The third installment of the Thor franchise has hit theaters with an astounding thunderclap. Critics have called it the “best reviewed Marvel movie of all time.” The film, directed by Taika Waititi, made 121 million at the box office its opening weekend.
The film follows Thor as he is imprisoned on the other side of the universe, finding himself in a gladiator contest that pits him against the Hulk, his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor's quest for survival leads him in a race to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying Asgard.
The movie stars the one and only Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder, although this time, things are a bit different. His famous golden locks have been traded for something a bit shorter, his hammer is in pieces and his eyes occasionally glow. And the great thing about the third Thor film is that it is not the same as the other two that preceded it. It appears that Marvel decided to take everything from the character (his hammer, his father, Asgard itself) and toss him onto a gladiator planet with a Valkyrie and a Hulk as a journey of self-discovery.
Hemsworth really embraces that new journey, while also delivering the improvisational comedy that Marvel is known for.
"I was sick of me as this character and so was Taika,” Hemsworth said. “And we both got together and said ‘Let’s just wreck everything and redo it.'"
Taking the idea of “Ragnarok”—the Norse concept of destroying the world and building it anew— rips apart everything we once knew about Hemsworth’s character in a good way.
One such way to start over is to bring in the first female villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Hela, the Goddess of Death. The character, played by Cate Blanchett, is a great addition to the MCU. She’s not quite the conventional villain that we’ve had so far, able to crush magical hammers and sprout antlers when she’s mad. And it’s not only that she wants to take over Asgard, it’s how she connects and draws on her past for strength.
The other approach that Marvel took for change was giving the Hulk a bit of a makeover. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) has been a bit sidelined, as the Hulk takes more of the spotlight. On the gladiator planet Sakaar, the Hulk is a celebrity, beating every contender the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) pits against him. In “Thor: Ragnarok,” the Hulk also has more of a speaking role, bringing hilarious improv comedy to the table and well as great action scenes.
Overall, “Thor: Ragnarok” has redefined the Thor franchise for the better. It gives new light to Thor’s character as a whole and further develops others.