I find it fitting that both Thor and The Hulk are teamed up for this film, particularly while their appearances the Avengers had some of the twos best moments in the MCU; their solo efforts have been mixed. Thor one was an excellent and fun fantasy film that effortlessly transitioned into The Avengers with a great cast involved. While The Incredible Hulk was decent but mostly forgettable, but given the 2003 film; the projector bursting into flames during the premiere was the only way the film could’ve screwed up in a worst way since last time. Sadly while both Avengers were excellent, Thor The Dark World, while becoming the jokey action filled template that the rest of the MCU has been following, suffered due to forced side characters and a boring villain; while Hulks solo sequel….I’ll get back to you on that one.
Look the point is that putting the leads of two of the weaker series from Marvel actually worked in this film’s favour; mainly due to the already established connection Thor and Banner have. Even when the Hulk is given the chance to speak, it gives him a chance for actual character development as well as comedic moments. With this being one of Mark Ruffalo’s best performances as Banner, mainly due to how out of the comfort zone he is. With many multiple call backs to previous films that work well in terms of this character dynamic. And while Loki is mainly here to wrap up and explain his reappearance after Thor the Dark World, he is still a relevant character, once again taking the role of an anti-hero who is dragged around by Thor to help him, but naturally has plans of his own. And once again it’s Hemsworth and Hiddleson’s performances that makes the movie worth watching alone; particularly when the family drama is further pushed into the story. Even if Loki does have the preservation skills of a Dodo bird, seriously what did Odin see in him when the final battle is the only time in this film Loki didn’t get his ass kicked so hard there are Nike symbols embeded in his pelvic bone. When it comes to new characters, Valkyrie went from being a ‘replacement Sith’ to a welcome addition; while both being Asardian warrior women, it’s the care free attitude and dark back story with Hela that makes Valkyrie unique to this movie. Also those news stories about her being bisexual….pointless.
But back to Hela, let’s discuss the villains Marvel has given us this year. Ego and god like living planet that wanted to persuade his son to convert all planets into a giant hive mind. The Vulture was a construction worker that stole some alien tech to sell to criminals for profit. Hela? Yeah if you thought that superhero movies were way too reliant on the villain who wants to destroy the world and kill everyone; yeah it’s that character on a totally different world; regardless whether they’re on earth, Asgard or candy land it still counts. She’s basically Enchantress from Suicide Squad but with a personality, a back story and some clothes bought with a two for one Hot Topic voulter. I mean it: she’s an all-powerful woman with magic powers, trapped away due to said evil powers until accidentally released to the world, where she then takes revenge on those who imprison her with an army of zombies. And like Enchantress she spends the rest of the running time waiting for the heroes to show up while her goons do the work for her. Greatly acted, but not original when compared to the writing of the other villains in the franchise that are in their films to wreck shit.
And plenty of shit does get wrecked, as most the special effects are gorgeous, from the varied locations of Ashard and Sicar, with excellent detail and renderings that make the worlds unique. Even the motion capture and CGI characters like Korg stand out great, especially when multiple effects based characters are given more to do and say when they’re not being wiped of our leads shoes like they would in The Avengers. The Hulk v Thor fight being the key standout in terms of action scenes. But again, I said most of the effects. Because as recent trailers show, there have been reshoots done before the release. And there cases, such Hela’s introduction in the alley changed to a cliff, where it shows, as there are scenes altered or once appeared in trailers before being removed. With the main problem being how clearly last-minute added changes stand out against the highly rendered scene, or how obvious it is which shots are done on green screen; especially when already rendered actors stand out agaisnt their surroundings due to having their original background changed. You’d think when an MCU features as much shooting on green screen sets as they do would figure this shit out. With many of the scenes on Asgard, and the introduction of Hela looking like a scene from Phase One of this franchise.
Speaking of being poorly implemented, I like to discuss the flaws of the film’s story structure: the main one being, there fucking isn’t one! Oh sure things happen and lead into each other, but each event is often present and followed on with a ‘and then this happened’ moment. Without spoilers the first act goes as follows: Thor finds out about Loki’s return as the two search for Odin, and then Doctor Strange helps them out, and then Hela shows up as she break Thor’s hammer, and then she gets to Asgard and goes full Kratos on the locals, and then Thor lands on a planet that forces him to become a gladiator….I hope you get the picture. Hell even The Hulk’s appearance feels like a ‘and then’ moment, not just because this movie takes elements from the Planet Hulk story; with the first act and the finale feeling kinda rushed when so much of the story takes place on Sicar. But thankfully the comedy more than makes up for it. While The Dark World felt like it was trying to force a joke in a times. This film far more natural as most the humor comes from character banter, and unexpected moments that work effortlessly given the build up involved; with Hemsworth, Hiddleson and Rufflao doing great with the director involved.
The major downside is that the writers are way to focused on jokes to contrast with DC’s sombre naturally, frankly alot of dramatic moments ended being cut short by character banter and characters injuring themselves; leaving moments having to regain the weight they just lost in the process. There are moments that meant to build upon a character struggles and character development, and plot development; but are wasted fro the sake of a cheap laugh. Kevin Fiege listen up: joke and comedy are great, and the humor of the past MCU films have been great. But when your spending the majority of your time trying to make the audience laugh in the aim of not loosing their attention., you loose focus on the emotional moments. Deadpool was a comedy, and yet it was allowed to take its time to build upon the relationship between Wade and Vanessa; through those scenes you feel the crushing weight of those two loosing each other. Meanwhile this film is regularly stopping a start its momentum because it spent more time buliding the punchline than the dramatic moments that should take focus. I recommend checking out Just Write’s video on the subject. Yes I know the DCEU should be learning tips Marvel about taking breaks the from the down beat tone; but Wonder Woman has now shown that having moments of drama and comedy can work when you have your scene’s priorities in check.
I just want to say that Thor Ragnarok is not a bad movie, in fact if it wasn’t for Spider-Man Homecoming i would’ve have called this the best film Marvel made this year. With an great balence of comedy and action with a talented cast that wear their roles like golves; which makes the film all the more enjoyable given the large stakes involved this one, regardless of the cliches and exposition is involved. As well as jokes that range from laugh out loud to, why is this here now? If you’ve never stayed through the credits of a Marvel film seeing it on the big screen. Firstly, you lazy, attention spanless prick, and secondly stay for it because the end will leaves you wanting Infinity War more than fans like me already do.
Thank you for your time.