Thor: Ragnarok Non-Spoiler Review!

Written by Jason Brigger

Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Eric Pearson and Craig Kyle
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett

Standalone Thor films have never really received the love that most other Avengers’ solo films receive and with good reason as the films, up to now, have been either been boring (original Thor) or pretty to watch but ultimately forgettable (Thor: The Dark World). Thor: Ragnarok opens in North America November 3, 2017 and hopes to change that by taking a new approach by using comedy to liven up the forgettable film series.

This time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must not only tangle with his mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), but also Hela, the God of Death (Cate Blanchett) as she tries to continue what Odin (Anthony Hopkins) stopped her from doing centuries ago, rule the universe. Along the way, Thor must also escape a planet run by the creepy but fun dictator Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and recruit a team of heroes looking for purpose and revenge. If this sounds a little like Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s because it is.

The Good:
-Chris Hemsworth. Hemsworth does a great job as Thor and after several outings as the character, he knows what makes the god tick. Despite Thor’s standalone films not being my favorite of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I do enjoy Hemsworth being able to switch from humorous to a kick-ass Thor and coming across as believable.

-The supporting cast. Whether it’s Heimdall (Idris Elba) finally getting to do something (!), the return of Loki being back to his cunning ways or the addition of new members, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (director Taika Waititi), the film gives them enough scenes and time for the audience to care about them. Thompson steals every scene she is in and will leave the audience wanting a standalone Valkyrie film.

-The Incredible Hulk. Congrats to Marvel for another step in redeeming a character that was on life support after his first two solo films. Mark Ruffalo continues to look like he is amazed that he even gets to play the Hulk/Bruce Banner in these films but at the same time, continues to rise to the occasion. Fans of the comic book storyline, Planet Hulk, will enjoy the not-so-subtle nods to the mini-series and the general audience will finally get to see why Hulk is such a powerful force in the Marvel Universe, both in film and comic book.

-The score and soundtrack. The film starts off with an action scene set to a classic rock hit and only goes up from there, if that’s possible. Even the score of the film, which seems to be based on music from 1970s sci-fi films, gives a very unique and un-Thor like feeling to the film. When a score and soundtrack is great, it only adds to the quality of the film and in Thor: Ragnarok, this is no different.

The Bad:
-Nothing.

The Middling:
-It’s the best of the Thor films. Just because it’s the best of the films doesn’t mean it’s in the top of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films though. Whether it’s due to the difficultly in writing mystical gods or that Thor is just too powerful or the audience just isn’t that invested in the God of Thunder, Marvel just can’t get that perfect formula they seem to have hit on with their other properties.

-Hela. Blanchett does her best with what she is given and while Hela is one of the better villains in the more recent Marvel films, her character isn’t much more than a one-note villain trying to rule the universe. The positive is that Hela, when given the opportunity, holds her own against our heroes and is the given the honor of being the only villain to really push Thor to the brink of defeat in his films.

-The comedy. While the writers really push comedy to the forefront this time around, the audience may feel the film has become a Guardians of the Galaxy knockoff. The jokes mostly hit and while it’s nice to have a more fun Thor this time around, it seems Marvel is trying to make Thor more Starlord and less God of Thunder. The comedy is good but at times seems out of place, especially when they are trying to stop Hela from destroying millions of people.

Final Grade: B- (Above Average)
Thor: Ragnarok is a tough film to grade due to the fact that it’s a really fun film but I’m not sure how well the film will “age” in a few years. The battle scenes are impressive and adding a little Guardians of Galaxy to any film always makes it better and while Thor: Ragnarok is still recommended, the Thor films just cannot breakthrough the top of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every Wednesday at www.webegeekspc.com or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/historyofbadideas/episode_200.mp3

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