This review was written by Caleb Ackley. (Spoilers ahead.)

After having grown extremely used to superhero films presenting gritty realities in harsh, dark tones, I was initially off put by the trailer for the latest Thor installment. Candy-colored and none-too-serious, this, it seemed, was uncharted territory and I proceeded to the theatre warily- excited, at the very least, to see Jeff Goldblum in blue makeup-but unsure of what to expect beyond that.

The film begins with Thor in a kind of pseudo-underworld where Chris Hemsworth (the ever-muscular and flaxen-haired), while taking on a fiery enemy and his minions, is given a chance to flex his comedic muscles alongside his physical ones. After having gained victory, Thor returns to Asgard only to find that Loki has not only usurped the throne, but has also taken on Odin’s form to fool the locals while banishing the true Odin to Earth. Inevitably, Hemsworth takes control of the situation, forcing the perpetually-greasy-haired Loki to help in finding their father.

After a series of somewhat odd events and conveniently-placed cameos (who knew Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange would make an appearance), the ill-fated brothers find Odin in a non-descript field overlooking a non-descript ocean.

Anthony Hopkins, as the one-eyed Norse god, tells Loki and Thor of some vague mistakes he seems to have made in the past, not the least of which was first using their older sister Hela as a weapon and then subsequently banishing her when her powers became too fearsome.

Soon after, Hopkins disappears into a  cloud of golden dust (read dies), with a mildly sad look on his face. Enter Cate Blanchett as Hela.

Complete with a significant amount of dark eye makeup, Blanchett certainly looks the part of both betrayed daughter and harbinger of destruction. In the space of a few minutes, Hela is not only able to destroy Thor’s hammer, but also manages to throw both Thor and Loki to the opposite end of the universe.

Both Loki and Thor end up stranded on a planet that essentially acts as the universe’s dumpster, and is governed by a dictator played indomitably by Jeff Goldblum. While Loki is able to curry favor with the governor, Thor is forced to participate in a gladiatorial match with the Hulk, which is hosted in what is essentially a colosseum made of garbage.

Meanwhile, Hela wreaks havoc in Asgard, sprouting swords at every turn and decimating the golden city’s defenders. There are some, however, thanks to the capable hands of Idris Elba in a reprisal of his role as Heimdall, that are able to flee the ruined city.

Loki and Thor, after enlisting the help of Valkyrie, an ex-Asgardian warrior with a taste for liquor and a devastating history, alongside a de-Hulked and lovably goofy Bruce Banner, return to Asgard. Working together, the odd band of heroes, upon realizing they are not a match for Hela and her armies, summon a fiery skeletal being who quickly dispatches Hela while at the same time utterly destroying Asgard. Set adrift in the galaxy aboard a hulking vessel, the remnants of Asgard’s citizens listen as Thor claims that Asgard was never a place, but is in fact only a people. This resolution which, while trying its best to sound hopeful, leaves little room for grief over that which these same people have lost, and the credits roll.

While certainly bombastic and exciting, there were elements of this storyline that left much for the audience to question. Leaving the theatre, questions demanding detail and exposition left me thinking. What is Valkyrie’s history and how did she come to where they finally encounter her? What was Hela’s childhood like and had she always had an appetite for chaos? No question, however, plagued me more than that of whether or not justice for those slain in Asgard, was ever actually done. At first glance, it seems that Hela is an easily identified enemy. With her cruelly-spiked headdress and remorseless slaying of so many, how could she not be? But this answer left me unsatisfied, as we are only introduced to Hela after Odin admits that he, in essence, created her. It is here that the crux of the conflict lies.

Odin, though having in many ways perpetuated what eventually happens to Asgard, is allowed to live on in untarnished memory. Not only that, but his statement to Thor early on in the movie that ‘Asgard is not a place, it’s a people’, is eventually used by the same son to ‘comfort’ his people after they have been rendered homeless. Adding insult to injury, Odin not only distances himself from blame by downplaying his role in Asgard’s eventual demise, but also softens the underhanded blow by claiming that Asgard as a place was never really that important anyway. The sentiment is easily understood, but the implication is far from satisfying. Yes, seasons change, people move from place to place, but are we as individuals or as a people, ever fully whole if we have no place to call home? It is this question that left me, at the end of the film, deeply sad. In a culture and time in which it is easy to feel alienated from the idea of a home or a place in which one is wholly known and taken in, I feel it necessary to push back against the conclusion of this film. While those around us are necessary to a fully-lived life, is it not also necessary to have a place in which one is to live that life? Simply surrounding ourselves with bodies is not enough. If left without a place to call our own, we are left to wander aimless and often cold, surrounded by others, yes, but still left without a home.