Thor: Ragnarok

I read the New York Times and when they review a film like this, someone invariably writes in the comments “Why do you even review it if you hate films like this so much?” And I have to say I’m starting to feel a little like that… I’m not really into this type of film (although I do invariably see them all) so… why write a review saying how tepid and bland I find it, rather than just say nothing and let all the people who are into it go on without me?

Much has been written about how this film is a huge departure for Marvel because it has such a goofy sense of humor. And maybe if you’re completely steeped in these films you see some kind of distinction? To me it’s Vanilla Bean vs Vanilla. I guess there are slight differences, but ultimately it’s exactly the same Marvel movie with brighter colors and a few more of the exact same kind of laughs they’ve been trafficking in for a while. I hate to be a spoilsport, but I really just don’t see that much difference.

I was looking forward to Cate Blanchett in the villain role, but she isn’t given much to do, although what she does, she does with relish. Karl Urban is wasted in a role with no depth. The most recent mass shooting came to mind as Urban picks up two machine guns and blows away countless faceless hordes. Maybe Hollywood is superficially “progressive,” but its products sure do encourage a lot of gun-love. It’s nice to see Chris Hemsworth be recognized for his comedic abilities, and he looks good with short hair. Unfortunately his pairing with Hulk does nothing to advance either character, and yields surprisingly few benefits. Tessa Thompson is the only thing that stands out, which is impressive, since the whole thing, filled with so many jokes and cast members, just kind of all cancel each other out and, counter-intuitively, create something boring and unmemorable.

As for humor, this is essentially Guardians of the Galaxy. As for visuals, it’s a bit of Doctor Strange (who shows up for a useless cameo here.) As for everything, it’s pure Disney: a formula for giving the largest amount of consumers EXACTLY what the largest amount of consumers want. And through all of its acquired brands, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel, Disney seems to produce movies that are “good” insomuch as they tick off all the things focus groups want. Sure, they’re uninspired, largely indistinguishable and lack any trace of individual or artistic vision, but that’s what makes for a “good” mass-produced product.


One thought on “Thor: Ragnarok

  1. I love how the many thinkpieces about what a subversive post-colonial critique this movie (secretly) is all begin with a paragraph of throat-clearing apology along the lines of, “Yes, we know it’s a corporate product, but…” as if admitting the politics of postcolonial critique (or at least aspects thereof abstractable into slogan) have also been coopted by capitalism… Kind of like how the boilerplate plea on many sites to disable your browser’s adblocker now takes the tone of “Hey, we all know ads suck, but just watch and don’t be an asshole about it, OK?”


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