Before the inevitable battle of the bands that is Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios has to first bring the dysfunctional members together. They rounded up a lot of the main contenders with Captain America: Civil War, plus they recently got the Guardians of the Galaxy for the opening act. 

But what about Thor and Hulk, the band's proverbial headliners? Answering this question is the biggest reason Thor: Ragnarok exists. 

Considering it has the end of a world in its title, director Taika Waititi has made light of the subject matter. No longer does the Thor franchise wear a serious face while tackling loose Norse mythology. Instead, it acts as though the past two movies never happened and rips complete chapters directly from the Guardians of the Galaxy formula.


Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

The movie mostly takes place on the futuristic junk world of Sakaar. After suffering a grim defeat and losing his hammer at the hands of the goddess of death Hela, bearded Avenger Thor finds himself an unwilling participant in the universe's largest fight club. In order to get back and save Asgard from impending doom, the fastest way home is though the Hulk's big green fists.

If the plot doesn't sound like a traditional Thor movie, wait until you see the delivery. The foreign planet oozes traces of cyberpunk and science fiction. It feels like a seedier part of the Star Wars galaxy, with a soundtrack to match. Flying vehicles, dumpster-diving aliens, freaky space weapons - all overseen by a Grandmaster who looks and acts a lot like Jeff Goldblum.


Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

At the center of all this stands a band of unlikely allies. People are already familiar with Thor, Loki, and the Hulk, but the addition of Valkyrie helps establish a connection between Sakaar and the rest of the "normal" Marvel universe. It doesn't completely work however, as the planet serves as more of a backdrop for the film's many action sequences than anything else.

Apart from the kooky planet and techno soundtrack, the biggest departure from the series' formula comes in the form of humor.

The movie has tons of it. From the opening scene where Thor speaks to the audience, to the inevitable after-credits sequences, the jokes in the script far outnumber the serious conversations. They don't always work, but it just goes to show how Marvel Studios can make light of any situation - even the end of a world.


Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

This is where things start to get a bit divisive. Thor: Ragnarok isn't a bad movie, but it doesn't feel like a proper fit for the Thor character.

Thor is a prince trying to find his place in the universe while keeping both his home and other people safe. He isn't known for participating in intergalactic space wrestling or cracking jokes at inopportune moments (even though being the god of thunder means he would be louder than an indoor firecracker). While it does make for an entertaining watch, a lot of the franchise's personality seems to have been lost in the tone shift.

[MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW]

Take for example the aforementioned opening scene. While Thor narrates his past adventures, the audience discovers he is talking to a skeleton. Though humorous in its implications, Thor wouldn't really be talking to an inanimate object whist imprisoned.

[SPOILERS END]

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

Things take a 360-degree turn when the humor and freaky space shit get dialed down for the final fight. It feels as though Thor and pals took a two-hour long ride through a kaleidoscope only to be brought back to a Hela-va homecoming (heh).

Speaking of Hela, her tone of speech and motives to return Asgard back to its warring glory are a testament to what the past Thor films were going for. She and the rest of Asgard feel more like traditional "Thor" characters, while Thor's group has an air of teenagers who have caught up with the times. This would be fine, all things considered, but the marriage between the two styles doesn't seem to work as intended.


Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

There are also some issues which are never addressed; the biggest of which is Loki's change from murderous villain to unlikely ally. His presence shifts from that of an unpredictable bad guy to a dashing rogue. Apart from that, former gatekeeper Heimdall's absence and the inclusion of the craven Skurge are portions of the film which aren't fully explained or explored.

Seeing as this is the fifth time Chris Hemsworth has graced the Marvel universe with his Norse abs, it's nice to see the franchise try to freshen things up for the second strongest Avenger. I'm just unsure if this was the way to go about it.

Thor: Ragnarok is worth watching since it clears up both his and the Hulk's sides of the story before Infinity War drops a deuce next year. It isn't what you would expect from a Thor movie, but with the end of a world at hand, there are worse things that could happen.


About the author: Carlos Zotomayor

Zoto can see your underpants. Mmm... tasteful.


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