My friends are often frustrated at my resistance to their suggestions of books or movies they think I’d like. “This is just up your alley! You’ll love it! You liked X so you’re going to love Y! I think this is really your sort of thing!” When I don’t want to deal, I’ll point out that I have an enormous to-be-read list already and mumble something about adding it to the list, or I’ll leave my movie-going up to the chance of which movies my friends are getting a group up to see when I happen to be available. But sometimes I’ll push back and point out that my friends’ recommendations—not just of things they like, but of things they actively think I’ll like—have a success rate that isn’t much better than random. So bringing something to my attention is fine, but when I say it doesn’t grab me, just accept that it doesn’t grab me.
Comic book movies are one of my weak spots in this process. And just like Lucy and the football, I have a weakness for believing that maybe, just maybe, this time the movie that all my friends are saying is the best Marvel movie ever will actually recapture the things that I enjoy about graphic novels, and will spark that sense of wonder I felt back at the beginning of the long chain of big SFX budget features that gobsmacked me by putting my comic book fantasies up on the big screen.
The thing is, what the movie makers are taking away from the success of comic book movies is exactly what makes me swear every single time that I’ll never again let myself be fooled into giving them one more chance. Explosions and long lovingly-drawn-out sequences of extreme meaningless violence. Not merely not my thing, but something that a movie needs to actively overcome by being extremely (and I mean extremely) good at everything else.
Thor: Ragnarok did not overcome.
Honestly, except for that one heartbreaking flashback scene with Valkyrie where we are allowed to pretend that the companion she sees fall in battle was her girlfriend (and we aren’t actually told that, we’re just tossed the crumb of not having it outright contradicted), all I came out of Thor:Ragnarok with is the memory of constant non-stop fight and chase scenes. Boring. Unutterably and mind-numbingly boring. And if you edited out all the scenes of violence from the movie, you might possibly have ten minutes left of pratfalls and embarrassment humor.
And yet, everywhere I look, people are calling it the best Marvel movie ever. People whose taste and opinions I ordinarily find trustworthy. So if you’re ever in a position of raving to me about how wonderful something is and how I absolutely must read/watch/play/try it and I get this pained and evasive look on my face and mumble something about there only being so many hours in a day, just…take no for an answer. Ok?