Thor: Ragnarok Review

Thor: Ragnarok is the third Thor film and the seventeenth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Needless to say, the Thor movies are probably the more divisive films in the MCU. While the first Thor movie is generally well received. The Dark World is considered by many to be the worst entry in the franchise. While part of the Avengers, Thor is something of an afterthought. So now Thor is back with his third film and this time he brought along his fellow Avenger, The Incredible Hulk, with him. How does it fare?

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It is certainly the best Thor film but that is some faint praise. After the events of Age of Ultron, Thor went searching in the cosmos for more information about the Infinity Stones. This film picks up with him captured and casually dismissing what he left for. Quickly shifting things back to Thor events, Thor learns about Loki impersonating Odin and then the two brothers go searching for their father but ran afoul of Hela, the Goddess of Death. Things quickly shift again with Thor and Loki ended up stranded on planet Sakaar where The Hulk now resides but under the thumb of The Grandmaster. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it was. It does feel like two distinct films smashed into one that doesn’t fully come together.

Taika Waititi, known mostly for comedic films, takes control of this Thor movie and it is a distinctly different Thor movie. It has been touted as a comedy and while there are a lot of comedic elements, it rang more as an adventure romp than a comedy. The comedy was better in this film than this year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 but it took the wind out of a lot of stakes. Thor and Loki will have a dramatic conversation about their broken relationship and then a joke. This happens a lot in the film that it makes it hard to really care about some of the going ons.

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Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor and probably gives his best performance. They do deliver more of the comedic elements of the actor but he does have dramatic moments to help balance out. It is also better to have Thor take more charge of things instead of being at the whims of others. Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki and the character is the butt monkey of the movie. The studio doesn’t want him to be the villain that he was but know he can’t be forgiven or trusted so he is constantly getting belittled. Cate Blanchett comes in as Hela and is a basic MCU villain. If the actress wasn’t so charismatic, the character would one note. Tessa Thompson enters the franchise as Valkyrie and brings a nice new element as the enforcer for The Grandmaster with a connection to Asgard’s past. Jeff Goldblum is doing his typical Jeff Goldblum thing but in a way that is not obnoxious and still gets across the potential menace of his character. Idris Elba probably gets the most to do as Heimdall in this movie but it is still undeserving of the actor. Karl Urban is another actor deserving of much more as he serves a forgettable role as Skurge. Anthony Hopkins is pretty much a non entity as Odin. Mark Ruffalo gets his most to do since taking over the role of Bruce Banner/Hulk. Hulk is now a talking character and akin to a toddler while Banner shows a different side to him. There are some interesting questions brought up about the Banner/Hulk dynamic that will hopefully carry over to the upcoming Avengers films.

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Ragnarok is probably the most beautiful looking MCU film. There are bright colors and gorgeous looking sets. Even though Sakaar is a trash planet, there are some great looking designs. This is our third time seeing Asgard and it is a still a sight to see. The only questionable looking scene is one set on Earth at Norway. It is obvious that it was a reshoot with the shoddy CGI background that takes away some of the gravitas taking place during the scene.

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Overall, Thor: Ragnarok is a very good film. I will not say that it is great. It works as a soft reboot to the Thor character. It will be interesting to see where they take the character past this film. But as a whole, it’s a solid but heavily flawed film where the cracks become noticeable the more you think about it. The biggest problem coming out is, you still really have no idea who Thor is. Marvel Studios has dropped the ball with this character and franchise.

SCORE: 8/10

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Thor: Ragnarok Character Portraits Released

With tickets going on sale today for the November release, Disney released these characters portraits for the major characters

Chris Hemsworth Thor Odinson
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Mark Ruffalo The Incredible Hulk
Mark Ruffalo as The Incredible Hulk

 

Tessa Thompson Valkyrie
Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie
Tom Hiddleston Loki
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Cate Blanchett Hela
Cate Blanchett as Hela
Idris Elba Heimdall
Idris Elba as Heimdall
Anthony Hopkins Odin
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Jeff Goldblum The Grandmaster
Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster

Thor: Ragnarok Trailer Takeaway

I make no secret that I am not the biggest fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Liked the first one but really didn’t get the hype and not really excited about the upcoming Vol. 2. I love Spider-Man but with Spider-Man: Homecoming, this will be the sixth Spider-Man film and the trailers are cool but nothing really too exciting for me. Before Marvel Studios struck a deal with Sony to integrate Spider-Man into the MCU, Black Panther was scheduled to be released in 2017 and thus my most anticipated MCU film. But with that being delayed due to Spider-Man, my most anticipated MCU has become Thor: Ragnarok.

Thor was originally my favorite superhero in the MCU until Captain America slowly but surely supplanted that spot. As the movies continued, Thor continued to slide down the list of my favorites as they seemingly did not know what to do with the character. Since Thor is probably the most powerful Avenger, you have to take him out of most of the action scenes in those movies as he could seemingly end the conflict before it begins. The second Thor movie is just a case of mediocrity. So when Thor 3 became Thor: Ragnarok, my interest was piqued once again.

Thor’s Got His Helmet (Finally)

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Other than a quick shot in the first Thor, Thor has never worn his iconic helmet. I knew it was because of the studio wanting to show off Chris Hemsworth and his face but it makes no logical sense. They even had old Anthony Hopkins wearing Odin’s helmet more than Thor himself. If Thor is a warrior with long flowing hair, it would be best to keep his hair in check as it can be used against him. I don’t know how much Thor will be wearing his helmet but the fact that it’s featured in a lot of the promo imagery, hopefully a good chunk.

Hela

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You don’t get an actress like Cate Blanchett and just have her do nothing. This has been the biggest problems when it comes to the villains in the MCU. Great talent that is ultimately squandered. This does not seem to be the case with Hela in this movie as we frequently see her in the midst of doing something interesting. Whether it’s her destroying Mjolnir and taking on the armies of Asgard, it looks like she will be a villain who leads from the front. She will also be the first main big bad who is a woman which is a welcome change for the MCU. There are rumors she might stick around for future movies but she has already left an impression from the trailers…plus she wears Hela’s iconic and bizarre helmet.

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New Looks

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Hey you know Idris Elba has been in three MCU films? No? Can’t blame you if you didn’t because he’s something of an afterthought. That looks to be changing with this one as we see more of Idris Elba as Heimdall doing more than guarding something. He is also sporting some fancy new hair and look. This does lead me to believe that there might be some sort of time jump within the movie.

All the major returning characters also seemingly have new looks.

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There is also someone who has a new look but we’ll get to him next.

Gladiator Hulk

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We all knew it was coming and we finally got it. The Incredible Hulk in gladiator attire. The movie somewhat adapts elements from the popular Planet Hulk storyline. The biggest question is how in the world did Hulk get there? The last we saw of him, he was in a quinjet going who knows where. A line in Captain America: Civil War seemed to indicate that he was still on Earth. So a big question the movie will have to answer is how Dr. Bruce Banner got there and how long has he been there?

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Thor and Hulk Going Buckwild

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The biggest thing about Thor and Hulk is that they are two most powerful Avengers. So usually the fight scenes between the two of them have had to be limited. Either no one is really strong enough to take them on or the destruction they would cause would be too great. So what’s the best solution? Take both of them off world to face opponents equally as strong as they are. Also there looks to be a rematch between Thor and Hulk from The Avengers, a fight that was a bit underwhelming. So it looks like this movie will be taking full advantage of their new locales and new technologies available to them.

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Are you excited for Thor: Ragnarok? You can already tell that I am.

Thor: Ragnarok Teaser Trailer Released

Thoughts About Avengers: Infinity War

As of the events of Captain America: Civil War, The Avengers are no more. At least not in the way that we’ve gotten to know them in three movies. Captain America and the heroes who stood by him are now fugitives. Iron Man is in charge of The Avengers now with only The Vision by his side. War Machine is crippled, though there is a strong possibility that he can probably still function a suit. Spider-Man is something of a question mark as even though Iron Man was very pro registering, he still enlisted a teenage hero who clearly did not register. Black Widow is in the wind. The Hulk and Thor are dealing with more important things in outer space. So where does that leave the heroes when Thanos inevitably comes? How do the Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming Captain Marvel fit into this?

There is no doubt that the heroes will reunite by the time of the sequel of Infinity War. But what about the events in Infinity War? We know that Thanos has finally gotten off of his chair and is about to get the Infintiy Stones. There are many more movies by the time Infinity War comes around so even though Thanos is not announced as appearing in any movies until Infinity War, there is no doubt in my mind that Thanos will appear before then. I mean it’s not too hard to get Josh Brolin, the actor who plays Thanos, to come in for a day or two to do motion capture for the character and just plug Thanos into a movie. But that’s something I’ve talked about lately. 

Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel are going to be a masterclass in filmmaking. There are a lot of balls in the air and one mistake could mess up the whole thing. It not only has to acknowledge everything that has come before. It also has to set up the movies that come out after and in between its sequel. The Russo Brothers only had about a dozen characters to deal with in Captain America: Civil War. They have said they will be dealing with about four or five times more than that with these two films. One cannot envy their position. Maybe you do because this is something that is unprecedented and are breaking new ground. We will all know in May 2018.

Here’s a picture of Sean Gunn who does the motion capture for Rocket Racoon on the set. Check out the new logo

Why Thor: Ragnarok Is My Most Anticipated Marvel Movie of 2017

Thor is one of my favorite characters in all comics. His movie counterpart is not. While I highly enjoyed the first Thor movie, it has been scattered since then. He appears late into The Avengers and despite his brother being the main antagonist, he is not really a focal point. Thor: The Dark World is not a bad movie but it suffers from an identity crisis. Age of Ultron, Thor has to be taken out of many of the battles because he is so powerful he could probably ended the movie thirty minutes in. Plus his character probably got hurt the most by executive meddling as his scenes were devoted to setting up the larger MCU picture. So Thor is in need of a kick in the pants. 

Taika Waititi is a filmmaker that I’m familiar but not one that I can say I’m a fan of. So it was interesting to see that he would be directing the latest Thor movie. But after the Russo Brothers took on the Captain America franchise and took it to new levels, I am open to anything. One of his mission statements going into the movie is to make Thor the most interesting character. In his own movies, Thor tends to get overshadowed by Loki. Though Loki is in Ragnarok, it is unkown just as how much. 

Then there’s the added caveat of The Incredible Hulk. The Hulk due to some legal quagmires cannot have a solo movie. So the next best thing? Team him up in the Thor movie while adapting elements from the popular Planet Hulk storyline. Thor and Hulk trapped on a gladiator planet where even the two most powerful Avengers will have to fight for their lives and one another. The movie was described as something of a buddy road trip movie as Thor is left stranded on the other side of the galaxy. It won’t come as a surprise to see Thor drag Hulk with him as he will need all the help he can get to prevent Ragnarok.

The newcomers to the franchise are also exciting. Cate Blanchett will also be playing the first female big bad in the MCU, Hela. Academy Award winning actor winning certainly brings in a gravitas to whatever she is in. Tessa Thompson is one of the biggest up and coming actors is playing Valkyrie. Karl Urban will be playing Skurge the Executioner, someone who can take Thor on in a one on one fight. Jeff Goldblum is playing The Grandmaster who has ties to other MCU characters like The Collector and Thanos. These are all in addition to the already stellar cast from previous movies such as Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston. 

There’s still much we do not know about the movie. Just how does Hulk get involved? Will there be an Infinity Stone? How well can Waititi juggle all these different elements? Will this be the end f the Asgardians? These answers will certainly be answered November 3, 2017.
Plus: we get to see the return of Doctor Strange. The post credits scene between Strange and Thor was filmed for Ragnarok. 

2017 Needs To Be The Year of Thanos

Thanos, The Mad Titan, is the current big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We know that he is gathering the Infinity Stones. Their comics counterpart can be placed into ths Infinity Gauntlet and be used for complete domination of reality. It can be assumed that this is the goal of the movie version of Thanos as well. But that’s the thing…we know next to nothing about Thanos. I have already made my statements clear that I think Marvel Studios has tripped with their handling of the character. He has only made three appearances so far, his introduction in The Avengers, a small role in Guardians of the Galaxy where he was disrespected by an underling and the last in Avengers: Age of Ultron where he made a lackluster after credits appearance. 

Avengers: Infinity War is due to drop in 2018 so in 2017 Marvel Studios should really build up his threat. James Gunn, the writer/director of Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel has said that Thanos will not be appearing in Vol. 2. He also made the same statements about its predecessor but weeks before the movie was released, it was announced Josh Brolin would be appearing in the movie as Thanos. It’s an open secret that the Guardians will be in Infinity War so something has to bring them to the conflict. Gamora and Nebula are both the daughters (kidnapped children) of Thanos and Drax has a personal vendetta against him. The Guardians also know where one of the Infinity Stones is stored at.

Thor: Ragnarok is probably the most important movie linking to Infinity War. At the end of Age of Ultron, Thor set out to figure out who was behind the gathering of the Infinity Stones. It is also widely believed that the final Stone, the Soul Stone, will play a role in the movie. Loki, currently masquerading as Odin, also has access to the Tesseract aka the Space Stone. Loki was also loaned the Mind Stone (it is still up in the air if he knew that info) in The Avengers to find the Tesseract but failed. So he might have to return a favor to be back in Thanos’ good graces. 

Thanos has not been announced for any of these movies. But as with his other appearances, they can be uncredited. Since Thanos is a motion capture character, it would not require a lot to get Josh Brolin in for a day or two to do the role. But it is time to see Thanos actually do something. The most action we have deen is him sitting in his chair and putting on a gauntlet. We have seen characters refer to him as the most powerful character in the universe but that has not been conveyed. Most of his underlings including both of his daughters have outright betrayed him. Ronan the Accuser outright dissed him and yet no retaliation.

One of the biggest criticisms towards the MCU is how the villains are one note. Marvel Studios can really build up the threat of Thanos before his big opening in Avengers: Infinity War. They don’t really have to be much. Just small cameos in Guardians Vol. 2 and Ragnarok to show he is coming for what he covets and is not messing around anymore. There would be something really unfortunate if the big bad for the MCU turned out to be a dud. 

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

So a new year is upon us and thus that means a whole field of new movies to be released. Since it’s so early in the year, it’s a bit more questionable about the smaller releases in the year. So this list will primarily consist of the bigger movies but there will be smaller releases here and there:

10. The Founder – Honestly who hasn’t been to McDonald’s in their lifetime? So when a movie comes out about how McDonald’s was taken from a small chain to a worldwide franchise, it sparks my interest. As with most large corporations, there had to be shady dealings to get the company where it is today. Michael Keaton lately has never done wrong even in stuff like Need for Speed.

9. Logan – the suuposed final movie for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart as Logan/Wolverine and Professor Xavier. Much about the movie is unknown except that it will be R rated and feature a little girl and the Reavers.

8. Kingsman: The Golden Circle – the sequel to the surprise hit of 2015. I highly enjoyed the first movie and wonder where the sequel is going to go. All we know is that the Kingsman will be interacting with their American equivalents. 

7. Kong: Skull Island – well it is a movie about a giant ape. The largest version of Kong put to screen. 

6. Spider-Man: Homecoming – Spider-Man is one of my favorite heroes and this will be his first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

5. Get Out – as someone who’s been in a lot of interracial relationships, this kinda hits close to home. I think we’ve all been there where we visit our significant other’s family and you dont know how they’ll be. Now add in a horror element and you’ve got one of my most anticipated movies. 

4. Thor: Ragnarok – Thor + Hulk to stop the destruction of everything. Count me in

3. Wonder Woman – the premiere female superhero finally getting her own movie

2. Star Wars: Episode VIII – it’s no secret that I’m a Star Wars nut. So here we are with the continuing adventures of the Skywalker saga

1.  Justice League – I’m a fan of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice despite its flaws. The Justice League is my favorite superhero team. So even though people have been iffy on the DC Extended Universe, it will still be interesting to see how the premiere team of the DC Universe comes together on the big screen for the first time.