Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok – never again

 ===>>> SPOILERS AHEAD <<<===

As much as I often sound like a snobbish movie reviewer, I yearn — yearn, I tell you — for good entertainment. Every year, the film industry takes a wack at making me happy . . . and fails miserably. Well, OK, Wonder Woman was entertaining and less objectionable than most movies.

“What credentials do you have to review movies?”

A fair question . . . well, Bob — if that is indeed your name — all you have to do is click on any of the links at the bottom of this post and you can read my previously witty and insightful reviews of popular and not-so-popular movies — likely, wittier and more insightful than this review as I’m older and hence less driven to perfection.

You should at least read the Thor and Thor: The Dark World reviews before reading this review.

As a rule, sequels are a bit like the chili joke. What do you mean, “What chili joke?” Look, I don’t have time right now. Got me a review to write, but I’ll add the joke after all the links, OK? OK. 

Anyway, Thor: Ragnarok . . . I’ll save you the suspense; we both hated it. I mean, there was one, and only one, bright moment — we find out that Thor and Jane Foster have split up. I actually got up and did a little dance of joy. It’s OK, we were in the last row. 

I’ll go into some of the reasons why we hated it, but a better question is why did we go to see it at the theater? After all, our dislike for watching movies at the theater is well documented. In this case, we shelled out $17 for the tickets and then *gasp* we opted to spring for popcorn (a first in many years). A medium popcorn container with about 3¢ worth of popcorn for a mere $8.01 . . . and this was in US dollars, not that fake foreign money. Do you know what you can buy for $8.01? Well, not a large popcorn, for one. But, add another $1 and you can buy six malasadas. Six! Malasadas!

We were at the theater because we were fooled by favorable comments that crossed our paths. I saw comments from people I read that said things like “. . . enjoyed it like if I was 12 again, grinning ear to ear!” Well, heck, I want to be twelve again. I mean, I can’t get my grin to go from ear to ear, but I can imagine the feeling (like, dude, you better not have chapped lips or you’re in for some serious hurt). Melisa actually read a few reviews (I avoid them as I prefer going in fresh) and I looked at a few trailers. Indications were all to the positive.

If you read my review of the second Thor movie, you know I said they would not fool me again . . . but they did.

So, here’s the thing . . . the word puerile comes to mind. That, essentially, is the quality that makes 12-year-olds grin ear-to-ear (boys, mostly, as girls have (a bit) more class). Or, maybe, callow. Also, infantile.

The argument is often made that these movies are aimed at teens . . . but, the reviews Melisa read and the comments that crossed my path here and there were all from adults. That’s right, unlike some judges, I have no contact with teens . . . I have a few teens that follow my blog, but I don’t follow them back. Once I realize someone is sub-20s, I high-tail it out of there. Sure, they would benefit immensely from the vast stores of wisdom I could dispense, but it would just be creepy, you know?

Anyway, where to start? How about the opening scene? As Thor was hanging there all chained up and slowly turning, they repeated the same joke three times. Three times! And then, they capped it off with another joke. And then, long and pointless CGI and the introduction of Bones, from Star Drek . . . er . . . Star Trek (which reminds me, I still owe Star Trek: Beyond a sound thrashing). Again, pointless humor (and, I might add, especially in bad taste, but I cannot fault the movie-makers for their poor timing relative to the Texas church massacre), more pointless CGI and still more humor for kids who grew up watching people get slimed in some Nickelodeon show. Puerile. Callow. Infantile.

Then . . . the play reenacting Loki’s supposed death. I can’t even describe the scene because it was so idiotic and — I might add — so obviously out of character for Odin that everyone should have known, as Thor did, that this wasn’t the real Odin. At best, they should have suspected that Odin had gone senile. But, no . . . everyone seemed shocked, shocked, I tell you, that this buffoon was in fact, Loki. Also, I’m disappointed at Damon for partaking in the joke. I could understand the “other Hemsworth” playing Thor’s role, but the only reason for Damon’s cameo is because he and Hemsworth are friends.

We’re not even ten minutes into the movie and Melisa and I glance at each other with our “What have we done!?” look. I mean, we still had some popcorn left; we couldn’t leave.

Here’s the thing that is constant in all the Thor movies. Thor — Hemsworth — sells it. He’s a natural for the part and when he’s acting, it doesn’t seem forced. He brings a realism to the scene, making you forget you’re watching a comic translated into real-action movies.

He did that here, and in almost every scene, he’s the one whose anchoring us to the seats, hoping that we’re actually going to see a proper movie. But no. The moment we stop cringing from one stupid joke and begin to think that perhaps they are done, Baam! . . .  they hit you up with the next puerile, callow, infantile scene.

I say that because the next scene has Thor and Loki arriving on Earth looking for Odin. And before you know it, Dr. Strange is in the picture. Literally. And then all sorts of pointless visual jokes take place before Dr. Strange sends them to Norway. We know it’s Norway because there’s a cliff overlooking the ocean.

So here, you now have three actors doing a scene without any stupid jokes. There’s exposition (kind of sketchy, but OK) and pathos and the inevitability of growing old, and abusive parents keeping a problem child locked up in a prison for what must have been thousands of years. You know, the typical modern family. Then, Odin goes up in smoke, presumably having died and becoming one with cosmic dust.

That’s when Galadriel shows up wearing a Halloween costume and being all snarky-like. She says her name is Hela. Queen of Death, with an upper-case “D”.

This is where I got a bit pissed off.  Hela destroys Mjolnir. I would be even more pissed later, but for now, let’s just say I didn’t like the show getting rid of my favorite hammer. That’s like Superman having to wear his underwear on the inside; it just ain’t right!

For me, this is where the movie began to derail in earnest. The next scenes we have juxtapositioned scenes of Hela killing Asgardians left and right and Thor making snarky jokes in between trying to look like he cared that Odin has died, his hammer got broken, and his precious Asgard is being leveled. While he’s cracking jokes and being played as comic relief, Hela kills the Warriors Three. I presume Sif, Goddess of War was away getting a bunch of tattoos . . . no, wait, I think that series was canned. Nope . . . Blindspot is still on; Sif is starring on a TV show on Earth.

One of the problems with this whole section of the movie is Jeff Goldblum. There is no movie the man can’t ruin, but here, it wasn’t entirely his fault. I mean, someone cast him, he didn’t just walk into the set one day and started doing what for him passes for acting.

Goldblum’s character exemplified what I found most annoying with the movie; you didn’t know if it wanted to be an action movie, and action comedy, a comedy, or a goofball comedy.

I also hated what they did with the Hulk. And Banner. Basically, they cartoonized the characters. I mean, Banner/Hulk were already cartoons — having come from there — but in the Avengers, both characters grew to be more than two-dimensional offerings. Here, they took massive steps backward, and all for the sake of pointless CGI action in a pointless plot side-trip that served to introduce even more comic relief characters.

But you know what really pissed me off? Thor is the God of Thunder . . . and this little disk that shoots a bit of electricity into his neck can paralyze and control him. Tell me why he couldn’t fry it with a lightning bolt. Tell me why a small electric charge would do anything to the nervous system of a god who can grab lightning from the sky and wield it as a weapon.

I mean, yes, gods are notoriously ineffective — they can’t even steer a tornado away from small towns and trailer parks — but this sucked as a plot device. Valkyrie, too, is not immune from criticism. What was overall a good performance was often marred by instances of mannerism straight out of a modern-day US TV sit-coms. Too bad that, because it was otherwise a strong character ably played.

So, we have what seems interminable scenes not knowing if they wanted to be puerile, callow, infantile or if they had some thought of bringing to light the gravity of a whole population being slaughtered. By the way, as far as I could tell, there couldn’t have been more than 127 Asgardians left, although the numbers occasionally swelled to 263 and at one point might have been as much as 307.

Eventually, Thor and Loki and a ragtag band of would-be heroes make it back to Asgard and face Hela. And this is where again I got pissed off. You see, Thor loses an eye. That’s not what pissed me off . . . what pissed me off is that in the middle of the fight with Hela, the one-eyed Thor finds himself back in Norway for a pep-talk with Odin who tells him that Mjolnir was no big thing; it was just a prop to help Thor, God of Thunder, focus his powers . . . which he can now do without Mjolnir.

Do you know what’s written — what was written — on the side of Mjolnir?

“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”

Aside from that being counter to what Odin says, there’s also a painting of Hela wielding the Mjolnir in battle. That painting is said to be from before Thor was born. Again; Superman, underwear inside, not right.

So Thor gathers all his power and hits her with everything he’s got . . . and it doesn’t do much.

Well, we know our heroes win the day (and I think Loki steals the Tesseract, so we know that will come into play again), and do so by destroying Asgard, the source of Hela’s power. The remainder of the Asgardians then head to Earth — Norway, I think — where I’m sure there will be a tie-in to the next Avengers movie . . . which we won’t watch.

By the way, Bones, who, out of self-preservation, had gone over to the dark side, redeems himself by whipping out a pair of M-16s — each with what looked like 30-rounds magazines — and shooting about 4,000 rounds at the bad guys, thus saving some children. I wish movies studios would get at least the simple things right about guns.

By the way 2, why were all the Asgardians dressed like refugees? I thought the place was like uber-rich and an idyllic playground for people living the good life. Did they all decide to change into rags when Hela arrived on the scene?

It seems like I’ve been writing for hours, but it’s only 2,300 words or so. If I really wanted to rip this movie a new one, I could write a bunch more stuff . . . but I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone. I mean, apparently many, many people like it.

Personally, I’m done with the Marvel Universe. Save for The Winter Soldier, ALL of their sequels have sucked and were tremendous disappointments. OK, not to the level of Titanic or Avatar or Kick-Ass 2, but up there in suckiness just the same.

No more, and this time, I mean it.

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If you enjoyed this review, here’s a not-complete list of my past movie reviews (there are more, and if you make it through this list, let me know and I’ll link more stuff).

If you hated this review and my style of writing, here’s a not-complete list of my past movie reviews that perhaps you might like better (there are more; if you hate all of these as well, let me know and I’ll link more stuff for you to hate).

District 9      Book of Eli      Clash of the Titans        Sherlock Holmes       Avatar

Various – 2010 Part 1     Various – 2010 Part 2       Thor     Watchmen     Kick-Ass

The Avengers     Various – 2012     Pacific Rim     I, Frankenstein       Elysium & Kick-Ass 2

Thor: The Dark World       Guardians of the Galaxy      Kingsman      Avengers 2

Dr. Strange      Rogue One

Wow! That is a whole bunch of reviews and — like I said — it’s not even all of them. I also review some TV series in addition to more movies. But, really, that should keep readers occupied for a while.

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And, now, the chili joke:

A man enters a cafe, sits down and notices that the special of the day is cold chili.  When the server comes to take his order, he says, “I’ll take the cold chili.”

“I’m sorry, the gentlemen next to you got the last bowl,” says the server.

“Oh,” the man replies, “I’ll just have coffee, then.”

After a while, the man notices that the guy next to him has not touched the still-full bowl of cold chili and is finishing a rather large meal.

He asks, “Are you going to eat that?”

The other man replies, “No.”

“Would you sell it to me?”

“You can have it for free if you want it.”

So the man takes the bowl of chili and begins to eat it. When he gets about halfway through the bowl, he notices a dead mouse in the bowl and pukes the chili right back into the bowl.

The other man says sympathetically, “That’s about as far as I got, too.”

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That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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