Arts & Culture

Review: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ breaks new barriers for Marvel


Superhero fans will be excited to witness the next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the third standalone film for Thor, “the strongest Avenger.” Marvel saved the best for last as this film delivers an action-packed adventure full of comedy, stunning visual effects and tons of heart. This movie takes a look at these heroic characters in a whole new light, bringing new elements of friendship, bravery and inner growth. Sounds like your typical Marvel movie, but this film breaks down various barriers for the superhero franchise.

Chris Hemsworth takes his rightful place as Thor, God of Thunder and Son of Odin. The adventure begins two years after “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” with Thor on a special mission throughout the Nine Realms in search of the Infinity Stones. He returns home to Asgard to find his mischievous brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, on the throne disguised as Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins.

Benedict Cumberbatch returns for a short while as Doctor Strange to help the two of them find their father in Norway. Upon his discovery, a new threat arises to take the throne of Asgard for herself. Cate Blanchett appears as Hela, the Goddess of Death and Odin’s first born daughter. Both Thor and Loki get trapped by Hela and are banished to a far off planet called Sakaar. With his hammer destroyed and his golden locks trimmed off, Thor must rely on his brother, a drunken Asgardian warrior, and his former ally the Hulk to escape Sakkar and save Asgard from the destruction known as Ragnarok.

This film gives fierce and bold women far more prominence than previous Marvel films. For instance, this is the first film to feature a female as the major antagonist in the MCU.

Tessa Thompson also stars as Valkyrie, a self exiled scavenger who used to belong to an elite group of female warriors. She is first introduced as an alcoholic with a horrific backstory. Thor helps her overcome her self-pity and shows her what it means to be a hero. Thompson’s stellar performance brings plenty of spunk to her character and brings “girl power” to a new level.

Mark Ruffalo returns as the Hulk, the real strongest Avenger. Hulk was the first to be trapped on Sakkar where he has spent time as a champion cage fighter for the Grandmaster. In this film, the audience will enjoy the hilarious bromance between Hemsworth and Ruffalo. We also get to view Hulk as a big green monster with a soul and a need for acceptance — no matter where he is or what he does. Hulk also speaks in full sentences this time around. This movie marks a chronicle moment for this favorable hero when we see the compassionate human side of the Hulk for the very first time.

All in all, “Thor: Ragnarok” is by far a movie that elevates the Marvel superhero genre with layers of character development and personal growth. Director Taika Waititi really brought the hammer down on this installment of the Thor trilogy.

This article first appeared in the Friday, November 10, 2017, Edition of The Echo.