Last Friday, I went to the movies to see Thor: Ragnarok, and then Friday night, I watch Marvel’s Inhumans on ABC. These are two diversely different properties of Marvel Entertainment with very different opinions amongst the geek world. People are gushing over Thor:Ragnarok as the best movie in the Thor series. For the past year, these same people have been trouncing Inhumans as pitiful and boring.
Well, in my opinion, they’re both wrong. I thought Thor: Ragnarok was okay but it misused some great Marvel characters and turned some serious moments in the history of Thor into a joke. At the same time, the Inhumans series gave us some truly inspiring moments that came right out of the pages of the comics.
WARNING! FROM THIS POINT ON < SPOILER ALERT! > WARNING!
So, first up, let’s talk about Thor: Ragnarok. It was a fun and entertaining movie with some of the best fight scenes that the Thor movies are known for. At the same time, they killed three very popular characters (The Warriors Three, Volstagg, Fandral and Hogun!) and turned the Grandmaster and Skurge the Executioner into a running gag.
FYI, in case you don’t know, Thor:Ragnarok is the third movie in the Thor series by Marvel Entertainment. Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk, his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.
As I said, this movie had great action and fight scenes, living up to the expectations built on the previous Thor movies; but director Taika Waititi turned it into a Bing Crosby/Bob Hope road film. The jokes were obvious and lame. All they did was keep the movie going. I mean, this was supposed to be a world of gladiatorial competitions, yet we only saw one fight. Really? On top of that, the characters went from villains to second-rate bad guys.
In the comics, Skurge was a force to be reckoned with who went toe-to-toe with Thor on many occasions. In the movie, he’s a bumbling idiot out to save his own skin. His only redeeming moment was when he saved the Asgardians from Hela. Also in the comics, the Grandmaster is a scheming, conniving cosmic being who uses games to entertain and torment his victims. In the movie, Jeff Goldblum made him look incompetent. It was a total misuse of this great Marvel villain, like Baron Strucker, Zemo, and some of the other villains they’ve trashed.
The main villain, Hela, was handled brilliantly by Cate Blanchett, although they did change her origin from Loki’s daughter to Odin’s. I didn’t have a problem with that but I think she could have been so much more. Add to that, Thor and Loki’s relationship went from adversarial in the last three movies (Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World) to sibling rivalry without any reason or expectation. Loki went from supreme villain, capable of taking on the Avengers singlehanded, to the redheaded step-child taking a backseat to Thor.
The only good thing from the movie was the mid-credits scene which set up Avengers: Infinity War. By contrast, Inhumans has been laughed at and scorned with ridicule; but I’ve been watching the series since the beginning and found it enjoyable and fun to watch.
Black Bolt, the enigmatic, commanding head of the Inhuman royal family and King of Attilan, possesses a voice so powerful that the slightest whisper can destroy a city. After a military coup splinters the family, the group — which includes Black Bolt’s wife, Medusa; his brother and rival, Maximus; his cousins Karnak, Gorgon and Triton; and Medusa’s sister, Crystal — barely manages to escape to Hawaii, where surprising interactions with the lush world and humanity around them may prove to not only save them, but Earth itself.
Did they get all the characters right? No… But they have done a lot of good things. Anson Mount is brilliant as Black Bolt. He is acting without speaking and doing it perfectly. Most of the cast is like this as well. Iwan Rheon has gone from Game of Thrones villain to Maximus flawlessly. Serinda Swan is a perfect sounding board for Black Bolt as Queen Medusa. They made a lot of great casting choices in this series, and Lockjaw is the best animated dog on television.
I do wish they mixed in a little Agents of Shield with it. I think that might have added a lot more to the series. I really don’t like Triton’s make-up in this. He looks nothing like he does in the comics. Plus, in the comics, Karnak did not go through Terrigenesis, but rather, he attained his abilities naturally. These are just some of the elements that have soured the Inhumans series.
But one thing that really stood out to me was this past week’s episode. There was a moment when Medusa was confronting Black Bolt about keeping secrets from her. She said that she didn’t want to just be his interpreter, but his partner with her own opinions, as his queen. That scene hit me like a lead balloon. It was like reading the comic. That’s one of the things they did right in this series and why I’ve enjoyed it, week after week.
I know many are going to disagree with me, but I wanted to lay out my honest opinion about these two Marvel properties. I am anticipating Black Panther to be as awesome as it looks, and toward the new season of Agents of Shield. There’s so much more to come from Marvel and I can’t wait.
# # #
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.