By Bailey Brammer | Editor-in-Chief
As someone who enjoys a good superhero movie, but doesn’t religiously follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s phases and characters, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to follow the third installment in the Thor series,”Thor: Ragnarok.” I was pleasantly surprised, however, to discover that my basic understanding of the Avengers was more than enough to thoroughly enjoy the storyline and humor of Marvel’s newest release.
The movie begins with the Thor, the god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth), trapped by a fire demon Surtur, who claims he is going to start “Ragnarok,” the prophesied death and destruction of Asgard and its people. Thor defeats the monster in true, superhero-style with his all-powerful hammer, and returns home to Asgard where he finds his supposed-to-be dead brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), posing as his father, Odin.
The reluctantly reunited brothers seek out their real father, but not before running into a familiar face on Earth — Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Upon finding Odin, their father reveals that they have an older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), who is not only the Goddess of Death, but is also looking to claim the throne of Asgard as her own and destroy anyone who stands in her way.
The brothers’ first encounter with their long-lost sibling lands them both on a planet of lost things and misfits known as Sakaar, which is run by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Thor is slated to compete against the Grandmaster’s champion in a gladiator-like challenge in order to escape the planet and return to save Asgard. The champion, to Thor’s delight, happens to be the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo); the two Avengers, along with Loki and a former Valkyrie also from Asgard (Tessa Thompson) team up to attempt to take down Hela and restore peace to the Nine Realms.
Although Hela’s character contains a certain dark and powerful beauty, the villain lacks any real connection to the audience through her past –– she has no reason for her bloodlust, other than that her father banished her for being too ambitious. Thompson’s portrayal of Valkyrie, however, offers a relatable, comedic and dynamic female character that easily replaces Thor’s previous love interest, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).
Thor himself undergoes a few changes in both physical appearance and costume in this latest release, including a haircut and the loss of his precious hammer. These adjustments, however, lead the god of thunder to recognize his true power in the face of his murderous sister. The transformations also give Thor a more human feel, which is something previous Thor and Avenger movies have been slightly lacking in.
The actors offer a break from the fighting with witty remarks and banter, particularly between Thor and Valkyrie. Their exchanges are awkward but adorable, and the Norse god’s embarrassment with a new crush again adds to his humanity and relatable-ness.
The music often mirrors the action, with hardcore rock and roll punctuating intense fight scenes and battles. Despite the film’s PG-13 rating, there was hardly any blood or gore, so the movie would most likely be fine for mature pre-teens.
Overall, the fast-paced development of the movie lends itself to be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of whether you’ve grown up reading Marvel comics or just happen to think that Hemsworth and Hiddleston are incredibly dreamy.