Thor faces a challenge greater than anything he’s ever seen. But don’t worry, he’s putting a team together!
Yeeeeah not really possible to do a spoiler-free review of this one, but I’ll keep them mild.
What the Movie got right:
I mean, the jokes are coming from start to finish. And they are hilarious. There’s only a few of them that you have to be a comics reader to get. Most of them happen in real time inside the adventure, and it’s great. It’s pretty much impossible not to find something that tickles you at some point in this movie.
I won’t spoil any of them, but they’re fantastic. They also serve to firmly root Thor in the overall Marvel universe in a way we haven’t seen before.
The movies gives us a backstory that is totally believable and intense. As the backstory to the current action unfolds, we find out many things that we didn’t know before. It completely changes our frame of Thor’s world, and it changes Thor’s view of it as well. It was probably the most breathtaking part of the whole experience.
It feels epic. It feels grand and sweeping which is precisely how a Thor adventure should feel. Even though there are some small spaces in the movie, the movie itself never feels compressed.
There’s plenty of it. And it keeps coming until the end. We get to see quite a few characters cut all the way loose.
Main characters die here, and get wounded. This movie changes everything we’ve known about Asgard. When next we meet Thor everything about this realm will be completely different. Heimdall, the Bifrost, the Asgardian citizens, the royal family, everything. It took some real chances here, and it was great.
Anybody that’s seen Hiddleston before knows that he owns Loki. Well that continues here. What’s also great is that it feels like the Thunder god we’ve been waiting to see finally shows up. Hulk here makes the clearest difference we’ve seen so far in his big screen outings between himself and Banner. Banner describes what’s going on with his tortured psyche as well. Jeff Goldblum here is playing the ‘Jeff Goldblum role.’ That seems to happen to some actors as their careers go on. He’s great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s definitely Jeff! The only one I’m sorry about is that we didn’t get the traditional Valkyrie here. More on that later. Hela? Hela is pitch perfect visually, in attitude, in powers, everything. Blanchett adds the necessary gravitas to the role to make us as the audience take her seriously, even tho she cracks some jokes as well. And Hela is a force to be reckoned with. The movie is almost at Deadpool levels of accuracy.
What the Movie did Questionably:
It makes them clear from the beginning, but somehow the payoff doesn’t feel proportional to the setup. The setting of the players in the beginning of the movie is extremely personal, but the payoff is more of a big brawl set piece and less about what hooked us between the characters. It’s not that it’s not there, it just feels somewhat diffused by movie’s end.
Okay, the movie goes to great lengths to make clear that the locations are far and wide. And very difficult to traverse. But by the time we get to the big set piece fight at the end, most of the characters have traversed it all without a problem. So it takes away from all of the “no one ever leaves/escapes” dialogue we heard.
This is the biggest one. First off, the ever-drinking Valkyrie here is the “girls are tougher than boys” character. The movie bends over backwards over and over again to show just how tough she is. To the point where she barely gets hurt and never loses a skirmish and is never even breathing heavy. She got on my nerves quickly. And she captures Thor far too easily. Go away.
But it gets really confusing going from Hela to Thor to Hulk to Valkyrie in terms of strength and power. If Thor can toss the Hulk around and knock him dizzy, how can Valkyrie be a challenge? If Hela is indeed the goddess of Death, then can she die? Can she get wounded? How can Valkyrie be in a skirmish with Loki and it be any problem at all? And they never let Hulk fight Hela, which is the one fight I was looking forward to the most. He just fights Hela’s wolf, and doesn’t really definitively beat him. Hulk vs. Hela would’ve shown us if Hulk could actually die or not. All up until this point we’ve been led to believe that he can’t be killed.
Thor comes into his own in this movie, and it’s great. But it’s still, still unclear as to what that means relative to the other characters in terms of power levels.
Crowds of Asgardians:
I’m sorry, but the movie wants us to believe that either Hela killed so many Asgardians that there are only a handful left, or, that the entire population of the vast realm of Asgard can fit into one ship. ……Um nope. Also, I may have missed it because everything went by so fast, but what happened to Lady Sif?
This is the second biggest hiccup of the film, besides the confusing power levels. The movie kind of cheats in the end. It ties the opening scene with the closing scenes, but that ends up taking away the beautiful emotional tension that it created between Odin, Thor, Loki, and Hela. I think they were going for a “Captain Kirk does what he has to do to save the day” kind of thing here, but…audiences will always feel cheated if the main protagonist does not directly defeat the main antagonist.
And again, it leaves us confused as to what happens to Hela. Mainly because she is presented all movie long as completely unstoppable. That makes sense, she’s the goddess of Death. But then, if there’s something greater than her, how? And was this prophecy inevitable? Like it would’ve happened no matter what our characters did? Or did Thor cause it by his actions? Unclear, which is a shame.
In spite of its hiccups, this movie is a great ride. Lots and lots of fun, and it leaves you hungry to see these characters again. I want to see more of the Thulk friendship, I want to see Lord Thor ruling his now homeless people, I want to see more of Heimdall, and Hiddleston is always a delight. (Don’t care if we see that turkey-necking Valkyrie again, but that’s just me.) It gave us a real villain, one really worthy of the god of Thunder, and it passes the baton in an extremely poignant way. So I highly recommend this film to comics readers and mainstream audiences alike, you’ll have a blast!
As always, I tell my readers to read the comics. These are the first appearances of some of the main characters. Your movie experience will be greatly enhanced.