Thor Love and Thunder

Movie Review: Thor: Love and Thunder

It’s pretty amazing that Marvel has managed to so relentlessly push out new material without having had any major misfires yet. Sure, some of the recent movies haven’t been so rapturously received, but most people have enjoyed them (myself included) and they’ve continued to rake in big bucks. It is fitting though that the studio has perhaps come closer to an outright dud than it has in years with the 4th Thor movie. The first 2 installments were amongst the MCU’s least interesting, but director Taika Waititi breathed new life into the series by finally embracing the character’s inherent outrageousness. This time around though, it feels like maybe the lunacy should have been reigned in just a little bit.

When last we saw Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Avengers had finally defeated Thanos and he was headed out with the Guardians of the Galaxy to try to find a purpose for himself. That pairing is dispensed with here so quickly that it feels almost completely pointless. So, once again alone with buddy Korg (Waititi) and 2 newly acquired giant goats (which feature into a running gag that runs out of steam pretty quickly), he heads off in pursuit of Gorr the Godslayer (a nearly unrecognizable Christian Bale), whom he had rather perfunctorily just discovered is headed for New Asgard on Earth as a part of his quest to kill every God in the Universe, arriving just in time for the first attack.

Meanwhile, Thor’s ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has learned that she is dying of cancer and finds herself being called to by the fractured remains of Thor’s hammer. She heads to New Asgard and when she approaches the hammer it begins to vibrate until… the attack has begun and Mjolnir has apparently reformed itself, somehow allowing Jane to become a superpowered She-Thor. The two exes have an awkward reunion while fighting off Gorr’s surprisingly frightening shadow monsters only for him to abduct the local children and hide them in the Shadow Realm. This leads the pair, along with Korg and the New Asgardian King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to hatch a plan to rescue the kids and put a stop to Gorr once and for all.

The beginning of the movie feels incredibly rushed and sloppy, so much so that it’s hard to imagine anyone without an established love of these characters being able to sit through it. The silliness during these parts also feels like it’s been cranked up to 11, which does work occasionally, but feels borderline cringeworthy at other times. Luckily, once the overly jokey exposition dump that is the first third of the movie is over, things improve dramatically. The silly streak remains, but feels much better balanced with action and more emotional moments, and said moments do manage to pack quite a punch. When Waititi’s visual inventiveness is allowed to be in service of something other than jokes it really shines. Omnipotence City, where Zeus (Russell Crowe) holds court over the other gods is gorgeous, and the fight sequence in the Shadow Realm is one of the most striking moments of any movie this year. This may be one of the messiest movies Marvel Studios has ever allowed to come through its pipeline, but it all comes together in the end, and it’s nice to see them let a filmmaker make some truly wild swings for once. ★★★★


★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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