Disastrous press campaign aside, Thor: Love and Thunder has been a fascinating test of just how far a fandom will defend garbage. Christian Bale screaming in the mud, rumbling around the floor and scarpering about as an opening moment reflects nicely on the scrabbling fans. Sadly, this smug metaphor comes to chastise the best part of this Taika Waititi-made car crash. Bale, naturally, is the talent that is raised taller than the rest of the family-friendly indulgence on display in this bland, colourful shlock. How it is possible to make a feature so vibrant yet so muted and uncomfortably grey is fascinating. Thor: Love and Thunder makes it possible though, a remarkably flat and banal feature that does very little with its simple parts.
Eccentricity plays its hand in art more often than not, especially the literal artist and the functionality of them in the working world. There is no doubt that Picasso was off his rocker, that Ralph Steadman’s ink flourishes are proposed solely on mania and sin. They are great artists because they have wholly overwhelmed themselves in their work. Just look at how many features there were on Vincent Van Gogh. Benedict Cumberbatch starred in one of those for the BBC, and now he features as another artist, Louis Wain, in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. The early 1900s burst through with feverish intent and excitement in a film that mumbles and drones through its script like it has other places to be.
I’ve not ridden the wave of love Taika Waititi has received in modern times. Jojo Rabbit did little for me, and I’m still struggling to understand the near-universal praise he received for What We Do in the Shadows. Don’t get me wrong, they’re serviceable comedies, and I do wish him all the best. It’s rare these days that a man working solely in comedy can, in fact, survive for so long and achieve such acclaim. Still, I’d trooped on through his early work and that was a disaster, but my high hopes for Hunt for the Wilderpeople were founded on the hopes of an arguably innovative director that I’d simply not gelled with.
I’m one of the few people remaining on Earth that has yet to completely gel with the directing efforts of Taika Waititi. Many of his films showcase a certain knack of creativity, one that I feel isn’t necessarily capitalised on all too well. His work in What We Do in the Shadows or Jojo Rabbit has provided audiences with a necessary spectrum of entertaining moments, but they’ve fell rather flat for me. Perhaps heading back into his earlier works would uncover the great mystery of his style, which is one of the main reasons I ended up watching Eagle vs. Shark.