I would never have predicted back in 2011 when the first Thor film came out that this character would have the most solo films in the MCU. If there’s one thing I can admire about Thor is his transformation from, who I thought was one of the blandest MCU characters, to a character that is a lot of fun whenever he occupies the screen. Taika Waititi can have some part to play in this overhaul after the very successful Thor: Ragnarok, but now we know the game plan, can this new take on Thor and his adventures still surprise us? The truth is, Thor: Love and Thunder is a much more comfortable watch than other Thor films, but it’s beginning to feel like the quick comedy is starting to become a bit of a joke itself.
Let’s begin with what I felt was the biggest surprise the film had to offer, Natalie Portman returning as Thor’s ex-girlfriend Jane. I felt that this was a fantastic return to the Thor films for her, we got immediately excited when we saw her as a female Thor in the trailer and she does a fantastic job in this film and I felt that the relationship between her and Thor was a strong point of the film. What I really found impressive was how they explain the reason behind why she’s now this female Thor and how this new power she has is also affecting her negatively. It’s a classic superhero trope of making a character complex by giving her a power that is also a burden, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Christian Bale was the last actor I was expecting to be attached to a MCU film, but the world can be a funny place. Nevertheless, with everything Bale does nowadays he doesn’t hold back and his character Gorr “The God Butcher” definitely gives you creepy vibes. Judging solely on the performance, aside from the initial creepiness, Bale throws in a good hint of tragedy that creates this tormented soul who has suffered only to be kicked down like a dog by others.
My biggest issue with Thor: Love and Thunder is the comedy. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of laughs scattered throughout the film, and reading the mood of the cinema I was in, people were having a good time. However, I felt that Waititi clearly wanted this film to be more of a superhero action/comedy than a superhero action film. Not to say that this is a bad direction, when it works by god it works. Although this part of the film has been mocked by many, I actually enjoyed this, sort of comedic love triangle with Thor and his weapons, Stormbreaker (his current weapon) and Mjolnir (in the hands of Jane). I think this dynamic really complements Thor and Jane’s relationship as a sort of accompanying parallel.
But a lot of the time, the film makes the sacrifice of having the heavier moment of the film not feel that heart-breaking. The most significant example of this is with Gorr, who is a good villain… when we spend time with him. Without giving away too much, his backstory explains why he is on this revenge path, but the film never fleshes it out too much so you have the understanding, but not the feeling.
Then you have the comedic scenes, for the sake of being comedic. Taika Waititi is a man who has an amazing sense of humour, just look at his work in Jojo Rabbit, which was incredibly funny because a lot of its humour was tied to the characters. Thor: Love and Thunder doesn’t exactly do this all the time. For one, there are a lot more screaming goats in this film than I would have bargained for. They were funny as a trend on YouTube in 2013, but I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed. Also, the God of dumplings is a literal Bao bun with anime eyes. If these two examples don’t prove my point, I don’t know what will.
Can we talk for a bit about Russell Crowe as Zeus because what I’m about to say is not a new criticism about Russell Crowe, but he really can’t do accents, can he? His British and Irish accents in The Mummy and Robin Hood are hilariously awful and I think enough has been said about his singing in Les Misérables. Here he has a go at the Greek accent which is just as unfunny as the Zeus he portrays,
In short, Thor: Love and Thunder has good intentions and it will make you laugh from time to time, but it is another one of those MCU films where people don’t want to talk about the truth, and the truth is, MCU films are not up to the standards that we hold them anymore. I’m even asking myself is it worth staying for the end credit scenes anymore, because I know whatever they show, it won’t be brought up again for years. If you follow the MCU, you want to walk the same path as the people running the show, but the people running the show don’t even have a map to where they want to go, so why follow them? I think Thor: Love and Thunder is the perfect film that reveals what MCU fans both love and hate about the MCU. The only saving grace for the people at Marvel is that fans easily give out other chances, but what happens when that graciousness runs out?
Final Result: 4/10 – Below Average
Have you seen Thor: Love and Thunder? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: The Railway Children Return