Taika Waititi's surprising criticism of Thor: Love & Thunder's VFX underscores Disney and Marvel's problems. Marvel will undoubtedly consider the latest Thor film a huge success. Thor: Love & Thunder beat Ragnarok's box office despite receiving a more split critical reception - opening ahead of expectations and still performing strongly past its opening ticket sales salvo.
Online discussion regarding Thor: Love & Thunder has been far from uniformly positive. Viewers and critics alike have commented on problems with the CGI and VFX, which sometimes feel decidedly sub-par for a flagship Marvel movie. In part, this is likely because Thor: Love & Thunder is the first Marvel movie to use new technology first developed for The Mandalorian, and directors and cinematographers simply aren't used to using it yet. Known as the Volume, this technology is being leveraged by Disney in many different films and TV shows, so hopefully, there will be improvements in quality as people get used to it.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: Thor: Love & Thunder - 10 Biggest Spoilers
Director Taika Waititi and star Tessa Thompson have released a surprising video mocking Thor: Love & Thunder's special effects. The video is clearly intended to display Waititi's customary self-effacing humor, but the timing is particularly problematic given it unwittingly attacks a group who are becoming increasingly vocal about their problems working with Marvel. Anonymous VFX artists have taken to Reddit to share their complaints, describing Marvel as a company too confident of its own importance that makes impossible demands at short notice.
Why Marvel Needs To Fix Its VFX Artist Problem
To be fair to Marvel, the problem is more significant than any one studio. There have long been reports of VFX artists working shocking hours for demanding clients in return for minimal pay, and yet, for all this is the case, Marvel's name comes up disturbingly often. One former Marvel VFX artist recently took to social media to reveal he had left the industry altogether after becoming frustrated with them. "They're a horrible client," he observed, "and I've seen way too many colleagues break down after being overworked, while Marvel tightens the purse strings."
The problem appears to be one that runs back to when Marvel first began producing its own films in the mid-2000s, long before the Disney acquisition. Marvel Entertainment was then under the leadership of reclusive billionaire Ike Perlmutter, who was viewed as something of a spendthrift within the company. A personality clash between Perlmutter and Kevin Feige ultimately forced Disney to conduct a major corporate restructure in 2015, with the film studio pulled out of Marvel Entertainment and placed under Feige's leadership. But it seems some of those critical lessons were never unlearned after Marvel's 2015 split. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has exacerbated the problem, which left many VFX houses with a massive backlog to deal with.
In 2008, Marvel Studios was, to an extent, considered the "new kid on the block," and its corporate culture wasn't particularly influential. Now, it is an industry leader, setting the pattern for rival studios, networks, and even streaming services. Taika Waititi's ill-timed joke inadvertently points to the fact the VFX artists who work for Marvel are becoming tired, stressed, and disillusioned with the House of Ideas - and the result can be seen in mistakes that are slipping through into final theatrical cuts, as seen in Thor: Love & Thunder. Marvel needs to fix this problem, improving their working conditions - and quickly.