The director of Thor: Ragnarok explains the contradicting stories about the film’s runtime and why things changed for the better. Though the Thor franchise has never been one showered in critical praise, that’s all changed thanks to the unique direction of Taika Waititi. Taking the indie cred he earned on projects like What We Do in the Shadows, the auteur accented the fantastical elements of the Thor universe and helped the ridiculousness of the God of Thunder and the Hulk shine through.
Currently, Thor: Ragnarok is Certified Fresh and Marvel Studios’ best-reviewed film to date. More than that, but Thor 3 has already had a strong global opening, with numbers expected to climb even higher by tomorrow. When it debuts in North America next week, meanwhile, it could go as high as $125 million. Clearly, the movie hits a sweet spot that reinvents the Marvel formula with both spectacle and wit to spare. And, considering the final product, it’s hard to imagine that at one point Thor: Ragnarok was going to be almost 40 minutes shorter than it is now.
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Collider sat down with Waititi to discuss Thor: Ragnarok and the conversation quickly turned to the film’s runtime. Waititi states that at one point he had a 2 hour and 40 minute cut he was satisfied with, but it ended up in the 90–100 minutes region by the time San Diego Comic-Con hit. The director reveals that changed to the final 130 minutes because “after Comic-Con we decided to put lots of the jokes back in.”
According to Waititi, he originally skimmed the film down to around 100 minutes, saying “…we’d just done our reshoots and we knew it was gonna come up from there.” As such, there was every plan for the movie to grow in size as new and altered scenes were added in.
Waititi went on to discuss the process of crafting the film, stating that his longest cut was full of jokes that went nowhere and more exposition and explanation than was necessary. Naturally, things had to be pared down. Of course, Waititi also had a bit of a personal reason for inserting so much extra material originally:
“I knew if I put in more stuff, then it would be, it’d increase my chances of keeping a lot more of the other jokes.”
Regardless of what shape the editing process took, it’s clear that Waititi and his crew were able to assemble the best version of the film. Critics and fans are thrilled with the movie, and Joss Whedon himself called Thor: Ragnarok a masterpiece. Likely, praise will continue to roll in for the film as the box office swells – and Waititi will have plenty of chances to continue crafting funny films for Marvel after Thor: Ragnarok.