Tag: San Diego Comic Con

Thor: Ragnarok Could Be Director Taika Waititi at His Best 1

Thor: Ragnarok Could Be Director Taika Waititi at His Best

The latest trailer for Thor: Ragnarok was easily one of the highlights of Comic Con 2017. Similar to the first trailer, which uses Led Zepplin’s Immigrant Song to great effect, this second trailer also contains a fantastic track and a humorous tone. From the looks of things, based on all of the promotion for the movie thus far, Ragnarok is promising to be unlike the past two solo Thor films or any MCU movie thus far. Ragnarok looks and feels like a refreshing, total departure from what audiences expect from the Thor films, and that makes sense given who’s directing it.

Thor: Ragnarok Could Be Director Taika Waititi at His Best 3
Thor: Ragnarok – San Diego Comic Con 2017 (via Marvel Entertainment)

Taika Waititi was an unusual and brave directorial choice by Marvel Studios. Waititi has a particular filmmaking style. Eccentric characters and worlds, zany humour, outlandish plots and striking cinematography are all trademarks of his last two movies: What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. This is all evident in the most recent trailer for Ragnarok. There’s an overuse of green, pink, white, and blue colours, the dialogue seems quippy, and the story is arguably the most fantastical one yet in the MCU, akin to Guardians of the Galaxy.

It’s already been confirmed that Hulk will actually talk quite a bit in Thor: Ragnarok, and that’s a great example of what fans will be getting into with the Marvel hero this time around. Hulk/Bruce Banner jokingly pokes fun at how puny Thor is compared to him, and this humour is character driven. It works wonders because fans are already over familiar with Thor and Hulk and their strange relationship. One obvious sign that this is indeed a Waititi film is the fact that Jeff Goldblum is in it, and he was cast as the Grandmaster. This is a great example of where Waititi’s headspace is at with Ragnarok, and just how much creative control Marvel is handing to him.

Thor: Ragnarok Could Be Director Taika Waititi at His Best 4
What We Do in the Shadows – Taika Waititi

The director’s big coming out party was 2014’s What We Do in the Shadows, a hilarious mockumentary about a group of vampires all living together as roommates. It’s offbeat, highly original, and a damn good time. The vampire Vladislav, played by Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords (for which Taika Waititi directed a few episodes), is the standout character. He’s hundreds of years old, has had a bloodlust for most of his life, and now is starting to feel insecure about where he is and his lack of accomplishments.

Thor: Ragnarok Could Be Director Taika Waititi at His Best 2
Hunt for the Wildpeople – Taika Waititi (via wilderpeople.film)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the most recent project from Taika Waititi, follows a strange and goofy orphan boy named Ricky (Julian Dennison) who goes on the run from authorities with his foster father Hec (Sam Neill) and heads into the New Zealand bush. Like What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is very character driven, with Rick and Sam’s tenuous relationship being the highlight. How they interact, work together, fall out, and ultimately understand each other is a great piece of storytelling.

Another important facet of Waititi’s directing style is his unique brand of quirky, New Zealand-specific comedy and references to Kiwi culture. What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople both take place in New Zealand and poke fun at Kiwi culture. Waititi has even managed to sneak in some Kiwi slang graffiti into the arena where Hulk and Thor duke it out (Skux life=Thug life). The self-deprecating, deadpan style of humour made famous by Flight of the Conchords seems to be present in Thor: Ragnarok, and will most certainly add a unique and particular flavour to the Marvel formula.

The CGI effects and massive action sequences are also looking to be fantastic in Ragnarok. But what should most excite fans is how Waititi will approach each character in the movie, from Thor and Hulk to Valkyrie and the Grandmaster. When a filmmaker like Taika Waititi   is given control over a massive Marvel property, the possibilities are endless and so far it shows.

To make Thor: Ragnarok even more highly anticipated, it turns out, according to Chris Hemsworth, that you’ll have to watch it to fully understand Avengers: Infinity War. This makes sense given the fact that Ragnarok will be the last film before the epic battle against Thanos and going from the leaked trailer for Infinity War, Thor’s cosmic adventures cause him to run into the Guardians of the Galaxy, who will have a big role to play in taking down Thanos.

Audiences will have plenty to look forward to come November 3 when Thor: Ragnarok opens in theatres.

Comic-Con 2017 Recap: And Justice For All 4

Comic-Con 2017 Recap: And Justice For All

It’s that time of year again, when pop culture nerds travel from all over the globe to visit the Mecca of Geekdom: San Diego Comic-Con.

Humbly beginning in 1970, San Diego Comic-Con has grown into an event unlike any other. According to comic-con.org, attendance has reached up to 130,000 in the past few years. An absurd amount of feverish fans who descend upon southern California with a single mission: to max out on everything relevant in pop culture.

However, San Diego Comic-Con wasn’t always at this level of grandiose madness. It grew and evolved, as did its focus. These days, the comics in Comic-Con have taken a back seat to other towering entities. Now it’s all about blockbuster movies, TV shows, and cosplay—but it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone attending. Fans—in droves—pour daily into Comic-Con to see Hollywood’s biggest stars. This year alone, Comic-Con was home to Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Steven Spielberg, Will Smith, and Sigourney Weaver.

Spring boarding off all this star power are the Comic-Con panels, and amongst them, all bow down to whomever sits in the infamous Hall H. This is where the titans of the pop culture industry hang their hats and showcase their future products. In 2015, JJ Abrams and The Force Awakens cast descended on Hall H, packing the room with Jedi-robed fans. These fans were even taken out of the hall and treated to a live rendition of Star Wars music orchestrated by John Williams. Last year, the Wonder Woman panel unveiled a new trailer, which hijacked the buzz at Comic-Con 2016 and gave Wonder Woman the clear victory of the weekend.

This year, albeit at separate times, Hall H housed both Warner Bros./DC and Disney/Marvel. So, which of these Goliaths came out on top?

In the beginning, things were looking a little bleak for WB.

On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter released a story that Ben Affleck’s future as Batman was in doubt. Affleck, once the scourge of Caped Crusader fans when originally cast, has become an unlikely audience favourite.

Not really the news you want to drop the day before the Justice League cast takes centre stage in Hall H.

But after the dust settled on the weekend, the clear standout happened to be none other than Warner Bros. Even maligned by the Ben Affleck “will he, won’t he” controversy, their Dream-Team in Hall H (Justice League, Blade Runner 2049, and Ready Player One) was a heavyweight no other pop culture entity could dethrone. Heck, if you can get the legend himself, Steven Spielberg, to sit on your Ready Player One panel, you’ve likely won the weekend with that alone. Add Harrison Ford and the cast of Justice League and it was no contest.

Comic-Con 2017 Recap: And Justice For All
San Diego Comic-Con 2017: Justice League (Via Twitter: @justiceleaguewb)

Earlier on Saturday, before Justice League descended on Hall H, the new Justice League Comic-Con poster was revealed—and there was something rather special about this poster. It had a very iconic Alex Ross feel. The poster was far more colourful and reminiscent of the Golden Age than the previous Justice League trailer and images had shown. As for the Comic-Con exclusive Justice League trailer itself, it gave fans everything they could have hoped for. Aside from Superman, all the Super Friends are all there, plus Steppenwolf as the new villain and exotic locals of Themyscira and Atlantis. It more than wet fans’ appetites for the film’s release in November of this year.

As an added surprise, taking the rumours directly on his squared jaw, Ben Affleck himself addressed the “will he, won’t he” Batman scenario. During the Justice League Hall H panel, Affleck said he’s “the luckiest guy in the world. Batman is the coolest (insert swear word here) part in any universe—DC, Marvel.” Affleck went on to say that he’s “so thrilled to do it” and would “be a (insert same swear word here) ape on the ground for Matt Reeves, never mind being Batman.” Reeves will be directing the next standalone Batman film. Given Affleck’s enthusiasm, it’s pretty clear where he stands on being the Dark Knight.
Follow that up with an 80’s-style trailer of Stephen Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which touches on not only the future of virtual reality but our own societal dilemmas surrounding video game culture. Toss in a new spot from Blade Runner 2049, plus a trailer released earlier this past week and Warner Bros. walks away with the gold standard this weekend at Comic-Con 2017.

What about the silver medal?

Marvel Studios made a significant push for the title in their Hall H segment. The new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok made that case all by itself—it’s hard to beat that trailer. Viewers watched Thor and Hulk working out their relationship issues all while taking part in a visually arresting sci-fi adventure. Apparently, Hall H viewers were also able to see exclusive Black Panther footage as well as the Avengers: Infinity War trailer. Yet, with it not being dropped online, and this writer selfishly seething over that, Marvel gets knocked down a peg for lack of customer appreciation to those who couldn’t attend.

Other Comic-Con 2017 notables?

One surprise trailer early on at Comic-Con was Kingsman: The Golden Circle (both official and red band), which served up a preview of a high octane, adrenaline rush movie and takes Kingsman: The Golden Circle to a must-see level of excitement for its September release.

But perhaps one of the biggest splashes with trailers was Netflix. Unveiling trailers for both Will Smith’s Bright and Marvel’s The Defenders, Netflix came to Comic-Con 2017 with their gloves off. Yet, it was the Stranger Things: Season 2 trailer which stole the show. It was easily the best TV trailer of the weekend—at least for pure nostalgia sake. To the tune of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the trailer showed the Stranger Things kids playing Dragon’s Lair in a video arcade and featured film references to Ghostbusters and Halloween—a wet dream for any child of the 80s.

So, that’s it for a quick recap of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, as far as movies and television are concerned. It’s worth noting that there was a noticeable absence from 2017—Star Wars. The franchise set in a galaxy far, far away is now housed at Disney’s big events—like D23 this past month—and the company’s yearly Star Wars Celebration. While there was a small Lucasfilm Publishing panel this year at Comic-Con, the usual big Star Wars splash was absent. Comic-Con just wasn’t the same with such a limited Star Wars presence. With Marvel Studios still showing up and wowing the Hall H crowd (Marvel being a Disney property as well), wouldn’t it have better to bring Star Wars to Comic-Con and dropped something?


Luke’s chopped off hand from The Empire Strikes Back would have sufficed.