Uncollected Thoughts: Thor: Ragnarok


Practically all of my cinema-going, for at least the last two decades, has been to Cineworld, at Grand Central, Stockport, and I’ve got a few memories of trips there, in company and alone. Because I don’t rush out for premieres, and I go to the odd showings, Sundays, or mid-to-late afternoons, I’ve fond myself sitting in small audiences, rarely more than a dozen, of late in single figures. I’ve sat alone in the half-dark, wondering if I might end up being the only one there, until a couple of people wander in, sitting somewhere behind me.

It’s ironic therefore that I’ve finally done it, finally been the one person to pay to go to see a film, when this was the last time I shall ever visit this cinema: it closes on Thursday. A new cinema, in a new complex, even nearer to the centre of Stockport, opens the Thursday after. If I want to see Justice League whilst I’m enjoying a week off, I shall have to go all the way out to Didsbury.

Thor: Ragnarok‘s supposed to be very good, very funny, so it was a pity I was sat alone, in the exact middle of Screen 9, because the occasion and the solitude got to me, and overtook the showing, and the many jokes fell flat without the reinforcement of people laughing around me.

Instead, it felt like watching it in my bedroom, on a massively oversized laptop screen, though for once I didn’t have to put up with my back being knacked because I could shuffle about whenever I wanted without worrying about spoiling the view for others behind me.

To be honest, I didn’t find the film all that funny anyway. Snappy wisecracks in and among the action are Marvel’s speciality, and it’s been given a good dose here, so much that Ragnarok has been reviewed as a superhero sitcom. But whilst some of the jokes – the ones I found funny – arose natural from character and circumstance, too much of the humour was of the knowing kind, finding fun in the story and its tropes, in the way that told you that someone couldn’t take thevstory seriously enough.

And I am old enough to have watched the Sixties Batman TV show in the Sixties, as a result of which I have very sensitive antennae for when we get anywhere near that territory, and I bear too many scars to be properly comfortable over land like that.

I’m not going to try to describe the story because there simply wasn’t one, just a grab-bag of confrontations, fights, clashes and in the case of the Grandmaster, as clear a case of camp as you could ever not wish for: Jeff Goldblum was channeling Lorenzo Semple Jr throughout. All this was was 130 minutes with little underlying progression, which eventually stopped after they ran out of bigger things to CGI.

Mind you, I did enjoy it , whilst it lasted, and this time didn’t look at my watch for a good ninety minutes. I even recognised all the bits they took from Walt Simonson’s magnificent Eighties run, still by far the best work ever done on Thor, in my opinion, and something I was there for, month in, month out.

But if I was to go watch it again, it will be for one reason only, Cate Blanchett as Hela, Goddess of Death, and main villain, because, my oath, she was Hot! in every second she was onscreen. I don’t usually respond that viscerally to any actress, but this time I was metaphorically baying at the moon.

Which was an ironic parallel to the pre-film trailer for the remake of Jumanji, which was loud, ridiculous, hyperactive, stupid and so not the film to take me to unless you are planning to snog my mouth off for the whole length of the film, or else it’s the edited version that only has the scenes Karen Gillan is in.

Speaking of trailers, after years of spoiler-avoiding, I also saw the one for Justice League, about which I can only say, Ohhhh shhhiiiitttttt!!!!!!

But this is my response to Thor: Ragnarok, which clearly didn’t get high marks from me, but like I said, I was blindsided by the occasion and the solitude (and having had very little sleep last night) so I wasn’t the best audience for it. Even though I was the only audience for it.

2 thoughts on “Uncollected Thoughts: Thor: Ragnarok

  1. Maybe because 2014 gave us the best MCU film, The Winter Soldier and another top three in Guardians of the Galaxy, everything since then has been disappointing. Most have been good and enjoyable, but derivative. Take the year’s Guardians Vol. 2.

    But lowering expectations, I’ve enjoyed the last two, this and Spider-Man:Homecoming. And I think the quality has been there. Spider-Man won me over, for the growth of Peter Parker in front of me, from super-annoying over-eagerness to beginnings of maturity.

    Thor:Ragnarok won me for bare basics, out and out adventure and humor. Yes, there was some attempts at depth and deeper meaning, but not so heavy handedness it’s sappy. There were some bad forced humor out of character (Thor screaming on the “ride” before meeting Grandmaster), but most was natural for me. Easily the best of the Thor films and slightly better middle of pack MCU fare.

    And I concur. When my factory had us on seven day workweeks, I used to get the odd day of on say a Thursday. And for a matinee those were some of the best times to see movies. Many times I would have a private theater with no one else. You’re right for humor it’s not necessarily the best set up, but with no one playing on cell phones, or older people talking it’s way better.

    I saw Thor last Sunday with the cheaper twilight showing. I’d skipped movies, being sick and not just feeling like it ,for two-three weeks, so I also caught Suburbicon before that. In between I ran to the comic store and due to running a bit late, I wound up having to set really close towards the front. Another pratfall to opening weekend crowds.

    Thankfully, this week I took a vacation day for Friday and my goal is to see Justice League for a matinee showing then.

  2. I don’t think I’ll be alone for Justice League, which is just as well as I have a dark feeling it’s going to need all the reinforcement it can get. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    No, you need others around you for certain comedies. I think a well-made out-and-out comedy can be hilarious even if you’re watching it at the North Pole with nobody within a thousand miles south, but the Ragnarok type of comedy, when it’s a thick layer applied to an otherwise serious story, demands collective attention.

    And like I said, being so much older, and having seen Adam West and Burt Ward doing their worst when it was fresh, the trauma lingers…

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