Thor: Love and Thunder

July 31, 2022
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I’m all for fun and games in my superhero movies, but maybe we need to pump the brakes on making Thor a complete joke moving forward.

Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame that saw The God of Thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), abscond to the stars with the Guardians of the Galaxy to fight the good fight all across the universe, Thor: Love and Thunder picks up with a Thor that’s out of sorts and looking for true purpose and peace in a life that has been quite harsh to him as of late. Finding out that a new villain named Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) is up to no good in an attempt to slaughter all deities, Thor joins forces with the newest one on the block, Lady Thor aka Mighty Thor aka Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), to stop him. But this electrifying Goddess of Thunder has a secret that could spell doom not only for her relationship with Thor but for her future as a hero as well, setting up a movie that’s more lighthearted than expected yet is still an entertaining superhero movie at its core.

Let’s get this out of the way first: returning director Taika Waititi is a great filmmaker, but when making this MCU entry, he really leaned into his Taika Waititi-ness more than was probably necessary. A film coming after the near-perfect blend of comedy, character work, and action that was 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, this fourth entry in the Thor franchise felt like a Waititi film first and a superhero second; a problem that quickly became apparent the longer the movie went on.

Written in a way that has its laugh-out-loud moments, sure, but never hits its stride in a narrative sense as most of its plot beats are played for laughs or aren’t fully explored, Waititi seems to focus on the wrong thing more often than not, never dedicating enough time to the better elements of his script like Christian Bale’s genuinely scary Gorr or Jane’s medical predicament, and instead choosing to focus on forced one-liners and contrived situations that end up missing their marks more than they hit them. Couple that with the fact that this movie is unusually short for a superhero film, and I feel like the effort put forth to make this one a Taika Waititi movie rather than a Thor movie hindered it in ways that the better parts of this film can’t overcome.

That being said, Chris Hemsworth is still great in the role regardless of the more comedic tone, and while I wish more happened with Lady/Mighty Thor before the end credits rolled, her addition was a welcome one as her back and forth with Thor was a delight to see, especially considering the recurring gag of a jealous Stormbreaker spun out of their interactions and quickly became my favorite part of the movie. Also, whoever the fitness trainers are for Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman deserve whatever the equivalent of an Oscar is for the “staying in shape” community because these two looked brolic as fuck.

So while this sequel does some things right, namely Christian Bale’s Gorr, a couple of set pieces, and some of the comedy, the sum of its parts don’t add up well enough to get me onboard with the current direction of Thor’s character. Thor: Love and Thunder isn’t a misfire as it’s still a wildly fun comic book movie, I just wish it took itself more seriously instead of squandering some great opportunities for the next punchline.

I’m all for fun and games in my superhero movies, but maybe we need to pump the brakes on making Thor a complete joke moving forward. Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame that saw The God of Thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), abscond to the stars with the Guardians of the Galaxy to fight the good fight all across the universe, Thor: Love and Thunder picks up with a Thor that’s out of sorts and looking for true purpose and peace in a life that has been quite harsh to him as of late. Finding out that a new villain named Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) is up to no good in an attempt to slaughter all deities, Thor joins forces with the newest one on the block, Lady Thor aka Mighty Thor aka Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), to stop him. But this electrifying Goddess of Thunder has a secret that could spell doom not only for her relationship with Thor but for her future as a hero as well, setting up a movie that’s more lighthearted than expected yet is still an entertaining superhero movie at its core. Let’s get this out of the way first: returning director Taika Waititi is a great filmmaker, but when making this MCU entry, he really leaned into his Taika Waititi-ness more than was probably necessary. A film coming after the near-perfect blend of comedy, character work, and action that was 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, this fourth entry in the Thor franchise felt like a Waititi film first and a superhero second; a problem that quickly became apparent the longer the movie went on. Written in a way that has its laugh-out-loud moments, sure, but never hits its stride in a narrative sense as most of its plot beats are played for laughs or aren't fully explored, Waititi seems to focus on the wrong thing more often than not, never dedicating enough time to the better elements of his script like Christian Bale’s genuinely scary Gorr or Jane's medical predicament, and instead choosing to focus on forced one-liners and contrived situations that end up missing their marks more than they hit them. Couple that with the fact that this movie is unusually short for a superhero film, and I feel like the effort put forth to make this one a Taika Waititi movie rather than a Thor movie hindered it in ways that the better parts of this film can't overcome. That being said, Chris Hemsworth is still great in the role regardless of the more comedic tone, and while I wish more happened with Lady/Mighty Thor before the end credits rolled, her addition was a welcome one as her back and forth with Thor was a delight to see, especially considering the recurring gag of a jealous Stormbreaker spun out of their interactions and quickly became my favorite part of the movie. Also, whoever the fitness trainers are for Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman deserve whatever the equivalent of an Oscar is for the “staying in shape” community because these two looked brolic…

7.4

Love and Too Much Laughter

The Verdict

7.4

7

Brian is first and foremost a nerd in every way shape and form. He likes to compare himself to a black hole, consuming any and every form of entertainment unlucky enough to get caught in his gravitational pull. It's not uncommon on any given day for him to read a couple comics, settle down with a good book, watch a few movies (inside and out of the theater), catch up on his ever growing but never depleting Hulu queue, challenge himself with a few good video games, listen to any music he can get his hands on and, of course, write his heart out. He spends every waking moment dreaming up interesting and intriguing concepts and ideas that will hopefully one day inspire and entertain anyone looking for an escape from their daily lives. Graduating from Full Sail University in good old humid Florida, Brian currently lives and works in New York City and is waiting for the day when all he has to do is wake up and create something unique and new for people to enjoy. He is always in the process of writing scripts and stories and is constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance and build his creative drive. After all, life is just one big story, all that really matters is how you strive to make it the best story possible. Disclaimer: Brian does not actually have powdered green skin in case anyone was wondering. A Skrull I am not. Blame the guys at the Color Run for this one.

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