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Do you have a movie that everyone else loves but you despise? Thor Ragnarok is this for me. This is that absolute worst movie I have ever watched. For reasons I am about to explain.
The biggest detractor: The comedy. There is way too much of it. I don't think this movie went 5 minutes without saying a joke. The MCU has always had comedic moments. But there was also a balanced format of drama and comedy that was consistent in every movie. This movie's format is: Joke > Joke > Joke > Exposition > Joke. It never takes a break. And the humor overlaps with what should be serious moments, such as the deaths of several protagonists. even the destruction of Thor's home was a joke. That I couldn't stand.
It's not even good comedy. The majority of comedic moments have no setup. It's usually just the characters stating what's happening. If there is a setup, the punchline is stating that the setup happened.
. Thor spinning in Surtur's lair and stating he's spinning
. Thor seeing hulks naked rear end and stating he saw Hulk's rear end
. Hela stating Hogun didn't listen to her as she explained who she was
This isn't comedy that requires you to think. You could turn off your brain and understand it just as well. other jokes are either ill timed (Asgard exploding) or insanely predictable (Hulk slamming Thor the way he slammed Loki).
The old characters are flanderized for the sake of comedy and the new ones are flat. Thor and Loki's relationship is more comedic than it should be after previous movies. Korg is only there to tell bad jokes, Valkyrie does have an arc, but participates in too many jokes for me to care about it, and the executioner's redemption arc is so run of the mill I didn't even notice it.
I don't understand why Hela isn't criticized for being a flat villain like so many other MCU villains in the past have. Admittedly, her design is interesting, and her powers are cool to look at. But she isn't imposing because her jokes take me out of the moment. And again, she's flat. If Hela isn't spouting generic conqueror jargon, she's spouting exposition to nobody. The only person that was around when she was explaining Odin's past was the executioner. But he hardly reacted and didn't speak, so he might as well have not been there. Hela looks cool on the outside, but it one of the flattest most zero effort MCU villains we've gotten.
There're worse written movies out there than this one. The plot isn't even that bad. But being poorly written and being unpleasant to watch are two different things. And one is worse than the other. Ragnarok is the only movie I've watched that made me want to leave the theater. I didn't enjoy the humor, which overpowered everything else the movie had to offer. No other film in my life has ever incited this level of disgust in my person. I don't like it, sorry.
As much as it pains me to say it, I rewatched it recently and yeah... it\'s nowhere near as good as I remembered. I don\'t hate it at all and I think the incessant comedy works well the first couple of times, mainly because it\'s so jarring, but it isn\'t built to last. Korg is still hilarious but he\'s just another example of Waititi annoyingly inserting himself into all of his films. Hitchcock at least had the modesty to keep his regular appearances limited to voiceless cameos.
A good comedy film can be funny while still having emotional stakes. Ragnarok pretty much fails completely on the latter level because absolutely nothing that happens has any weight. Hela should come across as a massive threat but her powers and action scenes are so over-the-top that it\'s impossible to take seriously. I agree that Hela is an incredibly undercooked villain, hardly any better than the most reviled villains, including Malekith from Dark World.
While I broadly agree with your analysis (as my own review suggests), and while I appreciate it feeds your overall point that the humor is poorly-implemented and undermines anything the film could be said to get right... I do think this review is a bit one-note as a result, and the fact that you can\'t go a paragraph without mentioning it feels like you\'re just clubbing the reader over the head with it.
And I agree with you! Heck, it\'s a major factor in my losing interest in the MCU overall!
Also, I think any discussion of the film that neglects its aesthetics is neglecting a major factor in its success. While story is the reason you care, film is still a visual medium, and the spectacle, visuals, and music succeed everywhere the script stumbles.
^ If you think the review was tedious because of how much time it spend doing one thing, then you have an idea of how I felt in the movie theatre. I know the review spends most of it\'s time on one problem in the film, but that one problem is what ruined the entire movie for me. If you removed about four fifths of the comedy and changed nothing else, I probably would have liked it.
I understand visuals can save a movie. That\'s why I established a difference between a bad movie and an unpleasant one. And admittedly, the effects are good. I\'d like to say the visuals were a reason to watch the movie, but the experience was too unpleasant for me to care.
I don\'t think this movie has any spectacle value either. everything is overshadowed by comedy. The warriors three are killed off and it\'s just glanced over, the hulk is turned into an idiot after dramatically leaving in Age of Ultron, and the destruction of Thor\'s home is turned into a punchline. How can I get caught in the visuals or spectacle of a movie that makes a joke out of everything the previous two told us was important? I\'m sorry, but I can\'t give this movie credit for having good visuals when every other MCU movie has the same, all while delivering a far less agonizing experience
I agree with you though. I\'m just discussing what might make your review more pleasant to read, man.
Hmmm, seeing all your comments Dream makes me wonder: Do you even like comedies?. I ask because, seeing how your entire problem is the comedy, it sounds like you would have preferred a drama.
Edit: Uh. Apparently (following your comment in the NC review) you do like comedy. Welp, got nothing then. All am gonna say is that humor is subjective. It might have simply been not in your taste.
His point wasn’t that it wasn’t funny, and to suggest so is a poor and deliberately-reductive reading. His point was that the comedy did not well-serve the film, tone, or characters.
Comedy is subjective and very, very cultural. I remember lots of comments from Kiwis when the movie came out that the movie just oozed commentary on Kiwi and Maori culture and experience, and the humor was very grounded in that. There were times when the jokes landed flat for me, because they conflicted with my own cultural background, hitting the wrong side of the line when flirting with taboo. But I can also appreciate the way it encourages me to explore the symbolism and views of another culture.
Yes, I don\'t hate comedy. I wrote another review on Slayers the same time I wrote this one, where I said the comedy was my favorite part of it. My problem with Thor Ragnarock is that the comedy clashes horribly with the plot. But I think you can go too far in either direction (drama/comedy). For instance, I don\'t really like Ultimate Spider-Man because peter spends too much time sulking. Though I could elaborate more on why I think the comedic style in this movie shouldn\'t be replicated.
I\'ve written stories in the past. And I don\'t think I\'m the only one whos tried to come up with a joke in a story, where the first thing that comes to mind is making fun of the plot itself. And I did that in hindsight, because on its own, it is easy humor.
Comedians like to make fun of things. If you\'re writing a story, you can\'t really make fun of anything because it\'s being made from the ground up. So instead the writer might make fun of his story in its entirety. This can be funny on a meta level, but it runs the risk of making the story feel non-important, so this type of humor is used sparingly in other shows where it works for me. Even then, other shows that implemented this type of humor still had proper setups and punchlines that required you to think on why the joke is funny.
Thor Ragnarock\'s humor is not only entirely self-mockery, but it relies solely on the fact that it\'s making fun of itself to sell a joke. Which is why I said the majority of humor in the movie was just stating that something that happened happened and then saying \"wasn\'t that stupid????\". Self mockery can be funny, but on its own it isn\'t clever. If you do it too much it begins to fell really braindead and annoying.
I think the humor in Thor Ragnarock is bad because it\'s lazy. It\'s all just haha lol humor that gets stale really quickly. I Guarantee you that about 90% of the jokes in this movie didn\'t take more than 30 second to come up with. That\'s hyperbole but you know. I tend to shy away from this type of humor in stories I write nowadays.
Ok, actually, not all of the humor in the movie is like this, but enough of it is for me to notice.
@Spectral Time: \"...and to suggest so is a poor and deliberately-reductive reading.\"
That was not my intention at all. That is just how his review and later replies came to my as.
@Dream Scrape: Yeah, I do agree that this movie didn\'t make me die laughing. Is just that all the jokes were at least slightly funny for me.
Again, if you read the commentary from Kiwi and Maori commentators, several pointed out that deflation and undercutting of ego is a key cornerstone of their humor and their cultural values. So it didn\'t translate well for you? Fine. Not all of it did for me either. But to dismiss it as \"bad\" or \"lazy\" heads into some ethnocentric territory.
At risk of Godwin-ing myself, I\'m in a community that just had a nasty civil war, in part fueled by some Russian and Turkish community members\' conviction that they could not be criticized for their transphobia because it was a part of Slavic/Turkish culture.
Is that a fair comparison? Absolutely not... but it does rather undercut the idea that someone who found humor repulsive and poorly-handled came from a place of cultural insensitivity, which is, in fact, what you are saying. Culture doesn\'t justify everything, and if I find caviar disgusting it isn\'t a sign that I hate Russians.
Wow, that\'s... a really overwrought reading of what I said. I never said anyone had to enjoy it, nor that not liking it meant they hated the culture. But humor is subjective and culturally bound, and declaring something \"lazy\" because it doesn\'t fit your own cultural standards is insensitive. This is not a case of saying your don\'t like caviar. This is a case of saying anyone who uses caviar can\'t cook.
...I\'m on my second strike. And I want to believe you\'re not a bad person. So I\'mma just let it drop after this no matter who says what.
But trying to dismiss criticism as tainted for reasons of racism and supremacism based on no evidence besides expressing dislike (and in fairly mild and even terms at that) for apparently culturally-infused humor without a hint of dog-whistling makes the world a worse place for everyone, perhaps especially for oppressed and colonized peoples who are having their work dismissed.
Which you did. You outright said that not appreciating the Maori style of humor \"heads into some ethnocentric territory.\" Especially when his criticism is as much about the timing of the joke and the ways in which it impacts the tone of individual scenes as it is the pure content.
I admitted from the very start that, yes, I was Godwin-ing myself. That just because it was the first example that popped into my head I probably shouldn\'t\'ve used it. But you are trying to tell us that caviar is \"above criticism\" because it comes from another culture and to find it distasteful is to snub them. Or, if you are not, then that is certainly how you are coming across.
And with that, I apologize and g\'night. Hope I wake up able to edit tomorrow.
From my point of view, you absolutely want to believe I\'m a bad person, because you\'re claiming I said things that I didn\'t. I\'m not sure you know what the word \"ethnocentrism\" means. It doesn\'t mean racism or supremacy. If I\'d meant that, I would have said those words. It means judging another culture based on preconceptions from your own culture. It\'s about comparing apples and oranges and insisting they should be the same.
Again, no one has to like it, or is unable to judge it, I\'m simply pointing out that is a difference between humor translating poorly between cultural contexts (which, yeah, I noted in my very first comment it conflicted with my own cultural views of humor at times) and saying it\'s a bad example of humor.
It\'s not \"lazy\" humor, because it\'s very deliberate effort, which contradicts the definition of lazy.. From https://thespinoff.co.nz/atea/31-10-2017/thor-and-his-magic-patu-notes-on-a-very-maori-marvel-movie/:
\"But if there’s a factor which is definitely Māori in Ragnarok it is the pervasive and all-encompassing sense of irony that drains the dramatic tension from its source material and delivers equal-opportunities mockery.\"
Now, I\'m going to repeat this again, because you keep deliberately ignoring it. Saying the humor falls flat in the translation to a world wide audience, or that it is a mismatch with an American product like Marvel or that you just didn\'t enjoy it? 100% valid. Heck, you can compare it to other examples of humor from the same background and decide it\'s falling short on its own standards. But taking Maori humor and measuring it as American humor (or English or French or whatever) is ethnocentric, because it assumes that all humor must comply to that framework.
Also, the passive guilt trip of how you might get banned because you\'re, what, standing up to my awful meanness? Grow up.
I was considering writing a review for this film, but this one perfectly describes how I feel about it. The jokes fell flat for me, and the Planet Hulk and Ragnarok plotlines feel a bit disjointed. I\'ll only disagree about Hela, though, as part of the reason why I enjoyed her is because Blanchett genuinely seems to be having fun with her role, and her Large Ham lines kind of make up for the fact that she is just another Generic Doomsday Villain.
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