‘Thor’ baffles with complex, confusing plot, tone

By Grant Stoner | Staff Writer

11/09/2017

Courtesy of Marvel
Thor: Ragnarok is the 17th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There was a concerted effort on the part of the writers, director and cast to change the tone of the Thor movies and to produce a film and characters that felt new.

The God of Thunder has graced the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2011, quickly becoming a mainstay across numerous films. Whether appearing as an Avenger or starring in his own standalone series, I have always enjoyed Thor’s presence. Yet, with Thor: Ragnarok, the inability to form a cohesive plot left me utterly confused and disappointed, forcing me to reconsider my love for the character.

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston return for a third installment, reprising their roles as Thor and Loki, respectively. While the two brothers continue their ongoing sibling rivalry, they eventually join forces with Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk to save Asgard from the murderous Hela, played by Cate Blanchett.

Unfortunately, the cast only grows from there, resulting in a confusing amalgamation of characters competing for screen time. Tessa Thompson assists the heroes as Valkyrie, Jeff Goldblum plays a caricature of himself as the villain, Grandmaster, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is shoehorned into the film for no apparent reason.

If you’re feeling confused as to why there are so many characters, the plot does little to address this issue. Instead, it attempts to create three full-fledged storylines within a single two-hour-and-10-minute feature.

But Grant, you may be asking, that cast sounds incredible! How could the movie possibly be bad?

Oh, you poor, delusional fool.

When the film begins, audience members expect the plot to revolve around Thor’s defusing of the mythological cataclysmic event known as Ragnarok. Then, Hela arrives, engaging in a brief conflict with Thor and Loki, before launching them into the cosmos. The vast majority of the film transitions to the alien planet of Sakaar. Here, Thor engages in physical and emotional conflicts with The Hulk, as well as the Grandmaster, completely negating Hela’s role as the main villain. Also, as if this wasn’t bad enough, Thor never ceases to wallow in self-doubt, where he constantly forgets his place amongst the Norse pantheon.

Do you now understand why this is a disaster?

Thor never settles down to choose one plot or one theme to follow and see to the end. There is so much content vying for equal weight, so many characters demanding of the audience’s attention, that keeping up becomes a bore rather than exciting.

The ultimate problem with this film is that it never allows itself to create a unique identity. Every single plot element clashes and fights for our attention. The result is a movie that is spinning so many plates that caring about any one plot or character feels futile.

Not only that, but the fundamentals of the film feel scattered and confusing. Who is the main villain? What is the point of Sakaar? Why does Thor have the emotional baggage of a stressed college student?

Is this a coming-of-age story? Or is it a mere superhero tale? Is it perhaps a buddy-cop flick? I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you.

It’s a shame that this movie is atrocious, especially since it’s absolutely hilarious, rivaling the comedic genius of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Each character interaction is filled with perfectly timed quips, unique mannerisms and downright humorous behaviors. There’s no specific reason as to why Thor is now funny, but it will be amusing to see how he interacts with other Avengers.

Thor: Ragnarok is a mess. If each plot element was featured as its own film, then this review would be singing its praises. Unfortunately, moviegoers are forced to experience a severe case of identity crisis and indecisiveness. Marvel has consistently produced amazing films, which is absolutely baffling to consider that Thor: Ragnarok managed to be released to the public.

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