Something occurred to me after I started writing last week’s post. The fact that I need a second week shows me that the movie had a lot of substance. The right concepts and plot elements were there, but as I wrote last week, I feel that they were covered up (to an extent) by the humor. I realize this is a matter of personal taste, so I won’t belabor the point. Thor: Ragnarok was obviously well-received by fans and critics alike, and I do intend to watch it again.
From this point on, there might be some spoilers for anyone who has not yet seen this film.
Now for the picky part of my critique, which I readily admit arises from my own unrealistic expectations. This is what I missed. First, as I’ve already alluded, I would have liked to see more emphasis placed on the mythological concepts and imagery. The Valkyrie flashback with the winged horses was brief enough that it teased that desire in me, and I had hoped to see more of that kind of scene.
Secondly, when I heard that the Hulk would be given more dialogue, I envisioned a more nuanced psychological and emotional study of this character.
I have posted before that he represents an outsized version of what resides in all of us, and this could have created all kinds of possibilities for his character development.
I had also hoped the script would show a gradual evolution of his ability to speak coherently. The dramatic potential of such an approach is huge since it would provide a window into the soul of this creature.
That said, there were still some great ideas which were well executed. I liked every scene with Fenris the wolf, another character lifted out of The Prose Edda by Snori Sturluson. The only problem with his battle with the Hulk is that it was a little difficult to tell how it was resolved.
The evolution of Heimdall’s character was well done if not entirely consistent with his vocal style from previous movies. It was interesting to see him playing a different role in the story, and I’m glad they didn’t kill him off.
The climactic battle was typically spectacular for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ll reserve judgment on turning Thor into the new Odin. That will be depend on how it is approached in future efforts.
I particularly liked the scene showing the destruction of Asgard by Surtur. It was appropriately epic.
I liked the redemption themes as well: the relationship of Thor and Loki…
… the moral awakening of Skurge …
… the reunion of Odin and his two sons, and the persuasion of Valkyrie as played by Tessa Thompson. I especially liked the story arc of Valkyrie’s fall, degradation, and ultimate restoration to her former glory. It was a unique treatment of yet another character from Norse mythology.
And that might be as good a place to end as any.