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Thor Ragnarok: Just a Cash Grab?

Michael Ptak, Staff Writer

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Thor Ragnarok is the 1,329th film in the endless Marvel cinematic universe, at least it feels that way. Now that may sound like pessimistic satire, (because it is). However, Marvel movies seem to be the infinite stream of cash-grabs these days, especially in recent years. I mean how can you argue that the the only thing on Disney executives minds during the third reboot of Spider man this year was “telling a different side of the story”? Nevertheless, these movies do come to surprise me sometimes, being that each movie usually has a different director with different visions for the character.

Taika Waititi, a director of many hit indie films and the maker of Moana, directed the third movie in the Thor franchise, Thor Ragnarok which was released on November 3, 2017. Now Thor is, I’ll admit, not the most interesting character in the Marvel franchise, considering that most of his time on screen consists of either comic relief or a background character with less motivation than the other characters, other than in his own movies of course. Going into this movie, I was cautious, as other fans were at the time. The original Thor was, at best, OK and Thor 2: The Dark World was a total flop, story line considered. However leaving the theater, I was torn between two sides.

On one hand, I genuinely did have a great time watching the film and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The action was on point, the special effects are blended seamlessly, the way the film is shot is very well, and most importantly, the story was actually adequate, for a Thor movie. Thor Ragnarok  really took the Thor we knew and made him more lighthearted, not to the point of comic relief however. Marvel has made so many movies at this point that they really have to realize and almost even tease themselves for the generic blueprint that is every superhero movie they make. This is one of the strong points of this movie, realizing to not take itself so seriously and establishing the correct tone right off the bat.

Now usually, one of Marvel’s weaknesses in almost every movie is the score. Being that the mindset of every director is that their movie has to be “more epic” than the last, the viewer ends up listening to the same remix of orchestral themes throughout the Marvel superhero franchise. However, this movie really surprised me with Mark Mothersbaugh creating a very modern, almost Tron-like at times score, that really fit the tone and scenes of the movie. It was nice to see a fresh take on the same formula of previous Marvel movies.

On the other hand, however, problems stray a lot deeper than some would realize. As I said earlier, the story was adequate, satisfactory at best. This means that Marvel will continue to create average story lines which will, in turn, develop into another average movie, or as some would call it, a cash grab. Disney is really playing it safe with these superhero movies these days and are particularly careful not to stray away from the “good guy fights bad guy” formula. Incorporating more complex story lines into their movies will really give Marvel a boost in popularity other than the same template over and over.

Now don’t get me wrong, Thor Ragnarok is a fun movie to watch, but it doesn’t have that same fulfilling sense of a greater purpose than a cash grab and a fun time in the theater. If you’re a Marvel fan, go see this movie and you will enjoy it. However, if you are looking for an Oscar worthy screenplay, try somewhere else.

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Thor Ragnarok: Just a Cash Grab?