Love and Thunder’ Shows Why “Arthouse” Superhero Movies Are Doomed in Today’s Marvel

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It would be convenient to start this brief reflection with a warning that will not surprise anyone who has seen a number of Marvel movies greater than zero: it is very complicated to talk about authorship in the films of any current franchise. Although there are obviously creators with a more obvious recognizable stamp than others, or simply more superficial or with more defined characteristics, the industry often devours individual talent and puts it at its service.

There are plenty of features of franchised cinema that underscore this fact. There have been directors who have been shot from blockbusters because they did not have enough creative freedom (Edgar Wright from ‘Ant-Man’, Patty Jenkins from ‘Thor 2’, Joss Whedon from ‘Avengers 3’, Ava DuVernay from ‘Black Panther’, Scott Derrickson from ‘Doctor Strange 2’, and that without leaving the MCU). And there have been authors with a theoretical personal stamp that have been devoured by the machinery, such as Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck in ‘Captain Marvel’, Cate Shortland in ‘Black Widow’ or Chloé Zhao in ‘Eternals’.

And then, of course, there are the directors whose brand is perceived as more of an exercise in goodwill than anything else, but whose contributions to the franchise are inferior (or incomparably worse, depending on your taste) than just about everyone else. of his cinema. The list is endless: Sam Raimi, James Gunn, Scott Derrickson, Shane Black and many more.. Among them is Taika Waititi, a director with a personal hallmark and a very unique comedy style and who, of course, has managed to inject some of the characteristics of his irreverent cinema into the Disney franchises.

'Thor: Ragnarok', a superhero comedy that works better the further it moves away from the Marvel canon

For example, his episode for ‘The Mandalorian’ has some hilarious dialogue and ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is, overtly, a comedy. ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ is absolutely consistent with the tone and style of ‘Ragnarok’, but it doesn’t work. It feels repetitive, with a clone tone of its predecessor and without much spark. The irreverent tone has already been completely absorbed by Marvel (which has incorporated it into practically all its films, from characters like ‘Doctor Strange’ to series like ‘She-Hulk’ or ‘Ms. Marvel’), with which it has been neutralized the hypothetical corrosive power of the same.

The power of humor (if any)

‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ directly continues what was seen in ‘Ragnarok’, with a god of Thunder embarking on adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy, but who is reunited with his beloved Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), current carrier of Mjölnir. Together they will face Gorr, an alien creature determined to destroy all the gods in the galaxy. after his daughter was killed by an indolent deity.

Almost six years have passed since the premiere of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, and although at that time Disney was already embarking on the premiere of three films a year, like now, it had not yet embarked on the phenomenal task of wasting resources, ideas and money involved in premiering five series for Disney+ a year, as it has done so far in 2021 and will repeat in 2022. And that wear and tear is perceived in Disney’s way of producing, where to maximize resources, it is forced to make more scripts with template, reduce resources devoted to effects and, in general, polish creativity to prioritize performance.

That, by force it has to affect the freest creators, who are forced to work for a much more demanding machinery. And that is being seen not only in a Phase 4 where only specific moments of ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ have emerged, but in a good part of this Thor: Love and Thunder’. It is detected from the script (functional humor but absolutely recycled from ‘Ragnarok’) to the designs (of costumes, characters and settings, decidedly inferior to the burst of color and originality that the previous Thor movie showed; for example, the scene of the meeting of gods here looks like a draft of the galactic coliseum seen in ‘Ragnarok’).

'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' is the best Marvel movie since 'Endgame', and we owe it to Sam Raimi

Even the digital effects seem to have been done in a hurry: the use of the revolutionary technology of Volume it is far from the fantastic results seen in ‘The Mandalorian’ or ‘The Batman’, and it is already raising criticism among fans. Of course, it is not a problem of bad special effects technicians, since Marvel can boast of having the best at its service, but it is that the company is a behemoth of blockbusters that circulates without time for details and at full speed.

Of course, ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ is not a disaster (honestly, no MCU movie is): Taika Waititi has a genuine talent for comedy, and even subjected to the myriad restrictions of Disney, here he shines in moments like in the relationship with the Guardians of the Galaxy or, of course, the hilarious goats. Unfortunately, they are as punctual as they are insufficient: Marvel needs or more authors with an absolutely iron personality, like Sam Raimior rethink if you want to limit yourself to being a factory of brilliant serial products.

It would be convenient to start this brief reflection with a warning that will not surprise anyone who has seen…

It would be convenient to start this brief reflection with a warning that will not surprise anyone who has seen…

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