequate job of bringing a Planet Hulk to the MCU and not allowing Hulk to take over the whole movie. I have heard some critics saying that the heart of the film belongs to Planet Hulk, and I have to strongly disagree. This movie is in most ways a Thor movie that pays homage to Planet Hulk in some big ways for sure, but not in a way that completely takes over the film.

The Grand Master (Jeff Goldblum) is kind of the ruler of Sakaar. When Thor is captured by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), an Asgardian who later becomes an ally, he has to fight for the Grand Master, and he goes up against his champion: The Incredible Hulk. This arena fight scene is probably the best action scene in the movie, in part because there aren’t really any lives at stake, at least not immediately. Hulk and Thor just duke it out in full-on comic book glory.

After Thor, Banner, and Valkyrie make it off Sakaar, they go straight to stop Hela from destroying Asgard, but not really in a way that’s expected or appreciated.

[SPOILER WARNING] Odin tells his sons that Asgard is not a place but the people. So to destroy Hela, they destroy Asgard. What the f**k?! The people are called Asgardians, after the city of Asgard. For thousands of years Odin and Thor have fought to protect Asgard or in the name of Asgard.

I think this was a terrible idea and honestly the first real mistake that has been made in the MCU.

In Thor’s previous two appearances, he’s been quite dark and brooding, because of this lingering fear for Asgard that he’s had on his shoulders. And now that it’s coming to a climax, Thor, or I should say the self-indulgent director Waititi, wants to laugh everything off and make it all a joke. I don’t really buy it. This film had more tongue-in-cheek type comedy than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which was an amazing movie and is supposed to be funny, whereas Thor should lean more to the serious side.

That being said, the MCU has hit the nail on the head with Loki. In the comics, Loki is unpredictable. He’s always doing something dark and mischievous, then ends up doing something good. He’s an extremely complex character whose motives are always a mystery, and I’m quite impressed with his arc in this movie.

“Thor: Ragnorak” is a beautiful, colorful, and fun film that just sacrifices too much intensity for way too many quips and one-liners. I give it a 7.8 out of 10.


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