Director Taika Waititi on bringing Thor's 'really crazy' comic stories to life


  • Movies
  • Tuesday, 13 Sep 2022

We spoke to director Taika Waititi (left), who cranks up the laughs and action with 'Thor: Love And Thunder'. – Photos: Disney+ Hotstar.

Has there been a Marvel superhero who has gone through a varied screen transformation than Thor?

He has gone from a somewhat stuffy, pompous figure in 2011’s Thor, slightly more responsible (though not by much) hero in the forgettable 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, while helping the Avengers save the world more than once along the way.

However, the movie that truly made Thor one of the most lovable and funniest superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has to be Thor: Ragnarok.

Directed by Taika Waititi, Ragnarok was a wild, hilarious space/alien jaunt that made Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder a lightning rod for laughs.

It was a character shift that would carry on to the subsequent Infinity Saga-ending Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers Endgame, in which Thor fights Thanos while sporting a dad bod.

And that brings us, neatly, to Thor: Love And Thunder, which could very well be the funniest standalone Thor film yet.

The movie – which is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar – sees Chris Hemsworth returning as Thor Odinson, whom we last saw heading off into space with the Guardians Of The Galaxy after helping to save the universe from Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame.

The Asgardians have relocated to a small fishing village on Earth, and is now known as New Asgard, led by King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson).

As always, Thor will be facing a new threat, this time in the form of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who is on a mission to kill all the gods in the universe.

And that’s not the only surprise in store for Thor – there’s also a new God of Thunder in town, a female one at that, and she is none other than Thor’s old flame Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who is now wielding Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor!

There’s a new God of Thunder in town, and she is none other than Thor’s old flame Jane Foster.There’s a new God of Thunder in town, and she is none other than Thor’s old flame Jane Foster.

Now, most superhero movies tend to have a formula that can be very predictable, and directors usually either stick to that formula, or try to make it darker.

Waititi, however, seems to have gone the complete opposite way, leaning into full-on comedy with his Thor movies.

During a roundtable interview with Asian Pacific journalists, Waititi said that the reason for this is because he decided to draw most of the inspiration from Marvel’s very own comic books.

“When I read the comic books as a kid, it all seemed very serious, with the realm of the gods and everything. But it was also very colourful,” he explained.

“There’s a lot going on, a lot of adventure and really crazy story-lines in the comic books. At one point, Loki turns Thor into a frog! You never see that in the movies.

“So I realised that with Ragnarok and Love And Thunder, we needed to lean deeper into the exciting world of Marvel’s comics.

“A lot of the stuff (in the film) comes from the comics – the giant goats and the big Viking ship... all of that stuff comes from other people who wrote that in the 1960s!”

ThorThor

According to him, humour is a “very important tool”, as it serves to bring the audience into a story and makes them drop their guard.

“When you want to get to know someone or get them to trust you, you do it with humour. When they’re your friend, then you can talk about more serious issues,” he said.

“With this film, especially, we’re using humour to make friends with the audience, then we talk about Thor going through a midlife crisis, or Thor not knowing where he is in life and being lost and trying to find purpose.”

Bale’s Gorr the Butcher is one of Thor’s deadliest villains yet.Bale’s Gorr the Butcher is one of Thor’s deadliest villains yet.

Exploring crazy parts of the Thor universe

One thing the New Zealand filmmaker loves about Thor is that he is arguably the most independent superhero in the MCU.

And Waititi has a point in that sense, as the Odinson has always been running around minding his own business within the MCU, jumping in and out of the Avengers movies, and not participating in the Earthly crises like Civil War.

“I love that about Thor – that he just goes off and does his own thing. He’s like Captain Marvel, off in other parts of the universe doing things or having adventures in other planets,” Waititi said.

“It does give me a lot more freedom (to write stories about Thor).

“We’ve seen so many Marvel films set on Earth, especially in New York. I sort of feel like that’s not really me.

“I want to go into outer space. I want to explore all of the crazy parts of the Thor universe and yeah, this film certainly does that. It’s a big space adventure.”

Natalie Portman calls her 'Thor' co-star Chris Hemsworth 'a very nice person'. Photo: HandoutNatalie Portman calls her 'Thor' co-star Chris Hemsworth 'a very nice person'. Photo: Handout

As for future Thor escapades, while Waititi hasn’t committed to another film yet, he hasn’t ruled out returning to the franchise either.

“I don’t know. It has to be with Chris, I think, because he’s my Thor, and I really enjoy working with him.

“And if he came back then we could figure that out. But that would probably be a few years away and has to be something that just feels very different and challenging and very unexpected,” he mused.

“I think we’ve done so many unexpected things with him now, I don’t know (what else to do). Maybe Thor as a really, really old man, because there are versions of the comics where he’s got all these granddaughters and stuff.

“Yeah, it would be cool, to see Thor maybe 15 or 20,000 years from now!”

Thor: Love And Thunder is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Entertainment

Michelle Yeoh says she was pressured to retire from acting: 'Do not tell me what to do'
K-pop star Henry Lau visits Penang, says he will return to Malaysia soon
Gabrielle Union cried 'every night' filming 'Truth Be Told,' recalling her own assault
Porn star Ron Jeremy committed to state mental hospital
Serena Williams finally addresses Will Smith's Oscars slap: 'We're all imperfect'
HK actress Charmaine Sheh makes TVB comeback after 7 years
Actress Pamela Anderson says her dad once drowned her kittens after she disobeyed him
Malaysian actress Siti Saleha cautious with new romantic relationship after divorce
Thai transgender actress Poyd Treechada is engaged to wealthy businessman
Malaysian comedian Amir Raja Lawak buys new car with savings made from selling corn drinks

Others Also Read