It’s rare for a superhero tentpole to reinvent its titular character after five screen appearances, much less blindside its audience with a potent, rich cocktail of heartfelt performances and cosmic action. And yet, that’s exactly what Taika Waititi achieved on Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel’s third and final movie of 2017 that went on to become an instant hit, no thanks to its water-tight script and impeccable humor.
Indeed, for those of you who have seen Avengers: Infinity War, you’ll know that Chris Hemsworth’s Norse god was every bit as comical as he was in Ragnarok, and it’s a credit to Taika Waititi that the standalone threequel was able to get the very best out of the actor.
Doing so wasn’t easy, of course, as Thor: Ragnarok was a Herculean task in and of itself, not least because Waititi was coming off two indie gems (more on that later), but while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the Kiwi director admitted that he was actually taken aback by the amount of creative freedom he enjoyed on set:
There are jokes in there that have no business being in that movie. But Kevin Feige just said, yeah, more of that stuff. It was very strange what they were encouraging me to do.
On a more personal level, and after delivering two carefully crafted movies in What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt For the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok represented a marked change of pace for Waititi, though he never once felt that he had made the wrong decision.
Thor was such huge comfort shift, and something I was not prepared for at all. But with my smaller films, I wasn’t feeling very challenged; I wasn’t feeling out of my comfort zone.
Thor: Ragnarok is now available across Blu-ray, DVD and all the usual platforms. Infinity War, meanwhile, continues to dominate the box office charts, and is well on its way to $1.8 billion worldwide.