Worry’s for another day
Let the music play
Down in Ragnarok” ------Fraggle Rock theme, with one minor change.
Despite being a Marvel fan for decades, given my repeated disappointments with Marvel movies, you’d think I’d just write them off. But like a train wreck, I find it hard to look away. I will confess that I no longer rush to theaters to see the latest venture like I used to when the movies first started coming out. Instead I wait for them to hit Netflix or some other free venue. Such was the case with Thor: Ragnarok.
A lot (though not all) of Thor storylines revolve at least loosely around actual Norse mythology. Such is the case….though very loosely….with “Ragnarok”. (see more on Ragnarok)
The one thing about this mythological event that is pretty consistent whether read in the poetry of the time or seen in Wagner’s ‘Gotterdammerung’ is that regardless of who manages to live through it, it’s no picnic. So what better way to tell the tale in movie form than as a comedy, right?
In “Ragnarok” everyone is a joker (to some degree) with Thor being played as a near-buffoon. I think the one character I could have probably forgiven and even relished being depicted as they were was Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster. But for his quirky, narcissist interpretation of a near-omnipotent “Elder of the Universe” to work, it needs to be played off a less comedic cast. As it stands, he’s just one more character mugging for a chuckle.
Now there’s nothing wrong with comedy, and certain Marvel characters should have strong comedic elements. Deadpool is a prime example. But just because Deadpool was successful, or because audiences like Tony Stark’s , a la Robert Downey Jr.’s killer one-liners, doesn’t mean that EVERY character has to be a clone. (Dr. Strange’s cameo in Ragnarok broke my heart.)
As for casting? Well as charming as Tessa Thompson may be as “Valkyrie” she is as believable as one of the famed flying warriors made famous by Richard Wagner’s thrilling opera as I would be wearing a horned helmet and tin cup brassiere. (though Thompson is far more attractive)
Tessa Thompson in comparison with the comic book version. Hmmm. Now which seems more believable as a Norse warrior who fights for Odin and scoops up fallen heroes to fill the drinking halls of Valhalla? "Hojotoho!"
My other big disappointment with Ragnarok does deal with something that only a comic book fan would know of, and that is the reworking of the “Planet Hulk” story arc as some weak supporting adjunct to the Thor narrative. And my disappointment is not based in some misguided or nerdy comic book purism, but rather the disgust at seeing the degradation of one of the best Hulk story arcs ever written. (To see a pretty accurate version you can try to find Lionsgate’s 2010 animated movie of the same name.) That story could well have been done as the next “Hulk” feature film and been awesome, but now it has been relegated to a watered-down footnote.
Does this look like the face of someone who's just waiting for the right straight line to crack a joke?
Interestingly, while my opinions of Marvel movies usually are not shared by those around me, this time even Rosa expressed dismay at how overly comedic the movie was. (If “Black Panther” resembles “The Lion King”, then “Ragnarok” feels like a reboot of the campy 1960’s “Batman” TV series with Thor as the main character.)
I have not seen “Infinity Wars” yet, but after this, I’m wondering if it is going to be like watching “Springtime for Hitler”?