‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Review: Taika Waititi’s Marvel Return Is a Disappointing Encore
Thor: Love and Thunder was a sure-fire slam to the floor. Director Taika Waititi was back at the helm after 2017’s charming Thor: Ragnarok, with Chris Hemsworth’s Asgardian Avenger firmly in his hilarious groove, with Natalie Portman making her epic return to live action Marvel Cinematic Universe after a nine-year absence.
Surprisingly enough, the 29th MCU film, which premiered at theaters on July 7, and will be available on Disney Plus and digital platforms on Thursday, September. 8 is not quite up to par. In attempting to balance comedy with drama , and weaving various classic comics into one narrative Thor’s fourth solo adventure has too much to offer and results in looking a bit shallow (even down to the the two scenes that follow after credits).
The film will be available on 4K Blu-ray, 4K and DVD on September. 27. The film will include behind-the scenes special features, deleted scenes, and director’s commentary by Waititi to enhance the watching experience.
It opens with a promising start and has a brutal opening that sets up Christian Bale’s terrifying Gorr The God Butcher. After his harsh desert world is responsible for the death of his daughter the encounter with a cruel God who is apathetic and petty, drives Gorr to launch an army to slaughter all gods throughout the universe.
This scene is intense and calm that allows Bale’s performance to breathe, and allows viewers to experience his increasing anger, despair and confusion. Then, the Marvel Studios logo rolls in and the rollercoaster begins. Resonance with emotion? No, you’re not receiving in this film.
Last time that we were introduced to Thor in the film of the year, Avengers: Endgame the character had decided to join Guardians of the Galaxy for an adventure in space following Thanos’s defeat. However, Thor, the God of Thunder completely outclasses his new comrades and makes him appear like a video game character when the Avengers take on their foes and makes the Guardians with a look of utter ugliness.
We are treated to a vibrant visual action sequence as well as a hefty amount of super-hero collateral damage as a result of it, however Thor and his rocky allies (he’s literally made out of stones) Korg (Waititi) soon decide to go their individual way, removing the Guardians storyline, and mostly in the process of wasting Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan and the rest of the cast before the gag gets any chance to grow. It’s like the movie is just waiting to break away from the tangled continuity and return to the Asgardian storyline that Thor has developed in his solo films.
In Earth, Thor encounters his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Portman) in combat in the midst of battle Gorr is a threat to Thor’s colleagues Asgardians. She is wielding the hammer of her old Mjolnir and has been judged worthy during her darkest moments and is gaining the same powers as Thor’s.
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Because of the very real human health issues Jane is confronted with, this plot ought to be Love the Thunder’s emotional core. The film just doesn’t give the time necessary to allow the challenges she faces to be fully understood, as if it’s afraid of becoming too real and eager to take us for an adventure to come (some dramatic scenes are compromised by two post-credits sequences).
This desire for speed is evident in the action scenes -the action – Jane is the most notable character, using her new abilities in incredible ways, yet neither editing nor cinematography allows us to take in the spectacle. There’s a good chance that a lot of scenes from this film will engrave their way into your brain in as other moments from MCU films have done but nothing can match the awe-inspiring highs in the Captain America elevator battle, three Spider-Men flying into combat and Scarlet Witch’s encounter with Illuminati.
The awkwardness of Jane as well as Thor is at first quite entertaining thanks the Portman and his charisma, as well as their chemistry, but it’s not developed in a way that is particularly engaging. A single-minded comedy concerning Thor and his latest weapon Stormbreaker makes more sense but it also becomes a stalemaphore.
The final hero includes The King Valkyrie ( Tessa Thompson) The character is bored of being the leader of the enchanting tourist attraction which New Asgard has become (this area also features an amazing deep-cut appearance). Although the film doesn’t reveal her feelings of apathy, Thompson infuses the character with enough wit that she’s fun to watch. Her clothes also suggest a fascinating inside life. Her Phantom of the Opera shirt is more fascinating than any superhero’s costume.
One of the most memorable scenes is the quiet dialogue among Jane and Valkyrie because it’s not often that you see the film slowing down, and giving its characters and writers space to be emotionally connected. With Hemsworth’s captivating appearance on screen and flawless comic timing, you can’t imagine that this film would have been more enjoyable without Thor.
Following his unforgettable introduction his threat to the world is diminished. The God Butcher comics equivalent (introduced within Jason Aaron’s popular Thor: God of Thunder run in 2012) Thor: God of Thunder series) appears to be an imminent threat, in the sense that Thor pursues a trail of divine slaughter throughout the universe.
Love and Thunder merely alludes to this and reduces Gorr’s culpability to abducting Asgardian children as part of a larger plot. Gorr doesn’t seem like an actual threat to the heroes, which makes him appear much more as Gorr the God Bothererer.
However, Bale’s performance as well as the visual choices give the character an abundance of spectral boogeyman-esque spooky impressions ( apparently inspired by Aphex Twin’s disturbing “Come to Daddy music video). The midpoint encounter with the heroes ranks as one of the MCU’s most breathtaking sequences, thanks to the clever use of color and shadow.
The film isn’t quite as filled with cameos like its MCU precursor, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, however, it does feature an action-packed scene featuring Russell Crowe as a narcissistic God. However, his character is mostly one glitzy scene that is largely insignificant as the narrative is a breeze.
Love and Thunder doesn’t live up to the amazing stories that were the inspiration for it. It’s not a true reflection of the style of its director or its actors’ dramatic potential and instead feels more like an unsatisfying and uninteresting mix-up. It’s still an enjoyable and silly entry into the MCU collection, but it’s not the iconic Thor story that the hunky character seems to believe that he’s going to be in.