Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok ★★★

Despite my general disinterest in the MCU, I let Amazon's Prime Day $1.99 rental lure me into watching this last night. Fun in spots, but wildly uneven in tone, pinballing between flatly delivered comedy, half-baked family drama, and the titular apocalyptic final battle for "Assberg".

I probably got the most enjoyment out of the musical cues: Thor battling the demon Surtur to the throbbing Sturm und Drang of Zep's "Immigrant Song"* and Willy Wonka's "Pure Imagination" playing in the background as he's on his way to meet the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum at his most lackadaisical). I also dug Mark Mothersbaugh's bouncy 8-bit synth score.

The comedy aspect didn't really work for me, however. The timing and delivery was sporadic: Hulk smash good, but Bruce Banner not do stand-up very well. Goldblum seemed to be phoning it in, but Taika Waititi's rock creature made me chuckle a couple of times.

Cate Blanchett was clearly having fun chewing up the Kirby-esque scenery as the evil, but murkily-motivated Hela, Goddess of Death and Totally Impractical Headpieces. Anthony Hopkins briefly appears as sort of a cross between the ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi and Jim Morrison's Indian spirit guide from Oliver Stone's "The Doors". I half-expected him to be wearing a loincloth and wielding a lightsabre.

The ending kind of bothered me though. The destruction of Asgard seemed to be almost an afterthought, and didn't carry a whole lot of emotional weight. Watching your entire civilization being destroyed, while barely shedding a tear, then mouthing some platitudes along the lines of "Wherever you go, there you are," didn't really cut it for me.

As diversions go, this was fine, but unremarkable. Certainly better than its abysmal precursor, "Thor: The Dark World."

*- a tune which I will forever associate with Viking Kittens

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