*Spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.*
Thor: Ragnarok is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I am being torn apart.
Here’s what’s up. I enjoyed the movie, really did. The action sequences were amazing. Cate Blanchett was phenomenal as Hela and Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. Aesthetically, the whole thing was beautiful. In one word, everything was so cool.
However! I have a bone to pick. The character of Korg (voiced by director Taika Waititi) embodies everything I think is wrong with Thor: Ragnarok. I’ve seen the articles and reviews on the Internet, and I know that he is everybody’s favorite character. But he is symptomatic of a series of problems that I think Marvel should pay attention to before it’s too late.
While I’m aware that this might sound a bit weird, I think that superhero movies should have some sort of internal seriousness. The audience is aware that these movies have ridiculous premises, but that only works if the characters in the movies take what they’re doing seriously.
Korg Doesn’t Take Himself or Anything Seriously
I’m not talking about characters breaking the fourth wall, either. Deadpool did that to great effect, for instance. But even Deadpool took himself seriously to the extent that I was able to truly feel his “pain.” When he was being tortured, for instance, he didn’t go “Oh wow, I’m getting tortured lololololol.” He did crack a few jokes, but they were believable and 100% in character.
Then there is Guardians of the Galaxy, which is absolutely hilarious; but even there the characters believe in the situations they are in. Even Groot, whose main purpose is to provide comic relief, can be a serious character when the plot demands it. Remember “We are Groot” ?
And here we have Korg. First of all, Korg didn’t even feel like a character in this movie. He was more like a member of the audience, making the kinds of jokes they’d make watching the movie with their friends. To be fair, the first few scenes with Korg were very funny; but there’s only so many Korg jokes I could take.
But Korg is just the most extreme consequence of this lack of seriousness in the movie. Other characters also suffer from this problem.
What the Hell Happened to Thor?
Thor in Ragnarok is nothing like Thor in the other MCU movies. For some reason, he is reduced to a buffoon. A complete idiot. He has goddamn slapstick scenes for crying out loud. Then there is Bruce Banner, who also has transformed into a funny man, making jokes left, right, and centre.
The movie doesn’t feel like it’s connected to the rest of the MCU. It does, however, feel like it’s connected to the Guardians of the Galaxy expanded universe. That’s weird though, if you ask me. It’s a sudden break with the past. Thor and Banner in this movie are so different from what they were in previous movies that they feel like completely new characters.
Sadly, this breaks the immersion. Instead of a balanced story that feels believable, you end up with a series of jokes that are loosely tied together. I mean, even if that’s not the case, that’s what it feels like.
There is especially one scene I would have liked to talk about, but it’s in intense spoiler territory and I don’t feel comfortable talking about it. Suffice it to say that it happens near the end of the movie and involves Korg. If you watch the movie and have read this article, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
All I will say is, not every dramatic scene needs to be bookended with a ridiculous joke. Some scenes SHOULD be hardhitting. I mean, does Marvel think we do not remember the end of Captain America: Civil War?
Are Analytics Ruining My Superhero Movies?
I think the culprit here is the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. Because it was so successful as a comedy, the makers of Ragnarok must have decided to replicate that formula. But Guardians was set up to be a funny movie from the get go. That was how it was established.
Thor, however, comes from a different strain of Marvel movies. These movies were more serious, they were more “realistic.” They were funny, but not outright comedies. I wish they’d stay that way, but it seems like that’s not going to be the case. Mainly because, I think I’m alone in this.
Ragnarok has already made $109.1 million at the box office and I did contribute to that. It has 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2 on IMDb. Everybody LOVES Korg. Everybody thinks the humor in this movie was on point.
Is there something wrong with me? Perhaps. But my opinion is my opinion. Maybe I’ll get used to this new tone they have going for the MCU. However, it looks like Black Panther is not going to be as ridiculous as Ragnarok was. If that’s the case, then I guess I’ll have to give up asking for consistency between MCU movies.
Although if they insist on making this into some sort of a TV series with years between each episode, then they have to start thinking about tonal continuity.