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Marvel finds its inner strength in Thor: Ragnarok

Sterling Winnegrad, Reporter

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The third installment in the Thor franchise Thor: Ragnarok came out on November 3rd. This movie was the most recent installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the the reboot for the Thor franchise, as the other two movies where critical flops. The story follows the god of thunder’s adventure to save his home world Asgard from Hela goddess of death, played by Cate Blanchett. Chris Hemsworth returns as the titular character, Thor, while Mark Ruffalo and Tom Hiddleston return for their roles as Loki and the Hulk respectively.

At the end of 2015’s Age of Ultron, Thor left the Avengers to learn more about Infinity Stones. When Thor: Ragnarok begins, Thor is imprisoned is Surtur’s underworld, just like the first scene in the trailer. The banter between Surtur and Thor as Thor frees himself in this scene sets the comedic tone for the rest of the movie.

Thor returns to Asgard, where he finds out Loki had been posing as Odin, as the audience already knows from Thor: The Dark World. Thor is puzzled by this because he thought Loki died in his arms. Loki and Thor then begin their journey to find Odin, where they run into Hela, the goddess of death, which begins the movie’s central conflict- how to save Asgard from Hela.

The movie adapts many stories and characters from the Thor and the Hulk comics. There is a loose adaption of the Planet Hulk comic when Thor finds Hulk, who also left the Avengers in Avengers: Age of Ultron, on a gladiator planet fighting in this Contest of Champions event run by Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster. The event of Ragnarok comes from the Thor comics, and new characters from the Thor comic lore appear throughout the movie, like Sutur, a fire demon that rules over the underworld, Hela the goddess of death, and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, an Asgardian warrior from when Thor was young.

My favorite part of the film is how they handled the humor. Marvel Studios always flourishes in this aspect of filmmaking. They are able to make a scary villain like Hela or Surtur feel less scary with Thor’s comedic timing. When Thor is in chains in Surtur’s lair, he doesn’t necessarily make explicit jokes, but when he says “Hold on,” while spinning in chains and talking to Surtur, the situational comedy is hilarious.

The character development in this movie is also strong. The characters of Loki and Hela have the perfect balance between intimidating and likeable because they have well scripted motives for what they’re doing. Loki makes big steps in his character arc towards an anti-hero role in this movie when he helps Thor save Asgard.

The soundtrack is another highlight in this movie because Thor kicking butt to Led Zeppelin’s  “Immigrant Song” during the big action scenes got the audience and myself hyped up to cheer for Thor. The scene where Thor enters Grandmaster’s planet, a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory reference is used with the song “Pure Imagination.” This made me feel nostalgic for a movie from my childhood, but also made me aware something goofy was coming.

One criticism I have of the movie is that I didn’t like that the trailer spoiled the big plot points. The trailer spoils that Thor is captured, that Mjölnir gets smashed, and the Hulk’s role as sidekick. Also, I feel that they wasted Bruce Banner’s character and made the Hulk seem out of character with his dialogue. Banner was hilarious, but this isn’t a side we typically see.  

Marvel
Thor finds his inner power in this still shot from Thor: Ragnarok.

Ultimately, the messages in Thor: Ragnarok outshine the few nitpicks I have. Thor loses his hammer, and he learns that he’s powerful without the hammer which is a metaphor for finding your inner strength. As a fan, I think this is a cool message because our heroes have trademark weapons and powers, but when those weapons and powers are taken away, we discover their true heroism, the source of our own power. Thor ultimately learns in this movie that the source of his power is internal and the idea that Asgard is more than just a place, it’s a people.  

The planet Asgard is destroyed in Ragnarok marking an end of the original Marvel world as we knew it and setting up with the foundation for a new phase in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

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Marvel finds its inner strength in Thor: Ragnarok