Dateline v. Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Rated PG-13: For Violence and Some Sensitive Themes

Running Time: 130 minutes (2 hours and 10 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superhero

Released on November 3, 2017 (US Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

"Thor" Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby

Based on "The Mighty Thor" by Walt Simonson, and "Planet Hulk" by Greg Pak

Writers: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost

Director: Taika Watiti

  • Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki Laufeyson
  • Cate Blanchett as Hela Odinsdottir
  • Idris Elba as Heimdall
  • Jeff Goldblum as En Dwi Gast / Grandmaster
  • Tessa Thompson as "Scrapper 142" / Valkyrie
  • Karl Urban as Skurge, The Executioner
  • Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / The Hulk
  • Anthony Hopkins as Odin Borson

We are back! We decided to take a look at probably the best movie Thor is featured in, as well as one of the most unexpectedly great solo superhero films last year, even ranking second place at our previous countdown.

The defendant has been accused of some minor offenses, including suffering from your typical Marvel Cinematic Universe cliches such as forced-in humor and underdeveloped characters. With God's good grace, we will get to the bottom of this. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and movie court is now in session for the case of Dateline v. Thor: Ragnarok.

Unlike what one of the characters in the film, the Grandmaster says, you are indeed loved, and not just in the planet Sakaar, but also in this website of ours. And to show you that we care, we want to give you a heads-up that thus review is filled with spoilers! Read at your own risk.

What is the movie about?

The fate of all of the Nine Realms hangs in the balance! Asgard is left unguarded, and unknown to its citizens, Loki, played by Hiddleston (Kong: Skull Island) has secretly taken the throne from his adoptive father Odin, played by Hopkins (Westworld), as all of their enemies have formed alliances of their own. That is not the only problem, however. Ragnarok, the end of worlds, is upon everyone, and the Goddess of Death Hela, played by Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) is about to reshape the entire universe in her own image.

Across the cosmos in the gladiatorial world of Sakaar, dominated by the eccentric Grandmaster, played by Goldblum (The Fly), the mighty Thor, played by Hemsworth (12 Strong), finds himself on a battle to the death against his own former teammate and friend, the Incredible Hulk, played by Ruffalo (Shutter Island).

With Asgard on the verge of destruction, Thor decides to form a team that comprises of him, the Hulk, a "Scrapper" working for the Grandmaster, played by Thompson (Creed), Heimdall, played by Elba, and even Loki himself, in order to beat the wrath of Hela and her lackey, Skurge, the Executioner, played by Urban (Both Elba and Urban appeared in Star Trek Beyond).

    What we think of the movie?

    The Defense:

    • It is the most visually distinct, and also visually creative among all of the Thor movies.
    Remember all the times in the previous Thor movies wherein you were forced to go through mundane, realistic set-pieces? Taika Waititi boldly told the former writers at those films that "realism" is completely not in Thor's vocabulary. After all, all of Thor's comicbook adventures are about the "Lord of Thunder" fighting intergalactic threats from the beyond, with some of them are on-par to what Doctor Strange would regularly face, and not going on dates with Jane Foster, who was played by Natalie Portman (Annihilation), although that one did inspire one decent comicbook run.

    All I can say about this movie is that it is just beautiful to behold. Taika Waititi really knows how to assemble a wide array of behind-the-scenes talents, from the cinematographers, to the costume and set designers, paint our wildest, geekiest dreams of a visual masterpiece. Although I will admit that there are some moments that show that the CGI is shaky, the spectacular work done on the Sakaar scenes, the introductory sequence at Muspelheim, to the final battle at Asgard, and the unforgettable character designs are enough to delightfully distract moviegoers. Let us also note the awesome costume designs, especially for the Sakaarian denizens.

    Kudos as well to Mark Mothersbaugh for giving us catchy, intergalactic background scores.

    • The cast is one of the best ensembles Marvel Studios has assembled!
    I remember one time while I was scrolling all across the Internet, I stumbled upon a comment that stated that the cast matched that of the one that you would typically expect from an Oscar calibre movie. They were not wrong though. I mean, we have Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban (who, up to this day, remains underrated), Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, who is fresh-out of the success of Creed, and the ever lively involvement of Jeff Goldblum. Now, tell me that this entire roster is not reminiscent of an Oscar-winning drama.

    As we said in the subheading, the cast is just awesome. Hemsworth finally gets the chance to shine just as bright as the scene-stealing Hiddleston with his comedic timing, while Blanchett does one heck of a job at delivering a menacing performance as Hela, and Goldblum brings his eccentric, heavily improvised energy, with a dash of comedic charm, to the table, adding much more flavor to an already delicious main course. Thompson is not far behind, as with finesse, she gets to make the debut of one of Marvel Cinematic Universe's latest superheroines incredibly memorable (her drunken entrance before capturing Thor is still one of my favorite scenes of hers). While their roles are limited to a few scenes, and some cliched roles, Urban and Ruffalo deliver some of the funniest scenes in the movie.

    I would also want to give credit to Taika Waititi for doing a rather impressive job in performing motion-capture for not one, not two, but three characters in the movie. These characters include Korg, obviously, Surtur, who is voiced by Clancy Brown (The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water), and as a Hulk stand-in. For the role of Korg, he makes use of experience with comedy to breath life to a more or less cliched brooding character in the comics, and turn it into a creation of his own.

    • The story is, surprisingly, effective, moment to moment.
    An MCU movie never really stuck close to my emotions as much as this one, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War, which is a surprise. Ragnarok added something that was never done before in the entire franchise, and that is making use of black comedy not as a means to make a character cooler on-screen, but to add some character depth. Fine, some of the comedy does feel oddly placed at first, but trust us, it works.

    Why did I find Hulk's scenes both tragic and funny? Because we get to realize that, being just an alter-ego for Bruce Banner, is just a spoiled child. Why did I find the Grandmaster both terrifying and alluring? Aside from the great performance from Goldblum, it is because through comedy, we see how dark and twisted, and also humorously ironic a villain can be, considering how he was just a cheery gentleman making quippy exchanges with his bodyguard, Topaz, played by Rachel House (The Hunt for the Wilderpeople), to cousin killer in seconds. And finally, my personal favorite. Why do I find that "Get Help" moment as the most memorable scene? Aside from it just being too ridiculous to believe at first, not only did we get to see the non-hostile brotherly bond between Thor and Loki that we saw in The Dark World, but also because we get to see that Loki has once again given in to temptation, leading him to the sad realization that Thor had, initially, lost faith in him actually being a decent person, much to his shame.

    I could also add that part when Hela reintroduced herself to an unfriendly Asgardian force, only for one of the Warriors Three, Hogun, played by Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer) to act like she is a nobody. For me, it is funny that for someone who just heard one lengthy monologue about her resume, he remained ignorant. However, with a much more in-depth analysis, this shows how tragic Hela's life has been. Forgotten by her biological father, and basically by the very kingdom that she served. If that is not heartbreaking for any of you, then you all must have stone cold hearts.

    • Thor evolves into a much more appealing character, in contrast to his previous bland portrayals.

    And lastly, this is arguably what Thor: Ragnarok did best: make Thor a likable character. Remove his mostly forgettable supporting cast, Mjolnir, and a whole bunch of other things that we believe that are essential to the making of Thor into who he truly is, and what we get is the perfect deconstruction of a deity slash alien who just happens to have human qualities. No longer were we seeing a half-baked character with a seemingly perfect life. This is now Thor at his best, from actually outsmarting Loki at his own game, to taking bigger risks to save Asgard, even having to summon a hellish creature just to kill the main antagonist.

    This also applies to Odin, who for two movies, simply acted as  Thor's benevolent guide, and that is pretty much it. This is also applicable for Heimdall, who was just kinda there at first. After being dethroned by Loki at the end of The Dark World, and after being found eventually, Odin comes clean that he is not the oh-so wise king that we were lead to believe, but rather, a flawed figure trying to escape the past. For Heimdall? He gets an upgrade from being the guard at the bridge, to the all-seeing leader of the Asgardian rebellion! Sadly still, the Warriors Three did not even get to have some development.

      The Prosecution:

      • Notable key characters are reduced to cannon fodder.
      This film really is surprising, to say the least, as it really did step-up its game. But like all great things, there will always be that one thing to mildly ruin the entire movie experience, and no, it has nothing to do with the humor, even if the film does make it feel strangely out-of-continuity. And like all previous MCU entries, Thor: Ragnarok falls victim to the tragic case of wasting some of its major characters to mere cannon fodder.

      In this case, not only are the supporting characters, in the form of the Warriors Three, and even the villains Hela and Skurge, plus Surtur, are pretty much wasted. At the very least, Hogun gets to have an epic fight scene, while Hela and Skurge had some moments of awesome, despite some cliched story arcs, the other Warriors, Fandral, played by Zachary Levi (Shazam!), and Volstagg, played by Ray Winstone (Punisher: War Zone) are killed very early, with Fandral not even getting to say a single line. Surtur, the most dangerous enemy that Asgard has ever faced, is killed at the end, as a means to tie-up all lose ends.

      Well, as much as I want some of these characters to make a comeback, there really is nothing left but to accept it.

      And also, did anybody at all notice that Lady Sif, played by Jamie Alexander (Blindspot) is nowhere to be seen? That leaves enough room for a possible return.

      The Ruling: Not Guilty!

      While its oddball brand of comedy might alienate some, Thor: Ragnarok is a welcome retooling of the God of Thunder, fueled by a confident direction, magnetic performances, and a surprising amount of heart.

      And there you have it, your long overdue review of the last film in the Thor trilogy, which it is a shame since only now did Thor actually get to have a decent film. Oh well. We might as well make it last, since we might be seeing a lot of the newly introduced characters from this film to be butchered during the events of Avengers: Infinity War, which is out next month. I am praying to God almighty right now to spare some of them, including Heimdall, Valkyrie, and Korg, and his lovable insect friend Miek, who is actually a monstrous villain in the comics.

      Before we officially conclude this review, please enjoy the latest clips from the "Team Thor" shorts, featuring the Grandmaster himself, and without Thor. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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