THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER Review; "Too Silly To Take Seriously [But] There's Still A Lot To Love"

Thor: Love and Thunder has started rolling out into theaters, and while we'd recommend checking the movie out, you might want to temper your expectations as it doesn't all work. Some minor spoilers follow!

Reviews Opinion

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe expanding rapidly courtesy of Disney+, we’re now getting more Marvel Studios content than ever before. We can’t complain about that, but with Ms. Marvel taking a notable dip since those stellar first two episodes and Moon Knight proving to be something of a mixed bag, it’s hard not to wonder whether Kevin Feige is being stretched a little too thin. We’ve certainly seen a lack of connectivity due to clashing production schedules (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness barely acknowledged Spider-Man: No Way Home, for example, while no one has so much as mentioned the marble Celestial sitting in the Indian Ocean), and while that’s not a major a detriment to Thor: Love and Thunder, we can’t help but think it might be time to slow down.

The Doctor Strange sequel didn’t quite deliver the wild ride through the Multiverse we hoped for, and now this Thor: Ragnarok sequel sadly fails to live up to its predecessor or even deliver a movie that’s anything close to top-tier MCU storytelling. 

With a scant runtime of less than two hours, we’re treated to a number of montages that rush the story along in a way that leaves us to wonder just how much of a difference those fleeting moments could have made to the movie had they been expanded on. Christian Bale has already confirmed that Peter Dinklage and Jeff Goldblum were left on the cutting room floor, and as we blast through Thor’s time with the Guardians of the Galaxy (most of whom barely get more than a line or two) and even Jane Foster’s transformation into The Mighty Thor, it begins to feel that there’s just too much story for this one "classic Thor adventure." Thor: Love and Thunder just about works, and there are some emotional and powerful moments that help bolster a screenplay that’s full of a lot of very silly gags. However, while a tear-jerking final act helps save the day, it’s still overshadowed by bad comedy. 

The humour Taika Waititi brought to Thor: Ragnarok was welcomed, primarily because it freshened Thor up and gave Chris Hemsworth the opportunity to show how funny and charismatic he actually is. Unfortunately, Thor: Love and Thunder leans too heavily into that and verges on feeling like a parody of the last movie at times. Almost everything, from Jane Foster’s cancer battle to Zeus’s entrance, is tinged with a sort of juvenile comedy that occasionally feels more akin to those spoof movies of the early 2000s than the MCU. There are a lot of very funny moments and some great visuals, but they are too often undermined by ridiculous scenes that made it hard to take anything seriously. There's a fun subplot about Thor's relationship with his hammers, but when we meet some of the MCU's other Gods and aliens, it all begins to feel too over the top and strains credibility even in a movie that clearly shouldn't be taken too seriously! On the plus side, Gorr the God Butcher is a credible threat, but his limited screentime means that Bale is never really given the chance to show why our heroes should be so terrified of this killer of Gods. The actor is terrific, but Gorr just isn't given enough the opportunity to leave a lasting impact.
 


Thor: Love and Thunder glosses over Valkyrie’s struggles to lead New Asgard, Miek’s intriguing transformation, and its big bad, but thankfully devotes plenty of time to exploring Thor and Jane’s relationship. We finally get to see why their romance didn’t work out and revisit their dynamic in the present day in a way that definitely satisfies. As The Mighty Thor, Natalie Portman is clearly enjoying herself, and despite being a little too goofy at times, this portrayal should make fans of the comic books happy. Her arc, while brief, is a satisfying one to follow and she's a joy to watch wield Mjolnir. As for Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth remains as fun as ever to watch in action, and manages to make even the dumbest jokes land (mostly). The God of Thunder goes on a journey of self-discovery here, and comes out the other side a character we’re still keen to spend more time with. Tessa Thompson isn’t given a tonne to do but still manages to shine, though we are sad to report that Korg, previously a breakout character, is starting to overstay his welcome. 

It’s worth making clear that Thor: Love and Thunder is by no means a bad movie. It’s deeply flawed in places and, even when we get some trademark Waititi inventiveness (such as the black and white scenes in the Shadow Realm), this outing never quite manages to capitalise on those ideas in a way that lands as well as it did last time. You should always judge a movie on its own merits, but it’s difficult not to think back to Thor: Ragnarok when there’s such a noteworthy decline in quality; if we didn’t know better, we’d go so far to say it actually feels like someone else trying to imitate what the filmmaker did back in 2017! Despite that, there are a lot of very cool moments in this movie that deepen the MCU, not to mention a bunch of surprises and reveals we couldn't help but smile at. 

When you throw in a rockin’ soundtrack, dazzling visuals, and plenty of great action, we’re sure many of you will walk away from Thor: Love and Thunder satisfied with the experience. However, it’s worth tempering expectations because just like Thor: The Dark World built on Thor by heading too far down the fantasy route, so too has this movie built on its predecessor’s comedic nature, only to deliver another sequel that doesn’t quite stick the landing. There’s fun to be had and a lot to admire about what everyone brings to the table (including some solid LGBTQ+ representation), but now might be a good time to go back to the drawing board if Thor is going to remain the MCU’s mightiest hero.

Too silly to take seriously, there’s still a lot to love about Thor: Love and Thunder, but unlike Thor: Ragnarok, it’s unlikely to be a movie you’ll fall in love with. Marvel Studios may be developing a quantity over quality issue. 

Hawks

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