Thor: Ragnarok is the third installment in the Thor franchise, and has a much different tone from its predecessors. The movie has Thor facing the biggest battle known in Norse mythology – Ragnarok, the end of the world. In this case, Ragnarok meant the end of Asgard, the place getting engulfed in flames. This isn’t a spoiler; the events of Ragnarok have been explained in the opening credits. In this installment, Thor faces Hela, Goddess of Death. The viewers find out what happened to Hulk, and more of Norse mythology comes to play in the form of Valkyrie. Ragnarok is an entertaining installment in the Marvel universe, but it doesn’t really have much working for it. *spoilers ahead*
There are a few factors working in favor of the movie. It isn’t congested and stuffy compared to its predecessor. This was light and funny, with main characters donning a bit of personality change to fit this atmosphere. The way the opening scene played out, one can already figure out the personality Thor was going to amp up. This also has a lot of Thor and Loki scenes, with Loki being a big factor to the success of the Thor franchise. The movie touches on the relationship between the two, giving them somewhat meaningful moments alongside the comedic/action ones.
It also showcases a new world, where things end up in. It introduces new characters alongside providing an answer to where Hulk has disappeared. Hulk's storyline has its own questions, but would probably be answered in future Marvel installments.
As much as this was an entertaining affair, it leaves a lot of content out to warrant Ragnarok to be a well-executed film. The main event was clearly Hela, and as much as Cate Blanchett was glamorous in the role, she felt out of place. She was built up to be this strong villainess, but aside from killing every character with a name off, she wasn’t very much in the movie. She and Thor had limited screen time together, and even with her strong history with Valkyrie, they didn’t appear in a lot of frames together. Compared to the previous villains, Hela was the strongest, but the movie failed to utilize her.
Another aspect that I thought was crucial to the storyline was Thor’s self actualization. Since he lost his hammer in the beginning, he has been reliant on his physical strength, and seems to be always on the verge of giving up. He gets these images of Odin, with Odin pointing out that he has always been powerful. I would have thought the writing would use this chance for Thor to figure that out himself, considering the decisions he had made in the previous movies. The whole character development wasn’t really touched on, and was rather pushed in the movie only when it made sense – when Thor was in a bind and there has to be a way for him to emerge victorious.
The movie eventually shows Ragnarok – Thor realizes that it has to happen so they become the catalyst for the full blown Ragnarok. I expected this to be epic; it was Ragnarok after all. I really think the movie short-sighted Blanchett; even her final moments were mediocre at best.
The redeeming feature of Ragnarok was Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson. She was spunky and tough and held up her own while sharing the scene with Marvel favorites. Cate Blanchett was good and she did her best with the material she got. Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo were all right. Tom Hiddleston still got the mischievous Loki vibe working for him, although I thought he was trying a bit too hard. Jeff Goldblum kind of disappeared; despite his flashy looks, he wasn’t a memorable character.
This was an entertaining superhero movie. Taika Waititi did a good job bringing all of it together. It just didn’t scratch beyond the surface of what is was.