Thor: Ragnarok

Movie Review

Ivory Alexander, Contributor

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I have a love-hate relationship with Marvel movies and the franchise as a whole. On one hand, the cliché format, the dull writing, and sub-par acting give me a bad case of “superhero fatigue” that everyone has been talking about. On the other hand, the franchise has brought many memorable characters to the big screen, making for some fun dialogue and some pretty sweet visuals. But lately, Marvel has been falling behind. I was not the only disgruntled and disappointed viewer of Avengers: Age of Ultron or Captain America: Civil War. I was not the only one who thought Marvel’s old formula of jokes, puns, and light humor was getting stale. We needed something new, something creative, something that wouldn’t make the snooze button go off in my head.

And Thor: Ragnarok came to deliver that something.

I will admit, I had pretty high standards for this movie. Personally, Thor has always been one of my favorite superheroes of all time. Something about the goofy charm of his first movie, his loud and boisterous personality, and the fact that Norse gods live among us really sold his character for me.

To be honest, I didn’t care much for Thor: The Dark World when it came out. It was bland, had a boring and cliché villain with no other motivation other than “destroy the world,” and Jane Foster was an even worse protagonist than in the last movie. The film itself was pretty forgettable, too.

So, going into this film, even with the new director, I expected another bland Marvel movie with Loki prancing around again making mischief  fan girls swooning, and Jane Foster giving us yet another bland performance. Luckily, to my surprise and utter delight, I was wrong. So, so very wrong.

Thor: Ragnarok finds the mighty Thor imprisoned on the other side of the universe and trapped in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk, his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him into a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.

Although it seems the typical Marvel storyline, Thor: Ragnarok offers a new and fresh approach to the studio’s stale formula. Thor is an enjoyable presence in this film;  his determination to help his people and save Asgard is the driving force throughout the story. Of course, Loki is in this film too, posing as Odin on Asgard; although he didn’t actually kill Odin, like we thought we did. No, Thor’s father now lives on Earth as an old and frail man, but even he doesn’t get a happy ending in this film…Don’t worry, no spoilers here.

But, let’s talk about the true star of the film, the awesome and tough woman known as Valkyrie. She is one of the only black women in the marvel franchise, and a cool one at that. Forget Loki, I was fan girling over Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie every 30 seconds she was on screen! She’s way better than the bland and one-note “scientist” Jane Foster any day!

Ahem…now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…Hulk also makes an appearance in this film, and although I’m not a big fan of the Hulk myself, it was nice seeing some playful banter between him and Thor. It made them feel like real friends and old comrades who fought side by side with each other.

The story can be enjoyable and fun to watch, with a cool and pretty frightening villain to top it off. Jeff Goldblum -yes, THE Jeff Goldblum from the Jurassic Park franchise- makes an appearance too, and, even though we only see him for a short time,he brings a lot of life to the movie, just like he did in his Jurassic Park movies. The visuals are spectacular (and not just the fancy cover at the top of this review), and you’ll have a good time watching the movie, especially if you’re a Thor fan, or a new Valkyrie fan!

 

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