If the World Series has taught anything it is that it is impossible to carry momentum indefinitely. Marvel is about to discover that axiom this weekend with their release of the third Thor movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thor Ragnarok. The MCU now features seventeen films that have enjoyed almost universal success. They have all made huge box office and generated a great fan following, but as with any franchise, there are those who rank the films from best to worse and the two previous Thor movies almost always rank toward the bottom of the list. Ragnarok will premier below even them.
One of the things that has endeared the MCU movies to the fans is a tangible sense of humor. None of the films, even the most dramatic of them, takes itself too seriously and all have been peppered with more than a few snappy one liners that have become the hallmark of the MCU and something the DCEU has been lacking. But as with anything good, someone will always ask for too much of a good thing.
No spoilers here, but the term Ragnarok refers to the destruction of Asgard and Thor spends the film trying to avert that destruction, which seems assured as Hela, played by Cate Blanchet, lays waste to the Asgardian defenders and casts Thor out. Our hero must rally a team to defeat Hela and save Asgard, so he happens upon the Hulk and a disgraced Asgardian Valkyrie to enlist their help.
Ragnarok has a lot going for it. It features not only Thor and Loki, but also the Hulk engaging in a battle royal with nothing less than the future of Asgard in the balance. But with all the action, the studio went overboard with the one liners. Thor has not one whit of his serious, responsible attitude so often displayed in both his previous films but also in the Avengers movies. This Thor spends most of this film wise cracking and making poor jokes. Even the Hulk, who talks more in this movie than in all other MCU films combined, if full of wise cracks. Add Jeff Goldblum as the near maniacal Game Master and the silliness reaches nauseating levels. The teaser trailer should have been an indication of the level of silliness when Thor turns to the Game Master and says of Hulk “We know each other! He’s a friend from work.”
With all the wanton destruction (and there is plenty) it is difficult to feel the sense of loss that by all rights should have the audience near tears when the cast is so busy whipping out one liners. I found it difficult to enjoy this film and found myself sighing a lot during the two-and-a-half hour show, wishing it would wrap up. That is not an indication of a good movie. Thor Ragnarok is the worst film of the Thor films, which are the worst films of the MCU. It is a shame. It is also a shame that the next entry to have to swing the momentum back is a movie featuring the little known Black Panther in February before the next Avengers movie.