Eden More: Taika Waititi delivers on Thor: Ragnarok
I’m not Marvel Cinematic Universe’s movies biggest fan (or...any comic-based superhero movies in that case) but the fact that I truly enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok says something and, to be honest, I’d say that something is Taika Waititi.
Waititi’s film sees an imprisoned Thor trying to get back to Asgard in time to save it from Hela, the ruthless goth chic villain capable of crushing Thor's hammer with one hand. But to get home, he has to get through The Hulk and travel across the universe.
A wonderfully witty, hilarious, kick-arse, action-packed, fun, visual spectacle. I found that I didn't need to constantly recall what happened in the two previous films (or ask my friend ‘who’s that again?’) to understand what was going on in the film. It’s a superhero flick that doesn't take itself too seriously.
The cast was great. Chris Hemsworth as Thor, who’s always pleasing on the eye, and the beautiful, mana-wahine who fights with him, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, were my favourites. Alongside these two, Waititi’s set hosted a number of Kiwi talent including the likes of Cohen Holloway, who’s been in every one of his films, and Rachel House, who he worked closely with in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Waititi also makes an appearance as a rocky alien Korg whose thick New Zealand accent is practically a character all on its own.
This film is the third in the series that follows Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013), which were directed by Kenneth Branagh, and Alan Taylor respectively. In one very obvious way, Waititi doesn’t fit the mould. Not only is he largely considered as an ‘indie’ director but this uri from Te Whānau-a-Apanui is also the first indigenous person to be handed the reins of a superhero mega movie.
In Aotearoa, with Taika already a local hero, it's pretty much impossible not to walk into Thor: Ragnarok with high hopes and expectations. But he delivers. He’s given the flagging superhero a much needed sense of humour without descending into the realm of irrelevant nonsense. It was a risk which paid off and he’s now set a new standard for its franchise - and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And it’ll be nice not to refer to being from New Zealand by having to say, “yes, like LOTR.” Now we get to say, “yes, like Taika Waititi.”