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Taika Waititi is no stranger to superhero movies. Long before he was at the helm of the MCU’s Thor: Ragnarok, he appeared opposite Ryan Reynolds in DC’s Green Lantern. Waititi played Hal Jordan’s trusted buddy Tom Kalmaku, witness to the appearance of the CGI green costume that would go down in infamy, to be later mocked by Reynolds in the fourth-wall shattering Deadpool.

Funny enough, when Nerdist visited the set of Thor: Ragnarok on Australia’s Gold Coast, a reminder of Green Lantern loomed large over the set. Literally. On the Village Roadshow Studios lot, Waititi was prepping Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, and Cate Blanchett for a big climactic scene on Asgard’s Stone Arch Bridge. Meanwhile high high above stood the Green Lantern logo atop a big green pole, because smack dab beside this lot of active movie sets lies Warner Brothers Movie World, a theme park that features a slew of DC-licensed rides and attractions like Superman Escape, Batwing Spaceshot, and the Green Lantern coaster.

With the Green Lantern’s insignia towering high above Asgard, we couldn’t help but ask what lessons Waititi learned from the flopped Green Lantern. He answered, “When I was in that film, I was just determined to just try and do a good job with my job. I spent a long time just sitting around on set—as you do—and watched a lot of how the director Martin (Campbell) would run things. And he runs a set very, very well, and very efficient. But very different to the way I do things.” Waititi describes his style as “messy,” employing a lot of improvisation, and occasionally playing music on set to give a sense of atmosphere.

“I think I probably learned more watching a lot of other super hero movies, and a lot of big studio films,” Waititi said, “I started realizing, ‘Oh, I think I know what’s going wrong with these films.’ Usually it comes down to story.”

He demurred from siting any specific examples of the bad superhero movies, but did say, “Story is still key in my mind. We worked a lot on the script. We stopped for an hour to just keep working a scene to make sure we got it right, and to make sure it made sense.” Waititi suggested this is where other filmmakers faltered, when they pushed through a shoot imagining they’d fix the story issues in postproduction.

“That’s one way you can do it,” he said, “Just bust on through, and try and make your day. And you get stuff in the can, but it’s basically worthless when you come to edit. So we just wanted to take the time to make sure we get stuff right.”

If Thor: Ragnarok‘s rousing trailers are any indication, Waititi and his team got plenty right.

Ryan Reynolds and Taika Waititi got a shot at superhero movie redemption. Who’d you like to see get a second chance in the genre?

More from our Thor 3 set visit!

Images: Warner Bros. Marvel Studios

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