Posts Tagged ‘Taika Waititi’

Some Viking Space Magic

Thor: Love and Thunder

Director: Taika Waititi

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, Chris Pratt, Jaimie Alexander, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillen, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn

Running Time: 1 hour and 58 minutes

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

New Zealand director Taika Waititi follows up his success of Thor: Ragnarok in 2017 with a sequel entitled Thor: Love and Thunder featuring Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as Thor and Oscar winner Natalie Portman (Black Swan) reprise her role as Jane Foster with the villain being an evil God killer Gorr played by Oscar winner Christian Bale (The Fighter). This time Thor has some initial assistance from The Guardians of the Galaxy crowd led by Peter Quill played again by Chris Pratt.

However, when the evil Gorr steals all the innocent children from New Asgard, Thor calls on the assistance of King Valkyrie played by Tessa Thompson and Dr Jane Foster who suddenly appears in New Asgard to soak up some Viking Space Magic as she calls it.

The trio travel to the omniscient city to steal the lightning bolt from Zeus, played with a bizarre panache by Oscar winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator). The scene whereby Thor faces Zeus is literally stripped of all significance as Thor lands up butt naked much to the pleasure of Jane and Valkyrie while Zeus’s muses all faint simultaneously in the background.

Basically the storyline of Thor: Love and Thunder is utterly bizarre co-written by Taika Waititi and Jennifer Kayten Robinson making Chris Hemsworth struggle through the film in terms of acting while thankfully Natalie Portman and Christian Bale are strong enough actors to highlight the significance of loss, revenge and love lost, as their character’s arc is more prominent and filled with depth and motivation.

There are some uniquely funny moments in Thor: Love and Thunder and while the first half of the film battles to find its tone, it’s really in the second half and particularly the ending that the narrative settles down to a rather interesting compromise concerning the evil Gorr superbly played by Christian Bale and the ravishing Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor aka Jane Grey who adds a strong feminine quality to an essentially male centric film.

While not as good as Venom: Let There be Carnage or The Batman, Thor: Love and Thunder is wacky entertainment, psychedelic and fascinating but equally bizarre which is what you would expect from the director Taika Waititi who achieved international fame with his Oscar winning skit on Nazism in 2019’s JoJo Rabbit.

Audiences should look out for an uncredited cameo by Matt Damon as one of the mock Viking players in New Asgard. Thor: Love and Thunder gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is strictly for fans of the original three films. Viewers can catch some Viking Space Magic in Cinemas now.

Project Starfish

The Suicide Squad

Director: James Gunn

Cast: Viola Davis, Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, Sylvester Stallone, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Pete Davidson, Flula Borg, Jai Courtney, Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, Alice Braga, Peter Capaldi, Juan Diego Botto, Taika Waititi, David Dastmalchian

Film Rating: 5.5 out of 10

How did Warner Brothers go from the brilliant Oscar winning Joker in the DC superhero universe to this bizarre concoction of the 2021 reboot of Suicide Squad, unimaginably entitled The Suicide Squad?

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn clearly drew on a lot of inspiration from the films of Mexican director Guillermo del Toro specifically the Oscar winning Pan’s Labyrinth and more recently 2018’s The Shape of Water. Clearly, del Toro’s brilliance as a film maker did not shine off on director James Gunn as he delivers a bloated hot mess of a superhero film The Suicide Squad, featuring too many characters, glorified violence and a plot as bizarre as a Kafka novel with drug induced input from William S. Boroughs author of The Naked Lunch.

2021’s The Suicide Squad is so crazy, so unbelievably off the wall, that even the brilliant moments are overshadowed by some truly ridiculous moments which involved a whole new gang of The Suicide Squad attacking a fictional crackpot Hispanic island in which a crazed glorified dictator is harbouring an alien lifeform in the shape of a giant starfish.

Not even Oscar winner Viola Davis (Fences) could steady this crazy ship of fools, nor could Oscar nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tonya, Bombshell) as she dutifully reprises her role of the psychotic Harley Quinn, alongside Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, newcomer Idris Elba as Bloodsport and John Cena, seen frequently in white underpants as Peacemaker.

There are an abundance of sidekicks including David Dastmalchian as the mother obsessed Polka Dot Man, Sylvester Stallone as the talking shark King Shark, beautiful German actor Flula Borg as the gorgeous Javelin and a briefly seen Jai Courtenay as Captain Boomerang.

The scriptwriters killed their darlings in the opening credits of The Suicide Squad, making way for a convoluted plot involving alien life forms, a vain Hispanic dictator on a remote Caribbean island and a giant starfish which eventually attacks a city the size of Haiti. With such a confluence of confusing characters not one of them stood out as remarkably noticeable, although both Idris Elba and Margot Robbie tried their best to steady this sinking ship of wrecked and psychotic superheroes.

The only bright moment in The Suicide Squad, was the brief cameo appearance of Oscar winning screen writer of Jojo Rabbit Taika Waititi on a rooftop in Lisbon, Portugal, appearing as Ratcatcher. 

Despite the creative production design, The Suicide Squad is deeply disturbing, a film that glorifies death and violence without ever being responsible about its moral implications for the viewers who watch it. Where Joker was intricate and careful about its psychological makeup, The Suicide Squad is unbelievable careless about their characterizations.

The Suicide Squad gets a film rating of 5.5 out of 10, outlandish and cluttered with dazzling images, psychotic superheroes and zombies. Do not watch this film if you are stressed or taking hallucinogenic drugs.

Neon Inspired Family Feud

Thor: Ragnarok

Director: Taika Waititi

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins, Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Ray Stevenson, Scarlett Johansson, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Taika Waititi

New Zealand director Taika Waititi was Oscar nominated back in 2005 for his Live Action Short film Two Cars, One Night.

Marvel Studios recruited him to inject new life into the Thor films and that he certainly does with Thor: Ragnarok, a neon inspired family feud of mythical proportions featuring Thor played again by hunky Australian actor Chris Hemsworth along with his pesky brother Loki played by Tom Hiddleston and new addition to the family Hela played with vampish delight by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Blue Jasmine).

Thor returns to Asgard only to discover that Loki has banished Odin, their father to a virtual retirement home. Upon a brief visit, the brothers discover that Odin, wonderfully played with a sombre delight by Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) has got an elder daughter Hela who was banished from Asgard for being the Goddess of Death and wreaking havoc on the nine realms.

Cate Blanchett relishes her role as Hela, the Goddess of Death, inspired by Maleficent and certainly quite intent on destroying her defiant younger brothers.

Thor and Loki land up on a weird dystopian outer planet overseen by the demonic Grand Master, a superbly camp performance by Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day), who immediately instructs Thor to fight in a massive arena against a formidable beast: The Hulk. Enter Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, played with bewildering amusement by Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Foxcatcher, Spotlight).

Eventually Thor gets Loki, The Hulk and a hard-drinking Valkyrie played by Tessa Thompson last seen in the HBO series Westworld, to return to Asgard to defeat the demonic Hela who is assisted by a reluctant henchman Skurge played by Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek and The Loft).

The only criticism is that the middle section of Thor: Ragnarok detracts from the film’s central narrative, which is essentially a legendary family conflict.

Thor: Ragnarok is a fun-filled comic book film which thankfully does not take itself or the characters too seriously and is a clear indication that Marvel films are definitely trying to create memorable characters for the lucrative toy manufacturing market just before Christmas.

As with all the latest Marvel films, franchise opportunities abound. Thor: Ragnarok is light-hearted and hellishly entertaining. Audiences should look out for a great cameo by Benedict Cumberbatch reprising his role as the illusive Doctor Strange.

If audiences enjoyed The Avengers and the first two Thor films, then they will definitely savour Thor: Ragnarok which is comically inspired from another Marvel hit franchise, The Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thor: Ragnarok gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10.

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