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Thor Ragnarok Review

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Chris Hemsworth has been the Asgardian god of thunder and one of Marvel’s many heartthrobs since 2011. He’s appeared as Thor in several films over the years, with the most recent installment coming into theaters on November 3rd, 2017.

After Thor’s absence in Captain America: Civil War while most of the other Avengers appeared in the film, Marvel fans were left to wonder what the prince from space was up to. Ragnarok fills in these gaps.

The film has an action-packed opening reminiscent of the playful nature represented in many of the comics in the Marvel universe.  Marvel is known for being more colorful and intended for younger audience than DC, and this movie is a perfect example of that idea. If you’re only a fan of Marvel’s more serious films, this is not the movie for you, but if you enjoy some witty banter between superheroes, definitely give Ragnarok a try.

Playful and eccentric director Taika Waititi gave audiences a refreshing change from the past two Thor films, which included a mediocre origin story and the try-hard, dark and brooding middle child of a movie that was Thor: The Dark World.

Somewhat poorly represented in his films, Thor came to be viewed as a sort of mug-smashing, aloof and somewhat air-headed jock-type character rather than embodying the gritty impression that the title ‘god of thunder’ gives off. The Dark World tried to give the Asgardian Prince a more serious plotline littered with endangered loved ones, villains jeopardizing the safety of the Nine Realms (all nine of them, guys, this is serious), and deaths of beloved characters.

Unfortunately this lead to the predictable resurrection of Loki, the irrelevant detail that Dr. Selvig hates wearing pants, and on top of it all the villains who aimed to eliminate everything that Thor held dear were literally evil elves.

After this misstep in the development of Thor as a character in his own films, Ragnarok took a completely different turn.

Ragnarok literally brightened up the trilogy with eye-catching color schemes, loud music, and a slew of new characters.

For anyone interested in Norse mythology, the word valkyrie may seem familiar. Strong, warrior women who choose heroes for battle, this is the perfect name for the new character played by Tessa Thompson.

Jane Foster was the previous female lead of the Thor movies, and while she was a bonafide genius and obviously a very patient woman for continuing her relationship with the (literally) flighty prince of Asgard, she was let go as Thor’s romantic interest.

Although Jane will not make any future appearances in the Marvel movies, one can imagine she’s still kicking butt in the fictional world of science.

As opposed to the slightly more flustered and reserved Jane Foster, Valkyrie is bold, determined, and a strong counterpart to Thor who truly holds her own throughout the film. She isn’t forced into an overly romantic role, either, which is refreshing to see. She doesn’t immediately follow Thor’s every direction, but shows loyalty in the end where it counts. Not just for Thor, but for Asgard.

Valkyrie was not the only well-developed female character featured in the film. Cate Blanchett appears as Hela, the goddess of death. As opposed to succumbing to the mistakes that are made with many female villains, Hela is not overly sexualized or motivated by spite over a failed romance or the greed for beauty. She instead seeks revenge on Asgard for the sins of her father, Odin, who isn’t quite dad of the year to be honest. And of course the whole goddess of death thing contributes to her villainy at least a little

Hela represents the most serious part of the film. The forgotten first child in the Asgardian royal family, she is spiteful and hellbent on taking her “rightful” place on the throne of Asgard. Hela is the window into Odin’s past, where he is somehow an even worse father than he was shown to be when he forgot to inform Loki of his true parentage, or when he allowed Thor to grow arrogant, only to banish him from home to cure him rather than spend the quality time with his son that both Thor and Loki seemed to have desperately needed.

Despite Odin’s glaring faults, Ragnarok showed him in a more compassionate light.

His final goodbyes to Thor and Loki don’t clear him of his mistakes, but are quite heartwarming to watch nonetheless. While it’s debatable on whether or not he succeeded, it seems that Odin really did try to become a better person after Thor’s birth. The bond between the king of Asgard and the hammer-wielding warrior as father and son is extremely prevalent in this movie. Perhaps Odin was not quite Danny Tanner when it came to raising Thor, but the true short end of the stick went to Hela.

Odin is the heart of the conflict between his children: the abandoned daughter and the chance-at-redemption son. Hela’s early-on show of dominance when she destroys Thor’s hammer, a weapon that was once her’s, provides a perfect opening to the quarrel between the two.

Rounding out new characters, Ragnarok also introduces Korg (actually played by director Taika Waititi) the lovable revolutionary, Jeff Goldblum’s the Grandmaster, and many others who bring the story to life.

Onto returning players, the fan-favorite of the Thor series, Loki, returns in the third film. Straddling the line of antihero, Loki does help Thor despite his mischievous actions and tendency to deceive. The bond between the Asgardian brothers is not exactly conventional, but nonetheless they are shown to care for each other. It is not difficult to see why Tom Hiddleston has won the favor of thousands of Marvel fans after his portrayal of the god of mischief, as he captures Loki’s development and struggle to really pick a moral alignment perfectly. Loki lives in the gray, which is actually much more exciting to watch than if Marvel were to slap him with a “good” or “bad” label. Oh, and for once Loki doesn’t fake his death in this film, which surely gained a sigh of relief from fans who grew tired of predictable plotlines.

Of course Idris Elba did a fantastic job as the all-seeing Asgardian Heimdall. Shown as a compassionate leader and loyal aid to the royal family, Heimdall plays a large role in the rescue of the Asgardian people when their home is destroyed. His role is arguably more important in this movie than in past ones, as here he is truly shown as a leader and vital warrior on Thor’s side.

Heimdall reinstates the sentiment originally stated by Odin, “Asgard is not a place, it’s a people”, that really sums up Thor’s fight to defend his people. It has been speculated that the quote may represent the displacement that refugees feel when they are forced from their homes, which is a topic that really strikes the hearts of many in today’s society.

Moving on to the only earth-born character in the movie (besides the momentary appearance of Stephen Strange), Bruce banner, or Hulk, is shown to have ended up on the planet Sakaar after the events of Age of Ultron. There is some well-deserved poking fun at the 2015 film in Ragnarok, shown when Thor repeatedly attempts to comfort Bruce with the “sun is going down” comment that Natasha is seen to say in Age of Ultron. There is a brief mention of the even briefer romance between the Hulk and the Black Widow in Ragnarok, when a clip of Natasha speaking plays in the ship that Bruce came to Sakaar in. It is unknown whether this relationship will continue, as Thor states that Bruce has been away from Earth, and in constant Hulk form, for two years. Under the questionable standards of controversial former Marvel director Joss Whedon, Natasha may suddenly have a spouse and kids by now.

Overall, Thor: Ragnarok is not the sequel that was expected to come from the first two Thor movies, but it was not an unwelcome addition to the trilogy.

“Thor: Ragnarok is full of color and jokes and neon sceneries. It was a surprising and refreshing change of style,” summed up senior student and Marvel fanatic Ellen Guilford on her experience with the film.

While it could be argued that Ragnarok was overwhelmingly filled with comic relief and lacked slightly in other more serious departments, the lighter composition of this film was a burst of energy that may be well-needed in the world of Marvel. With its upcoming, long-awaited Infinity War movie to be released in 2018, Marvel fans may be thankful  for this pop of color and happiness when they are sobbing over whatever heartache the newest Avengers movie will be sure to cause.

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Thor Ragnarok Review