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THOR: RAGNAROK would have been perfect if it could have tied up a few (tragic) loose ends…

Posted on November 7th, 2017
Posted on November 7th, 2017

 

by Coop Cooper

Compelled by the grim, apocalyptic vision he had during “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been traveling the Nine Realms in order to prevent ‘Ragnarok’, or the Asgardian version of Judgement Day. Since the prophecy of how Ragnarok begins is pretty specific, Thor closes what he believes to be the last loophole and then returns to Asgard only to find Loki (Tom Hiddleston) ruling it in the guise of Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Searching for his father, Thor learns that his long-lost sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett) has plans to conquer Asgard for herself. Failing to stop her, Thor and Loki end up on a waste-disposal planet ruled by The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who pegs Thor as a contender for his high-profile gladiator battles. Aided by The Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and the former Asgardian warrior Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Thor and Loki attempt to escape the Grandmaster so they can return to Asgard and stop Hela.

The plot doesn’t sound like much but “Thor: Ragnarok” crams a lot of plot into its 130 minute running time. It rolls along at such a fast pace and so much happens, it feels like several Marvel films combined. In fact, there is simply too much to talk about and so many potential spoilers, reviewing the plot itself is nearly impossible. However, what I can talk about is how this is one of the most entertaining Marvel films to date. It would appear that the films with the more comedic elements – like “Guardians of the Galaxy” – are some of the biggest hits and I believe the tone of “Ragnarok” will go over well with general audiences. Director Taika Waititi (“Hunt for the Wilderpeople”, “What We Do in the Shadows”) has already proven his comedic genius and the success of “Ragnarok” should give him his pick of Marvel properties to direct next, should he wish to.

And the film is uproariously funny and nearly perfect, except for a few issues that could have been easily addressed…

Despite the overwhelmingly light tone, a few horrible things happens in the film which should have been given more emotional weight. No less that four recurring characters die very quickly and the audience gets absolutely no time to process or feel any of these losses before the story moves back into comedy. Also, Natalie Portman’s character Jane Foster, Thor’s long standing love interest, is explained away and dismissed in a matter of seconds. It’s fine that she’s not in the movie, but her casual and permanent dismissal is disrespectful. Likewise, Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander) was absent and never even mentioned. Alexander’s schedule with her TV show “Blindspot” prevented her involvement, but not mentioning her or her whereabouts at all seemed grossly negligent. Karl Urban’s role as Hela’s unwitting lackey Skurge didn’t feel right either simply because Urban deserves better. The guy is a phenomenal A-list actor. He played Judge Dredd in one of the most underrated comic book films ever and he can’t get a starring role in a Marvel movie? What a waste.

“Ragnarok” doesn’t necessarily end on an up-note. Thor loses far more than you would expect a hero to lose in a Marvel movie, and because of the film’s tone, the loss is glossed over, but it sets up an interesting lead-in to “Avengers: Infinity War” releasing this upcoming May. Before that the much anticipated “Black Panther” solo movie will release in February and “Ant-Man and The Wasp” will be the last of the 2018 Marvel movies, releasing in July. The Marvel machine keeps on chugging away so expect to see more Thor and the rest of them in the next two years. After that, some of the lead actors’ contracts will be up so it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes.

Rating: 4 and 1/2 out of 5

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