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Thor and the Hulk
In October 2017, I saw the movie ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ at the cinema!
At that point, I hadn’t seen all of the ‘Thor’ movies at the cinema and on DVD. I’d seen the first ‘Thor’ movie on DVD, but not the second one. I also saw Thor in ‘Avengers Assemble’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ before seeing him in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ at the cinema. My goodness! Plenty has changed since!
It was after seeing ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ at the cinema that I saw ‘Thor: The Dark World’ on DVD when I purchased the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ films in their limited edition DVD box sets. ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is the last film in the ‘Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe – Phase Three: Part One’ box set.
Back then, I hoped to get around to watching all of the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ movies from scratch to review on my blog, which I’ve done so far. But in all honestly, I don’t think it makes much of a difference if you see all previous ‘Thor’ movies to watch ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, even on DVD/Blu-ray.
I found how easy it was to get into this movie when I went to see it at the cinema back in October 2017. I’ve made it clear in my reviews for ‘Thor’ and ‘Thor: The Dark World’ that I don’t find Thor to be an exciting superhero compared to others I have seen, even with being an Asgard god of thunder.
With that said though, I have been able to enjoy Thor’s journey through these movies. This is especially with having the ‘MCU’ movies complete and compiled in the ‘Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe’ DVD box sets. I’ve purchased them and I had this one given by my parents for two Christmases.
At that time of watching this at the cinema, I wasn’t expecting much from it. When it came out, it received positive reviews. It was a critical success as it received praise for the performances of the cast; the direction of the movie; the action sequences; the humour and the composed musical score.
So far, it’s considered by critics to be the best out of the ‘Thor’ trilogy. Now I heard other things said about this movie. I read previews and reviews saying that the movie was awful in that it had too much humour and it was badly-written. But I was willing to go in open-minded to give this film a chance.
And to be honest with you, I rather enjoyed the film at the cinema. I mean, okay, I’m not saying it’s a great film. But then again, it’s not bad either. The film does feel rather fantastical and its comedic overtones don’t help. But I couldn’t help enjoy this movie with its story and the engaging characters.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor. The film’s directed by Taika Waititi, who is a new contributor to the ‘MCU’. The direction for these ‘Thor’ films is inconsistent. First it was epic with Kenneth Branagh, then it was ‘uninspiring’ with Alan Taylor; now it’s comedic fun with Taika Waititi.
And yes, while I feel the first ‘Thor’ film is better than ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, I do find ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ to be better than ‘Thor: The Dark World’. The film also stars Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins. That’s quite a cast!
So yeah, with all that said in that this film isn’t as great as many critics seem to claim it is, especially with it being the best out of the ‘Thor’ trilogy, I did find this movie refreshing to watch and unwind to. Also, the movie isn’t as bad as….and I can’t believe I’m saying this…it’s not as bad as ‘Doctor Strange’.
Now, I’m not saying that ‘Doctor Strange’ was awful and I didn’t enjoy it. But with that movie, I did find some of it pretty strange and weird especially with its magic and mysticism. With ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, I did not find so many sequences strange and baffling to watch to make it very confusing.
By the way, Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Doctor Strange in this movie for a brief appearance. I wasn’t expecting Doctor Strange to appear in this and it was a delight to see him. Of course, Thor made an appearance at the end of ‘Doctor Strange’. In fact, it is that same mid-credits scene for this.
Anyway, in the movie, Thor tries to save Asgard from the impending prophetic devastation that’s called Ragnarok. This was something in Norse mythology recreated for this ‘MCU’ film, where the deaths of many figures; natural disasters and the destruction of the Asgardian world takes place.
Thor has to save Asgard when his evil sister Hela returns in the attempt to take control of his home. But on the mission to find his father with Loki, Thor ends up getting sent to the alien planet of Sakaar. He has to find a way to escape that planet in order to return to Asgard and perhaps rescue it.
By the way, in case you’re wondering if Natalie Portman returns as Jane Foster in this, she doesn’t. I was saddened by that. It’s such a shame that she got briefly mentioned and that she’d broken up with Thor. It would’ve been nice if Natalie Portman did make an appearance as Jane Foster in this movie.
Then again, I’m glad Stellan Skarsgård’s Erik Selvig isn’t back running around naked in this movie as well as Kat Dennings’ annoying Darcy and Jonathan Howard’s equally annoying Ian Boothby…who falls in love with Darcy and has Superman powers? Yeah, I’m still not over that! What was that about?
Chris Hemsworth of course returns as Thor in this movie. I enjoyed Chris Hemsworth’s performance as Thor and liked the balance of humour and drama he provides in the character. It was interesting to see how Thor goes through the challenges of saving Asgard. I liked how the film addressed it here.
This film does see Thor getting a shorter haircut, provided by Stan Lee in a cameo. How dare you, Stan Lee! 😀 This is when Thor gets forced to fight against his opponent in an arena on Sakaar. We’ll get to that later. Thor also loses his trusty magic hammer when Hela crushes it like glass. Yikes, wow!
That’s very shocking! I wasn’t sure how Thor was going to cope without his hammer as that is part of his character. But he manages to cope well, even when he’s fighting Hela to give the Asgardian people time to escape. He also loses an eye in the movie, which must’ve been pretty painful indeed.
There’s also the return of Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Thor’s slimy brother. I find Loki to be an interesting character in the ‘MCU’ films. I really enjoyed Loki’s appearance in this movie. In the first film as well as ‘Avengers Assemble’, he’s portrayed as a very bad guy. He’s not so much in later films.
I get that the filmmakers are trying to make Loki not a two-dimensional villain and have him have an interesting brotherly relationship with Thor. But that does somewhat reduce his role in being villainous, especially when he’s forced to accompany Thor to find their father Odin before going to Sakaar.
It would’ve been interesting if Loki teamed up with Hela in the movie. I’m surprised he didn’t do that here. It’s the same situation where Thor didn’t team up with the Dark Elves in ‘Thor: The Dark World’. Mind you, Loki was a bad person ruling Asgard when fooling Thor he was Odin at the beginning.
There’s Cate Blanchett as the villainous Hela in this movie. Cate Blanchett is well-known for playing Galadriel in ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies. It was a delight to see Cate in this movie. I did like seeing Cate with her hair down once Thor and Loki first met her in Norway on Earth.
But when she has her spiky armoured head on, it makes her look hideous. Cate as a villain can be intimidating when watching her as Hela in the film. In fact, this could be what Galadriel meant when she told Frodo what would happen to her if she took the One Ring in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. 😀
It was interesting to hear the back-story on what Hela was like being Odin’s first-born and when they ruled kingdoms together. It would’ve been great if we had flashback scenes featuring Hela and Odin together to provide more to that back-story. That would’ve given Anthony Hopkins more screen time.
There’s Idris Elba as Heimdall in this movie. Heimdall has a different role in this movie compared to the previous ‘Thor’ movies. He was once the all-seeing, all-hearing sentry of the Bifröst Bridge at Asgard. Now he’s gone into self-imposed exile following the reign of Loki as the false Odin in Asgard.
We don’t see Heimdall until the second half of the movie where he’s protecting Asgardians running away from Hela’s forces once she takes over. He helps the Asgardians to hide when they’re vulnerable; taking them to a cave of some kind before he takes them to board a spaceship to escape.
It’s interesting how Heimdall communicates with Thor in this movie, especially with those glowing eyes of his. Heimdall also gets to demonstrate his skills in being a fighter which makes his character more interesting compared to being just a sentry of the Bifröst Bridge as he was in other ‘Thor’ films.
There’s also Jeff Goldblum (Of course he’s in this movie!) as the Grandmaster of Sakaar (No really! What’s your name? That can’t be it!). I’ve seen Jeff Goldblum in the first ‘Cats and Dogs’ film and heard him voice Aaron, Moses’ brother in ‘The Prince of Egypt’. He’s also been in the ‘Jurassic Park’ movies.
His character of the Grandmaster in this movie is…peculiar. He happens to be one of the Elders of the Universe who rules Sakaar and forces what he considers to be lesser life-forms like Thor to fight each other in tournaments at an arena. He seeks pleasure with tormenting those to fight each other.
I’m not sure what to make of the Grandmaster. Sometimes he can be funny; other times he’s not. He’s pretty cruel in his motivations and I don’t know why that is with the lack of character he has. It’s also difficult to think of him as a different character other than Jeff Goldblum. That’s all I see him as.
There’s Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie…or Scrapper 142 as the Grandmaster calls her. In the film, she’s a tough, hard-drinking Asgardian slave trader who captures Thor after rescuing him from some scum on the garbage heaps of Sakaar. She uses an obedience disk to control Thor to make him a gladiator.
Valkyrie actually happens to be one of the legendary warriors of the Valkyrior that served Asgard in many wars long ago. Valkyrie actually ended up on Sakaar when running away from Hela during a battle. She gets into her drink and actually falls off the ramp of her spaceship when she first comes out. 😀
I enjoyed how Thor tries to persuade Valkyrie to listen to him and help save Asgard from Ragnarok. But Valkyrie doesn’t seem willing to as she prefers to stay where he is and have her drink. But thankfully, she does help Thor with stealing a spaceship to escape from Sakaar and to return to Asgard.
There’s also Karl Urban in the film. He was Éomer, son of Éomund in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as well as Dr. McCoy in the ‘Star Trek’ reboot trilogy. Here he plays Skurge the Executioner.
(annoyed; to Timelord007) ARE YOU SERIOUS, TIMELORD?!! HIS ACTING WASN’T PANTOMIME AND AWFUL WHEN YOU SAID SO IN OUR ‘STAR TREK’ (2009) REVIEW! HE WAS FINE IN THIS MOVIE!
Timelord007: “Err…hammy acting besides that DODGY BRITISH ACCENT!!!”
(sighs) Fine, whatever! You’re entitled to your opinion. I’m entitled to mine. I thought he was fine in this film.
Timelord007: “Why are you giving me a cameo in this review of yours anyway? Is it because of my pearls of wisdom or because I’m very cheap to hire?”
Well, you see, you cameoed in my ‘Doctor Strange’ review. And since Dr. Strange is in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, I thought I might as well give you a cameo in this review too.
Timelord007: “‘Doctor Strange’ is ‘Citizen Kane’ compared to this campy, badly-acted monstrosity…” (rants away)
(ignores Timelord007; to audience) Anyway, back to the review.
As I was saying, I like Karl Urban’s character in the movie. Yeah, it does seem strange that Skurge would willingly serve Hela despite us not knowing much about him. But given his situation, wouldn’t you be scared-stiff like he was when he witnesses Hela’s power as she murders people upon her arrival?
I found Skurge’s motivations justified and it was interesting how he seemed reluctant to serve Hela in the movie. Yeah, he’s not a good Bifröst Bridge defender when he’s doing it in Hemidall’s absence. And it seems lame when he disguises himself on the Asgardians’ ship of escape. But I found him fine.
The film also features the return of…Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk! Wow! Bruce Banner a.k.a. the Hulk is in this movie?! It was nice to see the Hulk back. The last time he appeared was when he was on a ship that went into space following the end of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’. This is the follow-up to that.
In this film, the Hulk is wearing…gladiator armour?! I-I don’t…WHAT?! It was interesting to see how the Hulk ended up on the planet Sakaar where he takes part in a gladiator combat arena and battles Thor. The inspiration for this came from the 2006 comic storyline ‘Planet Hulk’ which I haven’t read.
There were times when the Hulk/Bruce Banner did get comedic, especially when he walked around naked for a bit, though thankfully not as much as Erik Selvig did. 😀 Bruce did seem a little wimpy at times. If only they did another ‘Hulk’ film with the Hulk as the main lead. He’s only had one in the ‘MCU’.
And there’s Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Thor and Loki’s father. And his role feels pretty reduced in this movie. I mean, based on the writing, this Odin feels a lot like the one from the first ‘Thor’ movie rather than the second. But Odin doesn’t do much since he dies pretty early on. Yeah! That happened!
Thor and Loki find Odin in Norway, Earth and he tells him Hela is coming. Then he dies. Pretty fast! Actually rather than dying, he ends up turning into pixie dust and floats away. Couldn’t he have stayed a while longer to help Thor and Loki with defeating Hela? It seemed like he was running away here.
To be fair, Odin does come back in scenes where Thor sees him in the afterlife. Odin gives Thor guidance as well as help him to discover the thunder powers within him. There are also the scenes early on where Odin is impersonated by Loki in his reign of Asgard before Thor discovers his true identity.
The film also features the return of Ray Stevenson as Volstagg; Zachary Levi as Fandral and Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, the Warriors Three. And they get killed early on by Hela. Huh. Thor didn’t even have a scene with them. In fact, where’s Jaimie Alexander as Sif? I didn’t see her in this movie!
There’s also Rachel House as Topaz, the Grandmaster’s bodyguard and there’s the director Taika Waititi himself as the gladiator Korg who befriends Thor. Taika Waititi also played Surtr, the fire demon, who gets voiced by Clancy Brown who was in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ film. That’s quite uncanny! 😀
The action sequences are pretty impressive in this movie. This is especially in the tournament fight between Thor and the Hulk as well as the climactic fight scenes where Thor, Loki and the others get the Asgardians to safety aboard a spaceship and escape their home once Ragnarok comes for them.
So, well done to director Taika Waititi there! The CGI effects are also pretty impressive. Hela has a gigantic dog/wolf called Fenris whom the Hulk eventually fights during the climatic battle scenes of the movie. I was astounded by how gigantic and fierce-looking that wolf dog appeared in the movie.
Mind you, whilst the action and the CGI effects are impressive, the film’s humour does dilute the drama and suspense of what’s going on. With Ragnarok as a horrific event for Asgard, things do get played for laughs. This is especially in terms of the music and where unusual songs get used in scenes.
Two songs come to mind. There’s ‘Immigrant Song’ by Led Zeppelin that gets performed twice in the movie. The only other time I’ve heard that song is in ‘Shrek the Third’. I’m surprised the film didn’t feature Princess Fiona and her ‘Charlie’s Angels’ princess friends from ‘Shrek 3’ to give Thor a hand. 😀
There’s also the incidental music of ‘Pure Imagination’ from ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’ played in the film. It does get silly when music tracks like those two get used for an action-packed spectacle like ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. I know this is meant to be a fun-spirited film, but not overly comedic.
There’s also quite a bit of bad language and blasphemy that didn’t need to be featured in the movie. Thor swears a bit. He must’ve picked that up when spending time with the Avengers as well as other humans on Earth. There’s also something called…the Devil’s Anus. Disney distributed this film, right?
The Blu-ray special features of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ are as follows. There’s the director’s intro by director Taika Waititi; ‘Getting In Touch With Your Inner Thor’; ‘Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie’; ‘Finding Korg’; ‘Sakaar: On the Edge of the Known and Unknown’; ‘Journey Into Mystery’; a gag reel; ‘Team Darryl’; ‘Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years – The Evolution of Heroes’; deleted scenes; an 8-bit sequence and an audio commentary with director Taika Waititi.
For me, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ isn’t a great movie as many others claim it. But I don’t find it awful. I actually find it a lot of fun. It has an overdose of humour that can’t be ignored, but I found it very entertaining to watch at the cinema as well as on DVD. It is certainly an enjoyable film to unwind to.
At this point, I did wonder if the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ was getting tired by this point. We’ve had a lot of movies year after year featuring Marvel superheroes to enjoy and there’ll be more to come in future years. But does it mean there isn’t a time coming when the ‘MCU’ will stop altogether?
In the mid-credits scene, Thor and the Asgardians are aboard the Grandmaster’s spaceship, heading off for Earth, before they get intercepted by a large spacecraft. In the post credits scene, the Grandmaster is overthrown and confronted by his former subjects. That scene was rather pointless.
‘THOR will return in ‘AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR’. Yes, that’s right! He will return for that movie! As well as ‘Avengers: Endgame’ where he’ll be overweight (you’ll see what I mean). And Thor will return in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ soon, only Natalie Portman will be Thor next. Not sure how that’ll work.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ rating – 7/10
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