Wisdom from the Utterly Stupid: Thor Ragnarok

Or, in this case, more stupid and less wisdom, because it was all utterly stupid and therefore, zero wisdom to be had

*cough*

Hello, people, it’s me again. Yesterday my family went to see Thor: Ragnarok in the theater, and seeing as I’ve once again totally dropped the ball on preparedness for my weekly post, I thought I’d type out a nice little review for no other reason than my own personal need to vent. Which means you get to be the victims of a Sarah Baran spew on story-quality! Lucky you.

BEFORE WE BEGIN, let me assure you that there are NO spoilers, but more Loki gifs than is probably healthy.

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I’m not apologizing. For once, they’ll actually apply, and I intend to take full advantage of that.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I do suggest you turn tail and flee for your lives. Because honestly? This isn’t a pleasant review. If you have your heart set on hearing good things about Ragnarok, you ain’t gonna hear them from me. You’ve been warned.

Now. Let’s begin.

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So… Ragnarok.

Um…

It was kinda horrible

I am aware that this statement will probably earn me hate mail, and more than a few angry mobs with pitchforks and other assorted farming implements trying to burn my house down. Apparently, some people consider this the best, funniest, most brilliant Marvel film yet.

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I really don’t want to force my opinions on you. However, that is exactly what I’m about to do, because, you know, “freedom of speech” and “I can do what I want on my blog” and “you don’t have to listen if you don’t want to hear sense” and all that jazz. So here’s the deal: Thor: Ragnarok was only lacking in one area of story development, but that one element was enough to sink the entire ship:

Depth.

You know how everyone feels complete indifference towards Thor—the hottie with a magic hammer and hair almost as good as Legolas’—while they love Loki with every ounce of their being? The reason behind this is depth. Loki has it; Thor does not. There are no inner conflicts that set Thor apart from all the other nondescript, honorable, hair-blowing-in-the-breeze type heroes, no complexities that snag our attention and gain our sympathy. Loki, on the other hand…

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Hoo boy.

We all knew that something had to be done with dear old Thor, or, come Infinty War, he was going to single-handedly defeat Thanos by boring the poor guy into oblivion. And so, in the attempt to salvage Thor’s image and hopefully recreate it, Taika Waititi, the director of Ragnarok, took an entirely different approach to the god of thunder. Instead of building on the preexisting character, he wiped out anything and everything that could possibly be traced back to the original hero and started over again from scratch.

It all went. Thor’s hammer, his hair, his girlfriend, his father, his beautiful Shakespearean language—sheesh, even Asgard was blown out from under him. In the shambles of a deleted character, an attempt was made to rebuild him from the ground up. Rebuild him as someone new and interesting, someone jaunty and fun, someone that catches the audience’s eye. The director’s secret weapon to achieve this?

Jokes.

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I would be a terrible hypocrite if I said I don’t appreciate funny characters. Believe me, the likes of Flynn Rider and Han Solo have made lasting impressions upon my heart. But making humor a character’s entire foundation isn’t enough to make him interesting. You can give any character a few snarky quips and a maniacal grin, throwing in a couple of green capes and golden helmets on the side—but he still wouldn’t be Loki. Loki isn’t defined by his exterior appearance, flashy as it may be. Nope, what really makes Loki a fantastic character is what you don’t see. The struggles and insecurities. The desperate need to be valued and accepted by his father.  The bitterness of feeling like he’d been betrayed. The desire to hold himself accountable to no one. The conflicts of Loki’s heart are what really make him… well… him.

Like I said: Depth.

Pouring a nonstop barrage of funny lines and quirky quips out of Thor’s mouth still makes him about as memorable as the boring, brattish oaf we met in the first Thor movie, because despite the fact that his exterior has changed, what’s on the inside is still as nonexistent as it ever was.

And that, my friends, is basically the plight of the entire movie.

Waititi tried to snag his audience by the exterior of his film, by flashiness, sparkles, and humor—which, in my opinion, wasn’t even that hilarious. And in the process, the subtle but absolutely crucial aspects of storytelling—emotion, internal conflict, theme—were completely neglected. He tried to squirm his way out of every difficult aspect of storytelling by cracking a joke instead.

The new side characters, while quirky, weren’t developed enough to have any significant impact upon the viewer. Hela (AKA Galadriel running around in green antlers and the Eyeliner of Death, generating swords faster than Luke Skywalker comes up with things to whine about) was just another typical, power-hungry but pointless villain with no motivation whatsoever, except the irrational desire to see everyone kneel. (She totally stole that one from Loki, by the way, which I resent, and I think he does too.) The Grandmaster was, I’m assuming, meant to be comical, but only ever succeeded in making me feel uncomfortable and seriously creeped out. Valkyrie wasn’t horrible, but she lacked the necessary depth to make her anything more than a cute but forgettable character.

And, finally, what I consider the most heartbreaking of all: The subject of Loki and Thor.

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Hammers and hair and Jane Foster aside, the real point of the Thor saga has always rested in the brother-against-brother conflict of Thor and Loki, and the downfall and redemption of the god of mischief. But now, in the last installment of the trilogy, when their struggle should come to a final, crashing head, Thor is too distracted by Bruce Banner and some other newfound friends to even remember he was mad at his brother. Sure, there are a few touching moments between the two, but most of these scenes lacked the emotional impact to be anything more than a pat on the shoulder and a sappy line like, “Ya did good, kid.”

Loki, for his part, has been stripped of any depth he may once have possessed, now simply filling the role of another comic relief sidekick—a character who’s importance to the story is no longer crucial. His problems are reduced from the massive, heartbreaking issues of the previous movies to a flippant joke and an, “oh yeah, my rebellious teenage brother does what he wants” kind of vibe, totally undermining everything that the first two Thor movies had built up—and for me, ruining the character.

Which, frankly, is tragic.

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To be quite blunt, the entire atmosphere of the film—from the music to the characters to the unnecessary quantity of swear words—was so unlike any previous Thor film that somewhere at the midpoint, it ceased to be a Thor film at all, instead becoming some cheap Guardians of the Galaxy rip-off, where Thor is Star Lord, Loki is Rocket, and Bruce Banner, I’m assuming, is supposed to be Groot. But even Guardians of the Galaxy, stupid though it is, managed to pull off something that Ragnarok completely fails at: Guardians of the Galaxy has heart.

Ragnarok does not.

For me, that killed the entire movie.

And here, my friends, is where the wisdom comes in. Yes, there’s actually a point to this. I’m (for the most part) not just ranting for the sake of a rant. Writers, take heed:

NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, IGNORE INTERNAL CONFLICT, DEPTH, OR EMOTION.

This film clearly demonstrates the necessity of writers not devoting all their time to the external of a story, but spending a good amount of brain power on the subtler aspects of internal storytelling. Because that is the telling point of whether a story is merely flashy, or really, truly memorable.

Moral of Story: Get a better director next time.

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I promise, I’ll get over this. Eventually.

So yeah. What do you think? If you’ve seen Ragnarok yet, tell me your thoughts in the comments, and we can have a crazy story discussion. I don’t mind if you contradict me. But be prepared for what will follow if you do.

*cracks knuckles* Have at it.

Here’s a spare gif.

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~Sarah

 

 

22 thoughts on “Wisdom from the Utterly Stupid: Thor Ragnarok

  1. huh. the theatre was empty. perhaps that’s a sign..?

    I’m not a superhero person and I don’t watch most of the Marvel/DC movies, but Loki was pretty rad in movie 1. It’s sad that they thought they had to change the main character to make a movie interesting or popular. The main character should be the thing that keeps people coming back, something that doesn’t change *too* much even as his whole world is flipped.

    Dangit, I think just miss Thor’s hair. that’s it.

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    1. Yeah. If they wanted to make the character more interesting, they should have just given him some more emotional struggles instead of trying to change his entire aura. Very bad, Marvel, very bad.

      Thor’s hair is a loss that will be sorely grieved. He looks like such a dorf without it. XD

      Liked by 1 person

      1. i came back to reread because i watched the movie and am suddenly being devoured by an insane obsession with marvel. i thought the movie was fine. it was good at best, especially considering the fact that i’d watched the unbeatable black panther right before this one. thor has been in a steady decrease from a hero character to an oddly offputting comic relief and that’s just??? really unfortunate ???? hey,, but at least his hair returned in endgame :))

        aLSO LOKIIIIIIIII 😭😭😭

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  2. I have never seen any of the Superhero/Marvel/Star Wars movies, but I enjoyed reading this post on how horrible the last Thor movie was. XD
    And the GIFs were great. I’ve heard of Loki, but I don’t really know who he is. 😮 (I especially liked the second to last one 😀 )
    Hm… was the theatre empty because nobody came to see the movie…?

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    1. Well, I’m glad my rant can be enjoyed even by those who don’t know the films. It’s terribly fun to crack down hard on something, particularly if it’s actually really bad. *cough*
      And if you need help identifying who Loki really is, just think of me, but a bit more… devious. And slightly psychotic. 😀

      Yup, the only other people who came were a group of four. I’m assuming that had something to do with it being the middle of a weekday, and most people were at work…? I dunno. Or no one wants to see the film. Don’t blame ’em, anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Horrible, stupid, insulting to anyone’s intelligence…. glad I waited until I could watch for free. And I could only watch 45 minutes even then. Tom Hiddleston is fabulous but they didn’t give him anything decent to do. If you haven’t already, don’t… just… don’t…

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  3. WHAT?! That is SO. BAD! I had gotten just as excited for Loki as you were (almost…) even though I’ve not watched him, and was just going to be asking you if you’d seen the movie yet. So…he DIDN’T EVEN GET THE REDEMPTION ARC YOU’D PLANNED FOR HIM?
    I wonder how the actor felt about how his character turned out… seems like he’d care about that kinda thing. He’s an amazing actor who actually IS the characters he plays. That’s so bad.
    Nice gifs though. And GOOD MORAL TO THE STORY. Peeps, without depth, there is nothing. Except for shallows. Which are bad.

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    1. WELL HE DID, but not really. It kinda ended where you THINK he’s good again, but there’s not any real REASON for it. One minute he was betraying Thor (which didn’t make sense either—guys, Loki doesn’t betray people just for the sake of betraying them; he ALWAYS has a reason), and the next he’s like, “HEY, let’s be friends again.” Therefore, I am confused. And the ONE reason he WOULD have decided to change, something that happened in the previous movie, was LITERALLY NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. And all of his problems were so DOWNPLAYED that it seemed more like he just needed to stop being a self-consumed brat, when in reality the issues were SO MUCH BIGGER THAN JUST WANTING PEOPLE TO THINK HE’S COOL.
      There’s nothing more tragic in the world of film than knowing something had the potential to be AMAZING, but they blew their chance on it forever. Blagh. I feel bad for the actor, poor guy. I’m sad enough for me, and it wasn’t even my character.

      I love the fact that even though you’ve never even seen him, you love Loki just as much as I do. We’re so warped. One day you’re going to finally watch him, and you’ll probably end up hating him. XD

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      1. ACKK! I HATE the important things that NEVER GET MENTIONED AGAIN. Things you go building dreams off of till the next movie or whatever. And then. THEY DO NOTHING ABOUT IT. 😭
        This is really sad. But hey, even though his arc was NOT well executed or even properly an arc, AT LEAST HE DIDN’T STAY EVIL! Amiright? Or perhaps you’d rather him have stayed evil than have a wimpy turnaround… *groan* Sorrow. But will Loki appear in any more movies, even though that was the end of the trilogy?

        I think that would be an impossibility. 😂 I don’t believe I could ever hate any character played by Tom Hiddleston. He’s too good of an actor. The closest I ever came was when I saw him as the spoiled son of Winston Churchill, and then he wasn’t main enough to make much difference. But seriously, that guy is AMAZING. I WANT TO WATCH LOKI. I shall someday.

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  4. Soooo…. I really liked Thor: Ragnarok, but I also totally agree with you. It DID lack depth, but for me personally it was better than a Guardians of the Galaxy rip-off. It was pretty good. I liked the characters, and Loki had some awesome moments so it was good, all in all.

    Loki: We are NOT doing ‘Get Help’

    Thor: But you love ‘Get Help’

    Loki: No, YOU love ‘Get Help’

    Thor and Loki: *do ‘Get Help’*

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    1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure most of the population doesn’t share my views on it, considering the amazing ratings its been getting. Ah, well. I won’t judge you TOO much. 😉

      THAT SCENE. That scene ALMOST made up for everything, in my eyes. And the whole elevator scene before it. *dies with feels* Loki DID still have some pretty good moments, despite lacking the depth of the previous two. “I’ve been FALLING for THIRTY. MINUTES.”
      And every time Thor would try to be Natasha to the Hulk, and failed miserably. XD

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  5. One…two…three…Yup. Nine Loki gifs. *slow clap*

    Thanks for making me depressed. I was looking forward to this movie. *Cries*
    But really, you aren’t alone. A friend of mine implied part of what you said. She thought Thor was out of character and that there was a lack of an emotional response to a few events. And she’s a normal person. Not a writer, I mean. I will probably agree when I see it.

    Also…
    THEY DIDN’T FURTHER LOKI’S DEVELOPMENT?! NOOOOO :(::: Ah well. As long as the movie isn’t worse than the second Guardians of the Galaxy. *shudders*

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    1. Soooo I kinda disagreed with everything you said there, as this was my favourite Thor movie to date, but I still nonetheless enjoyed your review (that line about generating swords faster than Luke Skywalker comes up with things to whine about was particularly hilarious). I thought the movie explored Thor’s vulnerabilities to an extent we haven’t seen yet by making him lose practically everything (the girl, his hair, his hammer, his father, his planet), and while it was admittedly was lacking in further development of Loki’s character, I think the amibigous ending of Loki eyeing the tessaract leaves plenty of room to wrap up his arc in future films. But that’s just my humble opinion. *Sweeps hat off in a deep bow* I respect you for disagreeing with the majority opinion.

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      1. You know, I totally agree with you, to a point. Thor’s never really been an underdog before, so being stripped of all his comfort blankets and then pitted against unbeatable odds is pretty cool for his character. However (for me, at least), it wasn’t given enough emotional weight to really make an impact. Jane Foster was literally written off with one line, and never mentioned again. (Which doesn’t hurt my feelings TOO much, as she was a useless character, but still. 🙂 ) The hammer and Odin were better, but they still didn’t seem to generate enough of a struggle to make their disappearances worthwhile, and when Asgard went away… I asked my family (who are big time Marvel geeks, but not really crazy writer people) what they thought about that, and they all said it simply wasn’t as sad as it ought to have been.

        *returns the bow and offers you my sword* But I understand that I’m more or less alone in my opinion, and I respect you for disagreeing with me. Discussing opposing views is always lovely. 😉

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  6. NO THEY CAN’T RUIN LOKI!!!! *cries* Loki is like…one of my favorite characters of all time. (Is that a bad sign, considering he’s a villain?But he’s so cool!)
    Thor….Thor on the other hand….he’s never really been my fav. He’s to….goody goody?? I don’t know. My brain is weird. Great review though, I’m giong to see this movie on Tuesday and can’t wait to see what happens! (Mostly, just because I want to know what happens to Loki. lol.)
    🙂

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      1. It was pretty good, but I agree with you that it didn’t have a whole lot of depth. And Loki didn’t really get much of a redemption… 😦
        But it was a fun movie, over all. I can’t wait for the next Avengers now…I want to see everyone’s faces when the entirety of Asgard + Loki & Thor land on earth. 😉

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  7. …and I thought I was the only one…

    Things that made my head hurt;
    – A celestial acting like a carnival barker…what is WITH the Elders of the Universe, they act like a bunch of weird high school kids and not supreme beings, Grandmaster “cough” Collector *cough* Ego *cough*
    Is Thanos, who is related to Sersi (an Eternal) and Kronos (an Elder), gonna come out in Infinity War, walk up to Captain America and say “got your nose”. But then again Cap is too serious for that nonsense. I got it, have him trade quips with the “new” Thor.
    -Calling the Valkyries the elite fighting force of the Norse Gods…they actually would choose and convey the worthy dead to Valhalla, The Hall of Heroes, where they await the Twilight of the Gods (Ragnarock folks).
    -A Valkyrie who is not there on the battlefield of the fallen heroes, and does not want to be there to convey them to Valhalla, the main reason for her existence, instead runs away with her tail between her legs, I think they call that desertion if you belong to an elite force. Oh, and where the heck is Sif. If they are going to squish the Warriors three out of existence with a wink and smirk, they may as well “spike” her also.

    Things that made me shake my head and cry;
    – ” oh, wait a minute, this is just doing it by itself…Ok, coming around again” *cringe*
    -The Disney ride Thor took…cross between Space Mountain and Its a Small World After All.
    -Most of the jokes.
    – That stupid disc…the most powerful device in the universe…infinity gems…meh…get Thor to swipe one and stick it on Hela, or better yet, Thanos “heh heh”.

    What little I enjoyed, or when I didn’t feel my fanboy bile rise.
    – The death of Odin…this actually didn’t make my head hurt, it made my heart soar. For one brief moment, the pathos, agony, tragedy, and redemption that IS Ragnarock washed over me. If the rest of the movie had more moments like this, this would have been more to my taste in conveying the event movie that Thor and the Norse Gods deserve. Leave the jokes to Iron Man, and the tragedy to Thor. BTW, if you want too see a much better version of Sir Anthony Hopkins acting crazy or “old”, check out Titus…
    – The whole scene with Dr. Strange. It was weird, but Dr. Strange seemed to know Thor was acting a little “strange”. He treated him as the goofy, self righteous frat boy he was acting like, keeping him in alcohol, knocking him off balance with teleportation to maintain his attention, and showing him how “grownups” speak to each other. If the finale in this scene with Thor reaching for Mjolnir and giving Dr. Strange “tit for tat” with the display of HIS power was one of the few “comic” moments peppered, not slathered in this movie, I would have appreciated it more.
    -The little “shout out” Marvel movies are known for…the mention of the “Contest of Champions”, the multiple references to Jack “king” Kirby, and when Thor recalled being a frog.

    These are only a few things that caught my attention as I stared slack jawed at the screen. While I thought “The Immigrant Song” was a cool ( I would read Thor by Simonson listening to Zep), at least a single note of “Das Rheingold” would have been more than appropriate, I this humble fan, it is required. Imagine a few strains of “Ride of the Valkyries” while the Valkyries were actually riding…epic.

    This is all I can think of for right now, but I am sure there are many more things that will “thrill” me.
    Oh, BTW, I have a fondness for Norse mythology, Shakespeare and, obviously, Marvel characters. I understand liberties that need to be taking for film, but this movie seemed to be for the masses. There is a word, Gravitas…Thor Ragnarock has none of this. Thor was made for this, Kenneth Branagh knew it, and played that in Thor (check out his Henry V for drama…wow).

    Sorry for the long post, but we seem to be in the minority, and Oh, I thought GOG 2 was a disappointment, but why listen to me, I actually enjoyed B vs. S.

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  8. Wow! Really enjoyed your post. I’m a pretty big Marvel fan (and my brother is a bigger one), but I don’t mind this, seeing as I haven’t watched the movie yet.

    I really agree with you on the depth part. It’s something that I think a lot of movies today are lacking in. You can’t really make a character REAL without a “man vs. himself” plot plus anything else you want to throw in there. Most of the time nowadays, the villains are the most interesting characters in the movie because they have something to them that makes them what they are. That’s what lame villains ruin movies.

    Now I’m a leetle skeptical of Infinity War now. Thanos doesn’t seem to have a real motive (at least what I can tell from the trailer) except, of course, world domination. Which, as everyone knows, is a just and worthy cause.

    I’ve never really been a Thor fan, because, like you said, he’s never really had much depth. In the first movie, he’s a conceited idiot, gets thrown out, whines some, learns how to behave like a decent person, does a few cool stunts, and then the movie ends. In the second movie, I don’t remember all that happened, but I know it was quite “meh.”

    And Thor isn’t the only Marvel hero who’s a little lacking. Dr. Strange did nothing for me either. The villain, again, a power-hungry, monologuing ditz, was only interesting because he had weird eyes. The doctor himself dropped a few quips, wiggled his fingers, and saved the world, like most superheros. Sadly lacking.

    Thankfully, Marvel isn’t completely lacking (see my fan-side coming in?). I think that “Captain America: Civil War” was one of the better Marvel movies. The villain at least has somewhat of a story, and there’s quite a bit of depth in Iron Man and Captain America (but since when has Captain America ever lacked that?). “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was another of my favorites. I think those two are definitely worth watching. They actually have something to them.

    I’m still going to watch the movie because I like laughing even if the movie deflates itself a little. At least it has that.

    Thank for providing all those gifs, by the way. My gif library has now enlarged substantially.

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  9. Yes, yes…AND YES. Thanks for that. I don’t know what folks are thinking. Of course, I’ve thought that since the last election. ‘Thor’ is a great character. The first ‘Thor’ movie was fairly epic and regal. I re-watched it and it holds up well. I just re-watched ‘Ragnarok’ and felt depressed. I DID laugh quite a bit first time around but it doesn’t hold up. I have HUGE amounts of faith in the Russo Brothers restoring Thor to his former, dignified self in ‘Infinity War’…so I will pretend Ragnarok never happened. I know this is late but I’ve had a lot of cough syrup.

    Like

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