Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok ★★½

Feels like 3 very different half-baked movies slapped together of altering ideas of what the characters should be rather than one cohesive story, and is somehow simultaneously undercooked and overthought. It's like they got the window dressing right and forgot to put in the glass. There's just a few too many narrarive elements thrown in for the sake of checking off a list of "what we need in a Marvel film" rather than what actually feels right in the narrative. Even something as simple as a bad guy is clumsy. Jeff Goldblum as one of the villains is a lot of fun, turning his Goldblumness up to 11, but instead the main antagonist is Blanchett who doesn't have much to do at all, and every second cutting back to her feels like someone changing the channel to a different program.

Taika is obviously having fun playing in this world, and for better or worse has a complete disregard for the existing architecture the previous films had built and attempt to insert himself into the film (quite literally). There's a level of wreckless abandoment that can be appreciated in a franchise framework like this, but a lot of this is almost harmful to the strong elements of the other films. I kinda like the first Thor film for the dopey endearment of it's characters (such as Thor's warrior friends) who instead get 2 seconds of screentime and instantly killed and be replaced with Karl Urban's Kiwi accented bland character with the most boring arc possible. There was just a shockingly lack of love for any of the characters, and no reason to care for anyone or anything. Chris Hemsworth is just a completely different character here than he is in any of the Marvel films, not in terms of character growth, but instead tranformed into a complete clumsy goofball with some dry NZ humour. And the humour itself is ridiculously hit-and-miss, with the first act of the film leaving me extremely worried for what was to come. Thankfully the humour clicked a lot more as the movie went on and ended up being what saved the film from being bad.

I've long accepted it doesn't matter who directs Marvel films anymore, as they all fundamentally have to be the same movie by commitee. Even a filmmaker with a strong a personality as Taika Waititi can't break away from the formula. And unfortunately, even when it does shine through, a lot of the time it feels detrimental to the core of the movie. Just another one out of the assembly line, except this one has some proper jokes.

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