Weekend Superhero: Can THOR: RAGNAROK Save the THOR Franchise?

Weekend Superhero: Thor: Ragnarok Has Promise

Recently, Marvel unveiled the first teaser for the third Thor film, Ragnarok. I’m not a fan of the Thor franchise, or the Thor character. I found the first film to be a perfectly acceptable piece of entertainment with very little going for it, and the second film I found to be a piece of…something else entirely. With the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, initially reactions seem pretty good from most fans. However, I still have my doubts (as I always seem to do).

Even going into this with doubts, I do feel a cautious, perhaps foolish optimism about Thor: Ragnarok. The only thing that I liked about The Dark World was the production design, and it looks like the filmmakers have continued that streak of detailed and beautifully rendered visuals. I think Thor’s new look is great and I really like the more industrial landscapes they’re showing off. The entire world had a Guardians of the Galaxy feel, which makes total sense considering it takes place in the same cosmic universe.

In comparing it to Guardians of the Galaxy, I do think Marvel may be making one too many trips to that well. I was actually thoroughly unimpressed with the Guardians 2 trailer when that came out, as it seemed like more of the exact same movie. With Ragnarok, they double down on this by essentially saying “We know the Thor movies aren’t as good, so let’s just make the new one look like a movie that everyone loves”. That’s why this trailer has Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” playing throughout, and the title cards are ripped from an 80’s movie. I don’t know whether to find it concerning that the filmmakers have switched gears and abandoned Thor’s aesthetic, or if I’m relieved that they finally realized it wasn’t working and decided to try something new.

An element of this trailer I really, really like is Cate Blanchett as Hela. There’s no way around it: she looks awesome. I love her ridiculous antler outfit more than anything. I love the moody eyeliner and hairstyle. Considering Hela is based on the Norse God of the Underworld, Hel, I think these aesthetic choices make total sense. I can’t wait to see Blanchett’s actual performance, since we all know she’s a phenomenal actress. Now, what does worry me is that The Dark Worltrailer also boasted a really neat looking villain, Malekith, but the movie did absolutely nothing interesting with him. I really hope they don’t waste a great opportunity to have proven, grade-A talent tear up the screen in the Marvel universe. An incredible antagonist (that isn’t Loki for the umpteenth time) is just what Marvel needs to reach a next level of quality.

Initially, seeing the Hulk in his “Planet Hulk” gear in this trailer was exciting and I was pleased that they were going to include elements of that storyline. However, that just made me think more about how I would much rather see a “Planet Hulk” movie. Like I said, I’m not a fan of the Thor movies so I hesitate to watch any more of them. I would much rather see Marvel take a risk on something like “Planet Hulk”. That’s probably asking too much of them, though. It would be a tough sell to have a mainstream Marvel movie aimed at children center on a character that mostly just grunts and roars for two hours. Thor and Hulk both work better as supporting characters. Perhaps Ragnarok will strike a good balance between the two storylines and end up with something spectacular.

Overall, cautious optimism seems to be the way to go here. We haven’t seen much of the actual storyline, just bits and pieces, and it’s hard to say if Thor will finally undergo some kind of interesting arc. I would like some depth added to the character, and I would also like to see some excellent villainry from Blanchett. What do you guys want to see and how do you think Ragnarok will be?

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About the author

Nick DeNitto

Nick DeNitto graduated with Honors from Adelphi University. He began writing movie reviews in middle school and has worked tirelessly to mold his own unique critical voice. He is currently affiliated with the National Board of Review and hopes that one day he is remembered as “The People’s Film Critic.”

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