Thor: Ragnarok (2017)


Looks like Marvel is negotiating with a director for the third Thor movie. Taika Waititi! You might remember him as the director of the awesome What We Do in the Shadows and some Flight of the Conchords episodes. He was also an actor in the Green Lantern movie. Variety says that the movie is scheduled to hit theaters on Nov. 3, 2017.

You can find the Variety article here


If this movie is basically What We Do in the Shadows but with Norse demigods, that’d be amazing.

— Alan


Oh wow, I didn’t realize that Taika Waititi was both the director AND a star in What We Do in the Shadows. He was fantastic on both accounts!


It’s amazing how Marvel have stuck to their guns through the years in giving more indie-oriented directors big budgets to play with (not to mention sticking more with indie-oriented actors too).

It’s almost like they [I]really believe[/I] that artistic quality is the most important thing in the long run for making money.

(Are there any other big name companies in [I]any[/I] field that have such faith in their “creatives”?)

I don’t think people have really clocked how different an approach this is, and the fact that it’s been successful ought to give pause to people who think churning out [I]knock-offs[/I] of what’s been artistically successful is the way to go.


I think Marvel is smart about it. They don’t just pick the hot indie director and go with it. Other studios have tried that and it’s resulted mostly in failures. Fox used Josh Trank for the most recent Fantastic Four, for example. Universal tried Ang Lee with Hulk. In both cases the studio hired the hot indie director and let them run with it. Not sure why Marvel is able to make it work but other studios fall on their face when they try to emulate it. Stronger producers? More heavy handed studio meddling? Whatever the reason, it works wonders for Marvel.


On the contrary, I think Marvel/Disney is shrewdly picking indie or lesser known directors for their franchise films exactly because they are easier to mold into following the Marvel style guide for their shared setting. You’ll note that the one time a director didn’t see eye-to-eye with Marvel higher-ups, he was booted from the project. While Ant-Man turned out pretty good, I think most people will agree that the movie we got was stylistically very much in the Marvel mold.

When Marvel worked with Kenneth Branagh, we got a workman-like performance which resulted in a workman-like movie.

Also, gg I think you’ll find that your assessment of Marvel movies being “artistically successful” is not a universally shared opinion.


I would call every Marvel film a workman-like movie. I can’t think of any that have gone outside the box stylistically or thematically. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. They’re still quite fun.


I really liked the analysis I saw once, totally forget where, that Marvel had been extremely successful by taking classic film tropes and patterns and adding “…but with superheroes” to them.

So Thor is your Shakespearean drama, Ant-Man is your heist movie, etc, etc.


This didn’t make a big public splash like Edgar Wright, but Thor: The Dark World changed directors due to creative differences also.


I think Winter Soldier really raised the bar for MCU films. I also thought GotG was pretty unique by MCU standards, though I’ll admit my fondness for old-fashioned space opera is clouding my judgment here.

As much as I enjoyed the Avengers films, I have to admit they can be pretty uneven in terms of pacing and narrative structure.


I think Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man 3 are the best examples of directors working within the Marvel style but still making the work recognizably theirs (Winter Soldier remains my favorite film, but I don’t know enough about the Russos’ work to know what to attribute to them vs. Marvel). I think it’s a little cynical to say Marvel’s picking indie/unknowns just to force them into the Marvel style. If they have a tendency toward the up-and-comers, I suspect it’s budget driven more than anything else.

Marvel certainly does have a style to their films even across the loose distinctions you can make (Ant Man as a heist film, Winter Soldier as a spy film, etc); sometimes directors can still succeed within that, sometimes it looks like they’re bumping up against those constraints, it’s not all one way or the other.


I wasn’t referring particularly to Marvel movies there, but to the general thing “suits” do - make cheap knock-offs of good creative things that set new trends (which from a talentless but rational perspective, does make a kind of sense, obviously - “hey, I’ve no idea what the voodoo was that made this successful, but let’s just copy it and hope some of it rubs off”).

Marvel does the other thing - yes, their movies are “workmanlike” rather than brilliant (although a few do approach greatness), but they’re understood as unique products of craftsmanship and not knock-offs of something else that’s been successful, [I]simply[/I] for the sake of making money. There’s evident enjoyment, love of the medium, etc., etc., shown in all the movies - and above all, a sense of exuberance and fun.

They could have gone the other route - just like DC is trying (unsuccessfully so far) to knock off its own “artistic” success (Nolan’s work in the first two Batman movies).


I think Tom Hiddleston would fit right in with that.


While I adore Nolan’s Batman trilogy (for the most part), DC really screwed the pooch on that one when it comes to establishing a franchise.


Say what you will about Nolan’s Batman movies (and God knows there are plenty of issues if you look) those movies were decidedly his. They were crafted in a way that makes it almost impossible to shove Superman or Wonder Woman or any other superpowered DC hero into them.

That Warner Bros decided to ape the grimdark style for Man of Steel isn’t surprising since the Nolan movies made a shitload of money, had a very different feel from Marvel movies, and fit pretty well with Zack Snyder’s Watchmen output. And of course, despite what I thought of Man of Steel, (I despised it) the majority of people apparently agreed with Warner because they made a nice profit with that movie. I can only hope that as Warner expands the movie universe they let other directors experiment with the feel a little.

Or, maybe the whole superhero comic movie bubble will burst. I honestly wouldn’t be too sad about that at this point since I’m feeling a bit burnt out on the whole thing.


Perhaps they are not comparing it to the Green Lantern movie, which is the baseline for what superhero movies could turn out like if you aren’t careful.

But seriously, I’ve always been an advocate of taking a work as an example of what it’s trying to be, rather than trying to figure out if it satisfies all of the various (and usually subjective and highly variable) criteria of a Masterwork For All Time. Just deliver what you promised in the ads and I’m happy.


Fie, man! Courage! Stand up to the light! Let it lift you up - the future is drawing you!!!



I see the superhero genre as not something that will burst, but as a genre that will experience periods of interest and disinterest just like most other genres.


In a less geeky and more sober mood, I’d agree. The progress of CGI and “because we can (now)” has to be a big part of the current flowering of superhero movies - that and the way Marvel (and DC with Nolan) have treated the genre with more respect than it had previously been treated (getting good directors, actors, scripts, etc.).

Several people have compared the current superhero jag with the great run of Westerns in the early to mid 20th century. I think the difference is in the backward-looking aspect of that mythos, compared to the forward-looking aspect of both superheroes an s-f.

It’s the “modern mythology” aspect of what’s going on that means superhero movies (good ones) are probably going to be a permanent fixture, along with s-f. Even if you think of a genre like romance - why just have a boring romance with boring ordinary life stuff, when you can have it set on Mars, with a sense of wonder?

Our lives, our cities, are increasingly “science fiction”; human enhancement is going to progress apace too, and that’s the unconscious drive behind the superhero mythos per se. All things being equal (no Great Filter, no accidentally pressed nuclear buttons, etc.) that is just going to continue. So long as it continues, the forward-oriented mythologies of superheroes and s-f are going to keep leading it.


I think Thor 2 is very meh, like something coming off a production line in a factory. Not that everything off a production line are bad, it is just too mechanical. Like Ant-man. If Thor 3 is more of the same I’ll give it a pass.

I also think GotG is kinda meh, because it came off the same production line. You have been warned.