Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thor Ragnarok Review: Big Monster

So, where do I begin with this review of Thor Ragnarok especially if I don't want to spoil it?  This is a tricky one considering the movie felt like a concurrent story of what Hulk and Thor were up to during Captain America Civil war, and based on how everything plays out, that is okay.

Visually, Thor Ragnorak is stunning!  In thinking back to the first two Thor movies, I always felt like I was watching a hyped up version of a medieval action flick, but this time things were more modernized.  Although Asgard still appears mostly magical technology is infused making Ragnarok less Middle Earth and more Blade Runner.  As a Science Fiction fan, this was much appreciated!

Additional eye candy includes great action pieces featuring Thor unleashing some serious whoop ass, Hulk Smashing and Tessa Thompson simply being fine and handling business.

As expected the casting was solid and perfect for the film's aesthetic.  The usual suspects were present with Chris Hemsworth and Mark Rufalo holding it down in their respective roles as Thor and Hulk.  The chemistry between Thor and Banner/Hulk was priceless and really fit well with what could be considered a sibling rivalry at this point.  It is clear these two enjoy screen time with each other.  Thompson's role was something more complex as you can tell from the outset she's broken and is doing her best to conceal her truth.  She nails her role and I hope she makes it into future films as her and Thor work well together.

Tom Hiddleston's Loki felt different this time out especially considering the circumstances that he and Thor now must deal with upon the arrival of Hela played by Cate Blanchett, who rocked her roll.  Loki was a bit toned down and definitely was the running joke throughout the flick, but this is Loki we are talking about, so it worked.  On the other hand, Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster was odd to me as I felt like he could have been more sinister considering the world he created.  Unfortunately, he felt like a forced comedic element and we couldn't get rid of him.  Hopefully this is a one and done for the character even though I have always like Jeff Goldblum in science fiction roles.      

The story was solid and really gets rolling rather quickly following the opening sequences.  Thor and Loki definitely have a legit reason to play opposite each other in this one and that dynamic of two brothers adjusting to change is evident in this film.  Their sibling rivalry is well-balanced and works well in the presence of other characters on screen.

So, I've covered the visuals, spoke to the story and have decided my next car will be named Tessa but I must now get into my gripes.

The dialogue was overrun with comedy and though it was funny, it felt as if the movie was making fun of itself.  The script was littered with zingers and witty banter to the point the movie almost recognized it was a movie and was toeing the line of breaking the fourth wall.  Even Hulk was in on the act and offered -get this- witty banter.  You could literally see him setting up the punchline a couple of times making me wonder, when did Hulk start providing banter.

The 3D was disorienting, especially in the first 1/4 of the movie.  The edges of the screen were nauseating and I observed everyone in the theater raising their glasses to relieve some of the stress several times throughout the screening.  Additionally, the glasses cut the exposure of the screen making everything darker and more difficult for your eyes to focus on key elements.  In the later stages of the movie this wasn't an issue as scenes were mostly in the daylight, but caverns and interiors were painful to watch.  I seriously doubt Marvel can correct this issue now so pass on 3D and watch it in standard 2D - you won't miss anything and you will save a few dollars.

In closing, nothing pleases me more than to say this movie did not suffer from the Marvel Movie Middle.  The 3M has been an ongoing issue for quite some time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this is probably one of the only times the MCU managed the pacing appropriately!  Hats off to them for finding the balance this time and I can only hope they have applied a similar formula for the third avengers movie.

Go see it, but not in 3D!

Best Moments:

  • Thor put in work!  They gave us several things we never saw before in his action scenes and I loved it.
  • Even though I felt they overdid the comedy, it was hilarious every single time.  They just did it too much.
  • Big Monster!!!

Disclaimer: Steve is an employee of Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, however the views expressed in this post are of my own.

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