TL;DR Review: No no no no for the love of god no.
Nothing but spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Thor Ragnarok is an embarrassment of a movie on so many levels, I don’t hardly know where to begin. Director Taika Waititi and writers Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost should be thoroughly embarrassed by their mishandling of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Let’s knock some of the easy stuff out first, like their complete and utter misunderstanding of Dr. Banner / Hulk. Hulk is the personification of rage. When Dr. Banner gets so angry he loses control of his emotions he turns into The Hulk, who goes off into an uncontrollable rage to fix whatever needs to be fixed usually involving smashing things, killing bad people, and causing lots and lots of mayhem. But rage, by definition almost, can’t be sustained for ever. It’s like an adrenaline shot. But in this godforsaken movie, Banner has been in Hulk mode for two whole years. Further more, he’s not ragey at all. The Hulk is reduced to being the grumpy, embarrassing roommate. And Dr. Banner, in all of the other Mavel movies is shrewd, smart, principled, and unafraid. In this movie? He’s a sniveling paranoid wimp. What the hell?
I’m not expert on the cannon of the Thor comics, but just watching all the other Marvel movies, I know that a) only someone with a worthy heart can pick up Thor’s hammer and b) he channels energy, especially thunder and lightning through is hammer. Both of these rules of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are destroyed in this movie. In what way is Hela worthy enough to hold the hammer? Much less destroy it? And when have we ever seen Thor summon lightning except through the hammer? Yes, Odin says in this movie that Odin never really needed that hammer, but he doesn’t then say what the real purpose of the hammer is. And wasn’t the whole point of the first Thor movie that Thor wouldn’t get his powers until he was worthy of them?
And Loki, who for two movies now has been hell-bent on seeing Asgard fall, suddenly feels the need to stop the destruction? Why isn’t he cheerleading from the bleachers?
But the real travesty is Thor himself. For no particular reason at all, they decided to write in some scene where The Grand Master on Sakaar decides to cut off Thor’s iconic long hair and give him some funny buzz cut, Why is this necessary? Why mess with the iconic look? Apparently because in this movie no icons are sacred. So hammer gone. Hair gone. What else sets him apart. How would you recognize Thor from any other armor clad dude walking down the street. Well, for one thing, he carries himself like a god and he talks and acts like one. But oh not in this movie. There is nothing noble, or principled, or god-like about Thor in this movie. In fact, I’m just going to say it, he looks and acts more like Peter Quill in this movie than Thor.
This is especially egregious considering this whole movie is about the fulfillment of the prophecy of the doom of his planet and his people and it’s about him accepting the responsibilities of being king and protecting his kingdom and its peoples. Yes he shows up to fight Hela and he helps rescue his people, but the conflict is all flash and action. There’s no blood and guts conflict with Hela. And more to the point, I counted exactly zero tears shed over the loss of his homeland, where he has presumably lived for thousands of years. Live someplace that long and you might develop a fond attachment to it and the memories there. Plus, you know, all his comrades have been slaughtered. Maybe he might feel sorry for them to have fallen in battle, or at least honored them in some way?
Speaking of tears. Isn’t it interesting that Thor and Loki have the exact same reaction to their Father’s death, which is to say, barely no reaction at all? How could Loki, who has spent two movies trying to overthrow Odin, have the same emotional reaction that Thor did? I’ll tell you how. The writers and directors are completely tone-deaf on the emotional lives of these characters and their history.
Speaking of tone-deaf, I think that may be my problem with the whole movie. I’d read that this movie was different from other marvel movies and that the scenes look more like oil paintings. That really got me interested. I was looking forward to a battle of gods and a visual treatment that recalled a sense of the heavens fighting each other. And to be fair, there were one or two shots like that. But the vast majorty of the movie was silly and sophomoric. The Devil’s Anus for god’s sake! How hilarious that our heroes have to escape Sakaar by traveling through the Devil’s Anus. So funny I forgot to laugh. (and oh by the way, if it is ever explained why random space junk continuously falls from the sky on Sakaar I missed it. And why oh why would the Grand Master choose Sakaar to set up shop there?)
This movie could have been an epic, heroic battle of gods and big ideas on screen. But it wasn’t. It’s like giving a bunch of three year olds a handful of actions figures they’ve never seen before and telling them to make up a story about them.