Season 1 of Ragnarok on Netflix was an interesting take on a classic tale of Thor.
It made me think of what Rian Johnson did with his 2005 neo-noir film Brick, whereby he took all of the tropes of a film noir/detective story and set it in a high school with a high school protagonist.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the high school kid who played the detective role and Nora Zehetner the femme fatale, localising a drug detective story in a high school context.
Ragnarok did a similar thing in Season 1 by taking the myth of Thor and the Nordic gods and placing them in high school, asking the question: what if Thor and the Nordic gods were to be reincarnated in modern day Norway as teens?
How would they relate to the world today? Would they even know and realize that they're deities?
What happens when you have power but are trapped in a teen body with hormones and the powerlessness that comes with being a teen who needs to go to school in between saving the world?
This was the interesting premise of Season 1 - having a hero who's disempowered by their social standing.
Throw in dyslexia and it made the show quite unique and interesting, landing it a Season 2.
Season 2 then turned everything into a superhero soapie.
When it's good Season 2 feels as if it's referencing Spider-Man lore and when it's bad it feels like one is watching beats from Knots Landing, the Bold and the Beautiful and Scandal! all wrapped into one.
If you love melodrama then Season 2 is for you and if not, I say skip it.
The melodrama bits drag the story out and make the series feel clichéd. From the lost father subplot to the double cross that isn’t a double cross to needless sex scenes.
Everyone seems to be sleeping with everyone, only for it to mean nothing in the greater scheme of things - only there to titillate.
Also, a prominent person dies and it really doesn't have real world consequences to the story world.
It's not all bad though because the series does some interesting things with Magne’s brother (minus the whole father thing) and delivers a clever way of bringing in and expanding on Norse mythology through the Loki figure.
Some of the new recruits who join Magne add a bit of diversity to what's been a lily white series thus far, and the season ends with something that’s been dragged out from Episode 1 which holds loads of potential for Season 3 - if
the show tones down on the excess that it has in Season 2.
Here's hoping Season 3 does materialize because you never know with Netflix these days.
If it does, I hope the show goes back to some of its basics by leaving the soap opera to dailies on TV. It needs to give us some nuanced story once again… time will tell if it does.
It felt like: a very watered down Spider-Man 2 meets a very melodramatic Thor 1.
* junk **you are on your own ***It tries ****Almost Perfect *****Instant Classic