Director Taika Waititi is looking to mix things up, where it concerns the God of Thunder, on his next film: Thor: Ragnarok. Due to his comedic nature as a filmmaker, Waititi was initially something of an unexpected choice for the Thor franchise – though he could be precisely what it needs. Case in point: newly-released Ragnarok photos embrace a far more colorful look than Thor films past have, as part of the movie’s exploration of the Nine Realms and beyond.
Studios in general have begun working on ways to distinguish their superhero films from those that have come before. Fox has found success recently with R-rated movies, while Marvel Studios continues to use other genres as influence for their movies; for example, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a political thriller, while on the other side of the spectrum, Guardians of the Galaxy is a space adventure. Waititi, as it turns out, found inspiration for his own superhero feature in a cult-classic Kurt Russell film.
While speaking to EW, Waititi was asked about the influences he brought to the Thor franchise. Waititi honed in on Big Trouble in Little China as being one such influence, based on how that film strikes a balance between being serious and also having comedic moments and characters:
Big Trouble in Little China was one of those films where Jack Burton is a buffoon but he’s lovable and you’re with him the entire way. I thought Thor has got to be the one you want to be with in every scene.
Big Trouble in Little China can hardly be classified as a comedy alone, but it very much does have comedic moments. The movie hit theaters near the height of Russell’s career as an action star and the comparison to Ragnarok makes a good deal of sense. Big Trouble in Little China is funny but also features a lot of action and mythology, which is why Waititi made it clear that Ragnarok is not a comedy but still has those elements:
It’s not really a comedy. There are some really great moments we’re going to have in the film. Knowing that it was Bruce Banner and Thor on kind of a road trip journey, that lends itself to a tone because those guys are both really funny. I was like you gotta exploit Chris’ comic abilities. He’s so good and underutilized in that department. He’s legitimately one of the funniest things in this film.
Ragnarok continues to be one of Marvel’s most intriguing projects, as it does appear to be so unlike anything that has come before it. All descriptions point to the movie being packed with action, humor, and characters, so it will be interesting to see how it all comes together in the end. The film’s first trailer should help make this more clear, but that could still be a few weeks away at this point. Regardless, using Big Trouble in Little China as an influence continues to show that Waititi is not shying away from his style and reinventing the Thor franchise. Hopefully, that will result in the best Thor movie yet.