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Few people in Hollywood are as busy as Taika Waititi. Just this year we saw him in the hit comedy Our flag means deathproduce another excellent season of What we do in the shadowsand of course release his latest film, Thor: Love and Thunder. It increasingly seems that this is Waititi’s world and we just live within its crazy, irreverent, creatively rich confines. Although Waititi has only been making films for just over 15 years, he has clearly made an impact, not only bringing several original stories to life, but also drastically changing the trajectory of one of Marvel’s most important characters. We rated his films, including Thor: Love and Thunderfrom worst to best.

7. Eagle vs Shark (2007)

Waititi’s first feature film, 2007 Eagle vs Shark is a remnant of a very specific time and place. The early 2000s independent comedy experienced a seismic shift in 2004 when a $400,000 film grossed $46 million at the box office. This film was naturally dry, awkward, understated Napoleon dynamite. After that, each studio was looking for their own quotable, lovable hit, which may be why Eagle vs Shark – a similarly low-key independent rom-com by an unknown voice – was bought by Miramax Films despite only seeing a 5-minute trailer for the film. Eagle vs Shark wasn’t quite the hit the studio was probably looking for, but it introduced the world to the quirky creative mind of Taika Waititi and his frequent collaborator Jemaine Clement. Eagle vs Shark tells the story of Lily (Loren Horsley) and Clemens Jarrod, two artist types who clumsily fall in love over the course of the film. How many first features Eagle vs Shark can be a bit chaotic, more with ideas about how to tell the story than the actual story itself, but it’s easy to see the more accomplished Waititi shining through between the more overloaded parts of this film.

6. Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

The idea of ​​falling returns is something that’s been creeping into the Marvel Cinematic Universe of late. Yes, they’re still producing quality content at an increasingly impressive rate, but both the films and those of the last few years haven’t been met with the kind of rave reviews of previous efforts. Thor: Love and Thunder is a perfect encapsulation of what the world’s biggest movie giant does. It’s not a bad movie at all, but when you look at it alongside its predecessor, Thor: Ragnarok, it’s a film that feels redundant at times. in the Thor: Love and Thunder, we reunite with our titular hero as he navigates a sense of emotional stagnation. Sure, he’s the god of thunder, capable of winning pretty much any battle he enters with ease and a distinct flair, but what does it all really mean when you’ve got no one to fight the battles with share the spoils of victory? Herein lies the eponymous “love” that Waititi has made the focus of this Thor film, in which we see many characters struggle with what it means to love, to lose, and hopefully to love again. In return, Waititi brings back the long-lost love of Thor’s life, Jane Foster, which is an effective callback to a largely forgotten character. It all works out pretty well here too, as Waititi employs the same mix of goofy humor, epic needle drops, and dazzling, colorful set pieces. But there is no better film than Ragnarok and so these comparisons become something holding love and thunder back instead of being a strength.

5. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

It’s hard to overstate just how important Thor: Ragnarok was to Thor series as a whole. When Chris Hemsworth was first introduced as the titular god of thunder, he was forced to play the role largely stone and self-serious, unable to find even a hint of humor in the fact that he was an incredibly handsome and well-built human being Action figure with magic hammer. Waititi helped change all that Ragnarokwhat turned out to be the best part of Hemsworth’s portrayal of Thor, his ability to wink at circumstances around him without making a joke about the proceedings. Ragnarok also introduces us to some amazing new characters entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and Waititi’s rock creature Korg. What is most impressive, however, is Waititi’s ability to fuse his own unique sensibilities with the Marvel movie machine, something countless directors have found very difficult to master.

Jojo rabbit (2019)

For his next trick, Waititi will somehow make a coming-of-age story about a member of the Hitler Youth. It’s the kind of thing only you can do after You’re making a popular and critically acclaimed Marvel film, and now you’ve got the stamp of approval to do whatever you want. The titular Jojo is the young Nazi in question, a sweet boy in the early days of his indoctrination whose imaginary friend, Hitler himself (Waititi), follows him throughout the film. Well, this isn’t the Hitler of the real world, but the one in this boy’s mind who apparently imagines Hitler to be a clumsy idiot. Things get rolling when Jojo finds a Jewish girl (Thomasin Mackenzie) hiding in the attic, a girl who doesn’t resemble the twisted monster his teachers want him to believe are all Jews. Jojo rabbit It struggles a little as it moves into its later half and finds it increasingly difficult to balance its competing tones, but its highlights rank up there with Waititi’s best, to be sure, as evidenced by its Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

What we do in the shadows (2014)

At this point, you may be more familiar with the television series that this film inspired than with the original footage, but I assure you that if you enjoy the FX series of the same name, you’ll absolutely love the 2014s What we do in the shadows. This was Waititi’s third feature film to embrace a real-world style mockumentary of sorts, drawing heavily on the sillier side of his comedic style. This falls squarely into the “shouldn’t work” category of movies. “Modern vampire of a City” is a good stretch, but expanding that idea into an entire film – let alone a series – seems like a daunting task, and yet this film is hilarious. The commitment to the bit is perhaps the most impressive aspect here, with each of its main characters fully embracing the absurdity of the quote and the set up. A scene early in the film, in which the vampires get ready for a night on the town, stands out in this regard. Though the vampires strive to look their best, we’re soon reminded that they can’t look in the mirror to check their outfits. It’s a wonderfully clever setup that pays off when one of the roommates is forced to draw the other to show them their “reflection”. It’s that absurd sense of humor that keeps this film working.

Young (2010)

Eagle vs Shark may have been Waititi’s first feature film, but this is where he really begins to make a name for himself. Young, written and directed by Waititi, tells the story of an 11-year-old boy – known almost exclusively as “Boy” – who lives with his grandmother and younger brother on a small farm in rural New Zealand. Boy is obsessed with Michael Jackson, determined to impress the cute girl at school, and more than a little insecure about his absent father, whom he’s building into a larger-than-life hero, rather than the dead guy we soon discover to be (his father, played by Waititi himself). As Eagle vs Shark, Young is a film that delights in its fair share of flights of fancy and clever little bits of filmmaking that will surely remind you of a stylist like Wes Anderson. But where his previous film felt more mimic than original, Young feels incredibly unique and shows us a certain corner of Maori society in a way that is both inspirational and heartbreaking. The titular “boy,” played by James Rolleston, is almost immediately charming and bursting with creativity, but the film also shows his unlikable side, and his refusal to see his father for the manipulative, bumbling con man that he is is just as understandable like him is hard to watch.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Even though What we do in the shadows was Waititi’s follow-up too Youngit’s this film that really takes on the fun, touching flare of the previous film on our list. Hunt for the Wilderpeople At its core is the story of the unlikely friendship between grumpy “lazy egg” Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) and grey-haired, soft-spoken Hec (Sam Neill). similar to Young, this is a story in which our young hero’s life is largely devoid of parental characters. That is, until he is placed with a new foster family who finally seems ready to accept Ricky for who he is. Things don’t quite go to plan and soon Ricky and Hec are on the run in the New Zealand bush. Here they can develop the unlikely couple dynamic that drives the film and makes for one of the most memorable quasi-father-son relationships of the century. As in Young and Eagle vs SharkWaititi is constantly experimenting with form Hunt for the Wilderpeople but this is certainly the most skilled hand we have seen from him to date, as it perfectly blends the comedy with the film’s gist.

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