No Concessions: Thor: Ragnarok

Along with finally learning how to pronounce Ragnarok, I saw the latest iteration in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. A packed theater experienced twenty minutes of trailers before exploring the Son of Odin’s latest adventure – a comedic action adventure to self-discovery and purpose.

Thor’s solo franchise was the weakest link in the MCU in desperate need of a facelift. Ragnarok received all this and more in a new director, the MCU’s first female villain and its first heroine of color. (Those last two were appeared on television prior thanks to AOS and the Netflix series.)  All helped boost a rather bland narrative to new heights.

Without too many spoilers, I’ll get to the gist of the film, which didn’t stray too far from the Marvel blueprint. Thor, scavenging the Heavens for Infinity Stones, returns to Asgard just as a prophesized evil rises. Exiled to a strange land, he and Loki must escape a new foe and save his homeland.

I absolutely loved the comedic turn the film took, which made Thor more fun than normal. It kept the film light when needed, only leaning dark and emotional in a few spots. While this could be viewed as problematic, I didn’t find much fault. However Marvel is known to falter when delivering dire stakes.

I loved Cate Blanchet’s Hela and the mythology to her backstory. I wish there was more of the Norse pathos these films could explore. I also noticed how her presence touched on how the societal shaming women withstand for being equally or more ambitious than man.

Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie also presented a complex female character. As the first black woman in the MCU (Alfre Woodard’s “Civil War” cameo doesn’t count), Valkyrie was a pleasant sight. She held her own and had a past that didn’t rely on a man. Hoping to see more of her in the future.

With the post-credit scenes, we won’t see Thor again until Avengers: Infinity Way which has already promised to raise the stakes. It may be Marvel’s step toward consequential outcomes to their films. Some ending’s may be Phase 4’s beginning, ushering a new league of heroes.