What Happened & When Things Started Going Wrong


  • Taika Waititi’s critical decline is evident in his latest film’s low Rotten Tomatoes score, signaling a shift in his fortunes as a filmmaker.
  • Waititi’s films like Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Love and Thunder have contributed to his critical decline.
  • Taika Waititi’s next film, an adaptation of Klara and the Sun, offers an opportunity for him to break his slump by showcasing his ability to create a sincere drama rather than relying heavily on comedy.



Taiki Waititi’s latest failure underlines how dramatically things have gone wrong for a Hollywood figure who was critically adored not so long ago. The actor-writer-director’s early output speaks of a filmmaker with a distinct vision and a remarkably developed voice. While Waititi’s first film, Eagle vs. Shark, saw mixed reviews, 2010-2016 saw the director deliver an impressive run of acclaimed New Zealand indie comedies, consisting of Boy, What We Do in the Shadows, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. The massive critical and commercial success of Thor: Ragnarok subsequently secured Waititi’s reputation as one of cinema’s most exciting new directors.

However, things have soured for Waititi since the highs of Thor: Ragnarok. While the director is still mostly dependable at the box office, critical reception of Taika Waititi’s films has dropped dramatically. Fanning those flames, the filmmaker’s comments have repeatedly invited controversy, such as his mocking of Thor: Love and Thunder’s VFX work. The filmmaker has quickly become the subject of hot debate. As such, it is worth examining the state of his career, exactly where things changed, and where they might be going.


Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins: Where You Know The Cast

Led by Michael Fassbender, Taika Waititi’s highly-anticipated Next Goal Wins features one of the director’s most talented and entertaining casts.

Taika Waititi’s New Movie Has His Lowest Rotten Tomatoes Score (But Continues A Downward Trend)

The surest evidence yet of Taika Waititi’s waning fortunes comes with the release of his latest film, Next Goal Wins. The movie, a scrappy underdog comedy about a soccer coach forced to take a job coaching the failing international team of American Samoa, should be a slam-dunk for Waititi, who made his name crafting similar low-stakes, offbeat comedies. However, the film has debuted with Taika Waititi’s worst Rotten Tomatoes score ever. While the director has shown himself more than capable of delivering heartwarming stories on a small budget, Next Goal Wins’ critical failure seems to signal that something fundamental has shifted for the filmmaker.


Is Taika Waititi’s New Movie His Worst? 7 Reasons Why Next Goal Wins’ Reviews Are So Underwhelming

The new feel-good sports comedy has received tepid reviews from critics. A strange turn for director Taika Waititi who used to be a critical darling.

Taika Waititi has been on a downward critical trajectory since 2016’s Thor: Ragnarok. While that film’s 93% Rotten Tomatoes score makes it one of the highest-rated Marvel films ever, Waititi’s follow-up, Jojo Rabbit, scored a slightly less impressive 80%. His subsequent outing, Thor: Love and Thunder, scored only 63%, making it one of the lowest-rated Marvel movies ever. While the latter two films’ critical failure could be explained as the consequence of a filmmaker deviating from his wheelhouse, Next Goal Wins scoring the worst figure yet with only 42% cements the narrative of Waititi’s critical decline.

Next Goal Wins is based on a 2014 documentary of a real-life story.

Why & When Critical Opinion Of Taika Waititi’s New Movies Has Changed So Much

Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson, and Roman Griffin Davis in Jojo Rabbit

The worsening critical trend for Waititi films is made all the more remarkable by the filmmaker’s swift meteoric rise. Only a few years ago, it seemed that Taika Waititi could do no wrong. However, the extremely idiosyncratic style of Waititi’s comedy acts as both a great strength and a great risk. When it works, as it does in Thor: Ragnarok and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, it’s charming and refreshing. When it doesn’t, as in Thor: Love and Thunder, the quirky gags can quickly begin to feel irritating and overindulgent. It is hardly surprising that Waititi’s fall seems to have started with 2016’s controversial Jojo Rabbit, in which he portrayed an imaginary Hitler.

The change in response may be a simple case of overexposure. When Waititi’s work first gained mainstream attention, many people had never seen anything like it before. Now, the director’s style is familiar to many and fails to excite in the same way. Increased mainstream exposure would certainly explain why the filmmaker’s Rotten Tomatoes scores have worsened over time. Another explanation is that the director has lost sight of the delicate genre balance that defined his earlier outings. By focusing too much on comedy, Waititi’s stories become tonally mixed, and lose the grounding sincerity that once gave them substance.

What’s Taika Waititi’s Next Movie (& Can It Win Back Critics)?

Taika Waititi as Edward Teach looking down in Our Flag Means Death season 2 episode 8

Taika Waititi’s upcoming Star Wars movie has already generated controversy, but the director’s next film is likely to be a film adaptation of the Kazuo Ishiguro novel Klara and the Sun (via Collider). The book, which follows a robot girl designed to help a family of heartbroken humans, boasts one feature which could help break Waititi’s slump: Klara and the Sun is not a comedy. If Taika Waititi can resist the impulse to overindulge his comedic voice, and instead allow the film to play out as a sincere drama, he may give audiences and critics a chance to rediscover their fondness for his work.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes, Collider


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