After being absent for the beginning of Phase 3, we finally catch back up with the God of Thunder, Thor.
Review by Crispy
Added: November 11, 2017
After his realization that someone is hunting the Infinity Stones, Thor has spent the last few years unsuccessfully searching for them. While he doesn't turn up the stones, he does learn from the creature Surtur that Odin is no longer on Asgard and that Ragnarok, the destruction of Thor's home, is at hand. After making quick work of the demon he returns home and immediately sees through Loki's facade, demanding his brother to take them to Odin. When the pair finally reunite with their father, he offers some troubling news. It seems that Odin actually had a daughter named Hela that he was forced to imprison due to her violent tendencies. In his dying moments, Hela has broken free and is heading towards Asgard to claim the throne. Sure enough, no sooner as Odin passed on to Valhalla does their sister confront them and within minutes she shatters Mjolnir into pieces and forces Loki to call for a retreat back to Asgard. Following them through the Bifrost, she's able to knock both of them out of the transport and leads a path of death and destruction through the city. Meanwhile, Thor and Loki have been stranded on Sakaar, a junk world run by The Grandmaster. While Loki's silver tongue has been able to secure a friendship with the ruler, Thor has found himself a slave, forced to fight in the coliseum against the current champion, The Hulk.
Now, that's an incredibly dark plot, isn't it? You'd imagine this would be one of the darker movies in the Marvel catalog. You'd be absolutely wrong. Looking at the relatively low ratings of the previous two Thor movies, Marvel decided they wanted to emulate Guardians of the Galaxy, so they just pumped it full of one-liners. Now, this works in Guardians for two reasons: one, there's a solid chemistry between the group and two, every character's humor is based on their own personality. Ragnarok solely used the "stupid slapstick" approach for everyone. We weren't out of the opening scene and I was beginning to get weary of the pattern. Hulk got the absolute worse of it. Instead of just being simple-minded, they went full retard with him. The true detriment to this "comedy" is how much it undermined the plot. The story takes some seriously dark turns, but all of the weight of those scenes is just pissed away when people are cracking jokes about it. I'm certainly not saying there's no room for humor in the movie, but they went way too far with it.
Naturally, making every character in the movie comic relief makes it a bit hard to pin down the acting. Series mainstays Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are naturally a joy. Hemsworth once again brings a borderline-arrogant machismo to Thor that works very well, and at this point in the game, no explanation is needed for Hiddleston. Idris Elba finally gets a small chance to shine with Heimdall, doing more than just turning a sword in the pedestal. As far as newcomers go, we have Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson and Karl Urban. Blanchett handled Hela perfectly; despite all of the forced comedy around her, she was played perfectly straight as a deadly force. Thompson and Urban were Valkyrie and Skurge respectively, paralleling redemption stories. Neither of them really got a full opportunity to flesh out their characters, but they both handled their characters well enough. Oh, they also brought in Jeff Goldblum to play Jeff Goldblum.
Given Phase Three's penchant for including other heroes in the "solo films", we've got a few this go around. Obviously, Hulk is the main one here, his involvement being a small adaptation of his Planet Hulk run. You see, Marvel has decided that Hulk is an unmarketable character as a solo act. While I vehemently disagree and believe that the Gray Hulk would be enough to bridge this gap, they aren't asking my opinion and it was nice to see the storyline at least given some attention, despite all the seriousness being drained from him. On the other hand, Doctor Strange's cameo was completely pointless other than giving the filmmaker's another opportunity to fill up another five minutes of slapstick comedy. It's especially upsetting considering this was the scene they chose for Doctor Strange's mid-credits stinger.
Despite being a tonally dissonant mess, this movie is somehow getting rave reviews. Guess we'll get to 'enjoy' more of this nonsense in future sequels. 3/10.