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If You Don’t Know ‘Thor: Love And Thunder’ Director Taika Waititi, You’re Missing Out

Taika holding up peace signs at comic con

Taika Waititi is one of those creatives that you either love with your entire being or you just aren’t aware of their work yet—sorry, there’s absolutely no in between. But now, Waititi, who breathed new life into the Thor movies with comedic ’80s sci-fi flair in Thor: Ragnarok, is taking over the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet again with his film Thor: Love and Thunder.

The new teaser trailer for the fourth Thor film starring Chris Hemsworth dropped, and fans flocked to the internet with questions about the creative team bringing the movie to life. And one of those questions was about who exactly is the creative force behind the new direction of Thor’s journey?

So how about a little crash course in his filmography and what makes him so great for Thor, for those uninitiated to the fandom of Waititi? This is by no means a comprehensive list, and you should actually just go through Waititi’s entire filmography because it’s a gem of a journey. But this is just a bit of a quick dive into Waititi’s vibe and work that will give you an understanding of his vibe. (Not featured but a must-see is his 2010 film Boy.)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

A movie that explores that feeling of being alone and lost without anyone there to guide you, 2016’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople takes its audience into the relationship between Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) and his new foster father, Hec (Sam Neill), who accidentally become part of a manhunt after getting stranded in the New Zealand wilderness.

It’s Waititi’s special brand of humor mixed with the most emotional arcs a film could possibly have, to the point where you find yourself sobbing and laughing simultaneously.

Our Flag Means Death

The internet’s current obsession, the David Jenkins show Our Flag Means Death brings us Taika Waititi as the pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach. So why is this show a perfect example of Waititi’s power? He knows exactly how to tell a love story that both makes you laugh and makes you think at the same time, while still being a love story. Edward Teach, in a historical sense, isn’t a great man, but Waititi’s performance on Our Flag Means Death shows a man searching for companionship and love at sea who is willing to learn and understand what someone like Stede Bonnet (played by Rhys Darby) needs from him.

He’s playing Blackbeard and yet gives us one of the most tender performances I have ever seen. And it’s all coming from this energy that is purely Taika. In what world would a depressed Blackbeard hanging around the Revenge in a flowy red robe be emotional and heartbreaking while still bringing the fearsome pirate to life?

What We Do in the Shadows

The FX show What We Do in the Shadows came from a lovely, weird indie movie starring Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, and Jonathan Brugh, where they are vampires filming a documentary about being vampires. You’d think that it’d be an outrageously fun movie and nothing more, and yet, we get a war between vampires and werewolves, a struggle for power within their own home, and a heartwarming look into Waititi’s Viago and his willingness to just be a wholesome vampire trying to live his best life.

It’s high up on my list of comfort movies and something I try to encourage everyone to watch. While the FX show has a similar energy, it’s its own beast and different from the world that Waititi and company created with the film. There’s no Rhys Darby as Anton the werewolf on the show, and that’s a dynamic (Darby and Waititi) you don’t want to miss.

Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit follows Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) as he tries to navigate the world as a young child in the midst of World War II. What he thinks he understands is not what is really happening around him, and his imaginary friend, none other than Adolf Hitler (played by Taika Waititi), slowly shows his true colors, and Jojo is forced to realize the evil of the world is trying to corrupt everything around him.

Watching Waititi—a Jewish man of color—play Hitler takes the commentary to a new level. The movie also has a punch to the gut that will stay with you for years after you’ve seen it. I know; I still stop and think about it from time to time.

Thor: Ragnarok

Obviously, you should watch Thor: Ragnarok. The third Thor movie reinvigorated fans and gave us a new sense of the God of Hammers—er, Thunder. Waititi and Hemsworth reclaimed the character and his solo franchise in a way that got fans excited for Thor movies, and Ragnarok is nearly a nearly perfect movie.

Taika Waititi is one of our greatest filmmakers and creatives, and if you haven’t seen his work before, I’m jealous for the journey you get to go on.

(image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.