Thor: Love and Thunder Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
Oh, how the mighty Thor has fallen! Waikiki’s latest MCU instalment might have high entertaining value, but no direction and portrays the lead character as dumb.
Genre: Action / Comedy / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Director: Taika Waititit
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Jaimie Alexander, Chris Pratt, Karen Gillian, Dave Bautista & Russell Crowe.
Run Time: 119 min.
US Release: 09 July 2022
UK Release: 07 July 2022
German Release: 08 July 2022
Few flicks make me angry after watching them. Usually, those that do, are absolute garbage I wasted money on in cinemas. Taika Waititi's latest directed blockbuster, simultaneously being the first fourth solo instalment of the Thor saga, is a rare exception because even though the film is entertaining, sometimes even funny, it also left me furious at how he treated the lead character. Add to that a story that has no direction and one is left puzzled at how bad, yet simultaneously good the cinematic experience was. So grab your hammers and lightning bolts, as we will be talking about Love and Thunder…
Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, to fight the god slayer Gorr, who wants to wipe out all the gods.
Waititi, who also directed the much acclaimed Thor: Ragnarok, returns not only as a regisseur but also as a writer to this third sequel and overall 29th film of the MCU. With Ragnarok being the best Thor picture, many (me included) had their hopes up for another grand adventure with the god of thunder. Sadly, this sequel is more disappointing than expected, with a muddled storyline, as well as cartoonish characters.
As with all MCU projects, inspiration for Love and Thunder was taken from various comic book iterations of the god of thunder. Among the most prominent, are the arc where Jane Foster becomes Thor, the “Thunderstrike” run and of course “Thor: God of Thunder”, in which Gorr is introduced to readers. All of those stories were borrowed from, to create a plot that was surprisingly inconsistent in tone throughout its runtime. Focus is given to specific story arcs that never affected the story overall, while skipping through other segments that would have fleshed out characters and given the movie overall more gravitas.
This leads me to the amount of humour in the story. Marvel and Taikiki seem to have gotten the wrong message out of Ragnarok; yes it was funny, but that didn’t mean they needed to turn this sequel into what is a live-action romantic cartoon of the mighty Thor. Jokes are made left and right every 5 minutes, yet not all of them stick the landing. In fact, after repeating the same gag for the fifth time, it starts losing its effect. It felt sometimes like the focus audience was little children, rather than adolescents and adults.
That said, this is not an awful film, just a huge step down from the last flick we obtained. Thor 4 is entertaining throughout, there is no moment that I felt bored or had the urge to look at my watch. It has a consistent pace and the romance between Odinson and Jane Foster was finally given some depth, instead of simple googly eyes with the occasional hots for each other.
Chris Hemsworth plays once again Thor Odinson, with the lead character himself being the most frustrating aspect of this project! Thor had a steady progression in all his appearances throughout the MCU! In his first solo outing, he learned to be humble, not arrogant. In Ragnarok, his self-doubting fears had been conquered, when he figured out that his powers always had been inside him. In Infinity War and Endgame he goes through rage, revenge and ultimately depression at having failed the universe. Love and Thunder undoes all this progress serving us with a childish, near imbecile character who stumbles from one adventure to the next.
That said, he also makes a huge step towards feeling whole again, when admitting to Jane Foster that he feels empty inside as everyone around him ultimately leaves or dies. His fear of love is what he is trying to overcome, thus making the audience care for their renewed blossoming romance.
Natalie Portman returns as Janes Foster, aka The Mighty Thor, with the character finally being written well for once. After being the hot love interest and damsel in distress, not just in one but two movies, she finally gets some purpose in this sequel, while never forgetting to flesh out her humanity. She is pretty new at being a superhero, relying on Valkyrie and Odinson to answer some of the questions she has or teach her new tricks. Her backstory of how she came to possess Mjölnir, thus granted with the powers of Thor, is also touching.
Natalie Portman does a good job at portraying Foster once again, after having departed from Marvel nine years ago. She still has chemistry with Chris Hemsworth, making their re-kindling believable. Yes, she was given cheesy one-liners, including puns that do not work, but those are minor.
Christian Bale as Gorr the Godbutcher, was a welcomed addition to the Marvel flicks, with his character being one of the better villains of the MCU. One understands Gorr’s pain and frustration that lead ultimately to his downfall, as the Necrosword uses those feelings to corrupt him. However, It wouldn’t have hurt to obtain more backstory with him, to flesh him out even better.
Tessa Thompson portraying King Valkyrie was completely underused. Valkyrie, just like Thor, backtracks in her progress, as well as having no outcome whatsoever to the ending.
The cinematography and visuals are great, as with most MCU pictures, including amazingly choreographed action sequences, which look like they have been taken straight out of comic books or video games. The colours pop and are strong, adding to an 80s flair Waititi was going for. There are black and white elements that look stunning, giving the character of Gorr an even bigger meaning of threat, as he evaporates or comes back to physical form in the shadows, only left with his golden glowing eyes.
The CGI and computer effects, which dominate most of the picture, are always gorgeously developed. Some of the decisions made at the effects department might just even be the most creative in all Marvel instalments.
Just as in Ragnarok, the music contains a lot of popular 80s rock, mostly Guns N Roses songs. From “Sweet Child O’ Mine” to “Paradise City” the soundtrack is fantastically metal!
Verdict: This superhero blockbuster confirms my previous statement made in my Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness review: Phase four of the MCU, seems directionless, even unmotivated with this further instalment proving it once again. The story was inconsistent with crass tonal shifts; jumping from cartoonish comedy to life-threatening seriousness. The constant jokes and puns were only funny half of the time, others just completely missed the landing. Most infuriating though is how they turned the character of Thor into a complete dumb-ass! It also has its moments though; The narrative does not have pacing issues, being entertaining from beginning to end. The romance between Odinson and Jane Foster is finally well established, with Jane herself being an actual character, not just a plot device. The cinematography and effects are beautiful to look at, while the music is badass. All in all, Thor: Love and Thunder gets no more than a 7.0 out of 10.
Are you a fan of Phase 4? What did you think of this new Thor adventure? Leave a comment below & subscribe. Thank you for reading!