Movie Review - Thor: Ragnarok
Both movies feature a lot of CGI, but I get the feeling more practical effects were used in that fifth Pirates of the Caribbean than here. Perhaps, I'm wrong, but that Depp film felt more tactile. Its action set-pieces felt like they had more comedic business, more imagination, more detail than here. All we get here is a lot of repetitive fighting in a lot of inconsequential moments, which ultimately have no weight. Supposedly, the ending is consequential, but it's perhaps the only consequential moment and yet, it too is rather shrugged off.
Like the opening to Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, the opening scene here is simply meant to be a comical kick-off to this story. It's not to say the opening scene isn't important. It does set up what goes down at the very end, which is a bit of a game-changer for Thor, but he behaves like such a goofball for most of this movie that one can't tell if Thor realizes how much of a game-changer it is. Literally, Thor's home is totally destroyed and yet it's treated with less fanfare than the death at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.
Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris and Only Lovers Left Alive) returns as Loki, the god of chaos. At the end of the 2013 film, he had replaced his father, Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins. Loki got rid of Odin and used magic to make himself look like Odin. That seemed like a big deal, but again as we see in this movie, it's shrugged off. How Loki replaced Odin and managed to banish him to Earth is never explained. Why he couldn't just make peace with Odin, especially after his sacrifice at the end of the 2013 film, is never explained. This major thing happens and within one minute it's shrugged off, which is frustrating.
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine and The Aviator) co-stars as Hela, the goddess of death and sister to Thor. She has super strength, invincibility, great fighting skills and the ability to throw metallic spears and daggers, which she generates from her own hands. She says she's Odin's first-born and she's back to claim the throne of Asgard and become it's queen and ruler.
She also reveals a more sordid history about Asgard and Odin, which is too shrugged off. She depicts Odin as being more ruthless and conquering than I remembered. Yet, instead of confronting this hidden past and why Odin changed, it's again shrugged off. Whatever compelling drama could have been mined from this, director Taika Waititi forgoes that drama for cartoonish comedy.
Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park and Independence Day) plays the Grandmaster, the head of the realm where the gladiator fights happen. Apparently, he stops the battle, but it's never explained why or to what end when he's the one who set up the battle. It's again shrugged off, so Thor can get back to his real fight against Hela.
If one is wondering what the title means. Ragnarok is a prophecy that foretells the destruction of Asgard. Spoiler alert, the prophecy comes true. Yet, the destruction of Asgard is treated like the destruction of Vulcan in Star Trek (2009), if not less. The remaining people of Asgard are essentially refugees who need a home. If there's another stand-alone Thor movie, finding a new home would be a great story-line. I wish it were the story-line here. As such, there is no story-line.
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 10 mins.