Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins
2 (Out Of 5) Globes
Plot: Set two years after “Avengers: Age Of Ultron’s” Battle Of Sokovia, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is now both on the hunt for the Infinity Stones and repeatedly haunted by visions of Ragnarok, which is the destruction of Asgard. But when Thor learns that Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is no longer on Asgard and has been replaced as its ruler by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) he sets out to find his father, forcing his meddling sibling to come along, too. The pair soon discover they have an older sister named Hela (Cate Blanchett), who is the goddess of death that is intent on taking over Asgard. In their attempts to stop her Thor and Loki soon become stranded on the garbage planet Sakaar, where they run into an old friend from Earth, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who should become handy, if they can keep him under control.
Review: There is a moment half-way through “Thor: Ragnarok” where you see the titular character being pummeled in the face by the Hulk over and over and over again. Rather than being concerned with Thor’s well-being, we are instead just supposed to laugh off this brutal, teetering on masochistic, display of cartoonish violence. I mean, after all, Thor is a God.
But here-in lies the problem with “Thor: Ragnarok.” With Thor unmoved and able to withstand even the most ferocious of hammerings, and also now suddenly able to disperse a funny one-liner at any opportunity to lighten the situation, it quickly becomes impossible to feel invested. In fact, come the end of “Thor: Ragnarok,” you’ll be shocked by just how little you actually cared throughout what just transpired.
Don’t get me wrong, “Thor: Ragnarok” does have its merits. It is consistently funny, with each of the cast taking to Taika Waititi’s comedic voice with aplomb, especially the divine Jeff Goldblum, who really does make the film sing when he is on-screen. But the laughs don’t compensate for its lame action and complete lack of suspense and surprises, especially when you consider that “Ragnarok’s” trailer featured all of its biggest beats and that being thrilled, wowed, and on the edge of your seat is exactly why we watch these enormous blockbusters.
Of course, what makes you thrilled, wowed, and on the edge of your seat is entirely subjective. For some, probably most, a bountiful of laughs, a zippy pace, and super bright visuals is enough to satisfy those feelings. But I just can’t condone a blockbuster that didn’t even threaten to raise the hairs on the back of my neck, and made me feel nothing more than a gentle laugh. Especially since Marvel’s usual action problems are apparent, as they’re colorful, chaotic, but lack any actual punch. In fact, aside from Thor’s aforementioned drubbing, Waititi annoyingly cuts to black or away from the final blow of numerous fight sequences, which only adds to the feeling of frustration.
After “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2” was only salvaged by its emotional denouement, “Thor: Ragnarok” is so inconsequential and immediately disposable that it is enough to suggest that, creatively at least, Marvel have, or soon will, jump the proverbial shark. It also means that Marvel need to be included whenever people complain that sports stars and actors are paid millions while soldiers and nurses are given pittance; because they just spent $180 million on what is essentially a flashy “Napoleon Dynamite.” And that’s just not good enough.