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How Kevin Smith Inspired Thor: Ragnarok’s Comedic Approach

Chris Hemsworth is crediting criticisms lobbied against the MCU’s Thor sub-franchise by filmmaker Kevin Smith for inspiring Thor: Ragnarok’s wholly different approach. The previous two solo outings for the God of Thunder fared well at the box office and earned generally positive reviews, but many are in agreement that they do not rank among the best of what Marvel has to offer. The Dark World can actually make a case for being the property’s “worst,” as its Rotten Tomatoes score of 66 percent ranks as the lowest of the 17 movies theatrically released to date. Everyone was in agreement that if Thor’s trilogy was to end on a high note, some changes would have to be implemented.

This new course of direction was primarily Hemsworth’s doing, as it was his idea to give Thor a haircut and destroy his trusty weapon, Mjolnir. However, the actor does not have the distinction of being the sole driving force behind Odinson’s makeover. Hemsworth was also paying attention to outside sources, and was very aware of the concerns some prominent Marvel fans had about his standalone movies.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Hemsworth revealed it was none other than Kevin Smith’s critiques on a podcast that inspired him to address some issues with Marvel boss Kevin Feige:

Hearing someone like Smith, who represents the fanboy world, was such a kick in the ass to change gears. We sort of had nothing to lose. People didn’t expect what we did with it this time around.
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It’s encouraging that those who make the Marvel movies aren’t stubbornly sticking to their old ways and can take criticism in stride to improve their product. While some believe Ragnarok might be too light-hearted for its own good, there’s no denying it’s a massive hit with audiences. Thanks to the comedic sensibilities of director Taika Waitit, a colorful aesthetic, and fun character dynamics, Thor 3 received widespread praise and opened to the tune of $121 million at the domestic box office. For many, it was the breath of fresh air the God of Thunder needed, and if Marvel had gone with the darker, dour Ragnarok that was hinted at during Thor’s storyline in Avengers: Age of Ultron, things could have gone very differently. Turning Thor into an intergalactic comedy was the way to go.

Marvel Studios has been at the forefront of pop culture for the last decade not only because they consistently churn out entertaining films, but also because of the passionate support of fans. Since viewers can’t get into pitch meetings with Feige, the best way they can reach Marvel executives is by speaking with their wallets. The similarly-minded Thorand The Dark World (which came out a year after The Avengers) rank in the bottom half of the MCU’s all-time box office chart, so it was apparent they were looking for something different – and Feige delivered. If Marvel continues to be this in tune with the response to their movies, they’ll continue to flourish for years to come. If the fans are happy, the movies will be hits.

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