‘Thor: Ragnarok’ revamps the franchise, making it the best installment to date

In Arts & Entertainment, Film & TV, Lifestyle

From the moment the first teaser trailer dropped in April, featuring the perfectly fitting Norse-inspired Led Zeppelin track “Immigrant Song” and neon title credits, it was clear that “Thor: Ragnarok” was going for a cinematic makeover for its franchise to give Marvel fans the portrayal of Thor they deserved.

The Norse mythology aspect of the “Thor” films has always been hard to make resonate with average moviegoers because its concepts are full of foreign and nearly unpronounceable terminology.

The third installment, “Thor: Ragnarok” seems to take a queue from the success of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films as it incorporates more humor, vibrant characters and a colorful ‘80s sci-fi fantasy aesthetic.

In the film, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) comes back to his home world, Asgard, to protect it against a prophesied event called Ragnarok, which is the ultimate destruction of Asgard. Upon his return, Thor is reunited with his deceitful adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) as they face one of the most threateningly psychotic villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of death.

The pair first meet Hela when venturing on Earth in search of Odin (Anthony Hopkins). She appears out of thin air, casually destroys Thor’s hammer and sends them to the planet Sakaar. Hela claims the Asgardian throne in what serves as a suitably intimidating scene that establishes just how powerful and dangerous she is.

“Thor: Ragnarok” explores Thor’s character with depth the prior movies never attempted, as he is sent on a journey and must learn who he is without his hammer. Thor had been overly reliant on his hammer in past films, but without it — and with the impending threat of Hela — he finally unleashes his true power and shows the world why he’s known as the god of thunder.

The relationship between Thor and Loki also progresses in this film. Loki is still the same deviant brother, often betraying Thor, but by the end, Loki proves his loyalty and redeems himself — for now at least.

Blanchett’s portrayal of Hela proves that women can outdo men in roles of powerful characters as she is the deadliest and most threatening Marvel villain seen to date.

Hela is bloodthirsty, ambitious and willing to kill anyone who gets in her way, and it should be noted that her costume is true to the comics and is beautifully designed, making her a strikingly beautiful yet brutal villain.

“Thor: Ragnarok” also gives fans more of the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) than they’ve ever seen before. He is more of a character than a computer-generated imagery prop, and his storyline is the closest to a true “Planet Hulk” movie that fans will ever get without him getting his own film. Director Taika Waititi succeeded in adapting the most successful elements of the popular comics story and offered an exciting Thor vs. Hulk gladiator match fans have been dying to see.

A new addition to the cast, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) is another example of a strong female lead who is way more than a cliché love interest.

Valkyrie was once part of the highly esteemed and powerful all-female Valkyries that fought to protect Asgard. When she is introduced in the film, she does not hold the high position of power and merit that she did before, but having had prior history with Hela, she has her own motivations to help Thor put an end to her.

Each character showcased their own moments of humor, most notably with supporting character Korg (Waititi) and the scenes between Thor and Hulk. Much of the humor was technically unnecessary and did nothing to move the story along, but still helped make the film’s characters and scenes more fun and enjoyable.

The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), a bizarre, quirky lunatic who runs the gladiator battles on Sakaar, is also worth noting because his awkward, random quips provide a majority of the unnecessary-yet-necessary humor in the film.

For casual moviegoers who haven’t kept up to date with the “Thor” or “Hulk” films, it is recommended that they either watch them before seeing “Thor: Ragnarok” or read the four prelude comics online that summarize the events prior to the film. Even without catching up, this movie promises a fun, thrilling time for anyone.

“Thor: Ragnarok” shakes up the status quo in the MCU heading into the summer premiere of “Avengers: Infinity War,” while also serving as undoubtedly the best “Thor” movie ever made.

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