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Thor: Ragnarok Light(ning)s Up The MCU

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When news of an upcoming film breaks, there are three kind of reactions; total ‘f**k yeah!’ hype, the blase ‘might see it’, and then the ‘No GD Way -‘ face palm. For me, Thor: Ragnarok was the latter. When news of the third Thor film broke, one which sought to combine classic Norse legends with 1970’s-80’s themes and butcher the cult-classic Planet Hulk saga, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

What was Marvel doing? Did they finally run out of ideas? Were they throwing Chris Hemsworth, the God of Thunder under the bus? Were they just cut-and-pasting the ’80’s atmosphere of Guardians of the Galaxy?

However, when I saw the film with a family member, my mind was BLOWN. The ’70’s cinematography and themes were excellent. Norse elements were blended in seamlessly. The humour had me almost in tears.

Chris Hemsworth in “Thor” (image: Forbes)

But despite these humorous elements, the film has a serious story woven into its plot. After a long absence, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Asgard to find that his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) has been deposed and his right as successor challenged by Hela, the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett). Thor attempts to make stand against the Goddess, only to have his prized hammer, Mjolnir, destroyed. He finds himself exiled to Sakaar, a planet of gladiators and gamblers. Here he reunites with his old friend and fellow Avenger, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and the surly warrior Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). The group makes plans to escape and stop Hela before she unleashes Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse.

Now, to be completely candid, while I am a fan of the MCU (and DCEU) I have never been a fan of the Thor films, so you can definitely believe me and imagine my surprise when I say that Thor Ragnarok is one of the best films in the MCU right now. While that may seem like a boast, it’s only because this film has succeeded in so many places where films before it have failed. The plot is far less predictable as it was in other MCU films, with excitement and fresh character development at every turn. The film was far less serious than its predecessors were, and after that bland, purposeless crap-shot that was Thor 2: The Dark World‘s villain Malekith, Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Hela horrifies, dominates and occasionally jokes in every scene in which she appears; already outshining most villains in the MCU.

Another marvellous (pun intended) aspect of the film were the minor characters, such as the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), Skurge (Karl Urban) and Korg (Taika Watiti), who were just as entertaining and memorable as the main cast, despite playing relatively small roles.

Cate Blanchett goes evil for “Thor: Ragnarok” (Image: Zimbio)

This is not to say that the film is flawless. Fans of the trilogy’s continuity may be left disappointed with the minimal screen time from other Thor characters, like Odin and the Warriors Three. They were apparently omitted from most of the film due to schedule conflicts of actors.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, and other actors like Sam Neill and Matt Damon, also had cameos in the film and while they were quite amusing, they were not really needed.

But my biggest gripe with the film is undoubtedly the pointless fuss over the sexuality of the character Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), which has been plaguing the film for almost a month now. This is a sign that PC Liberalism is unfortunately alive and well within the MCU. Whilst an LGBT character in the MCU would have been more than welcome and refreshing for the franchise, no such indication of Valkyrie’s sexuality was made, leaving the whole LGBT debate about the film fruitless and quite frankly, a waste of time.

All in all, Thor Ragnarok was an excellent film and has more than lived up to its expectations. Packed with equal measures of action, humour and pop culture references, this film is sure to please everyone who sees it and reinvigorate the superhero genre.

8.5/10 stars