The Marvel Studios machine just keeps on going. The latest release from the top studio in Hollywood is Thor: Love and Thunder, arriving exclusively in theaters this weekend. As with every Marvel Studios film, it continues the long-running narrative that first began in 2008, but this also serves as a spiritual sequel to Thor: Ragnarok, with the creative team returning for Love and Thunder. Let’s take a closer look at our Thor: Love and Thunder review.
Taika Waititi returns to direct Thor: Love and Thunder, and it shows. This is the most comedic version of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) we’ve ever seen. There are some fans who want to see a more serious take on Thor. If you fall into that group of people, this is likely not the Thor movie you’re looking for. Despite the fact that there are some serious plot points throughout, this is goofier than even the Guardians of the Galaxy films.
The film covers the relationship between Thor and Jane (Natalie Portman) that we missed out on while all of the Avengers stuff was going down. And while Korg (Taika Waititi) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) join in on the fun, this is very much a Thor and Jane movie. Everyone else takes a back seat, including the main antagonist of the film, Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale).
Marvel has had a bit of a villain problem for some time. Very few Marvel villains offer compelling motivation for their actions, and even fewer survive to see a second film. Bale puts on a great performance as Gorr, but he isn’t given the freedom to really run with the character. In the limited moments when the film allows Gorr to shine, Bale comes through in droves, but those moments are few and far between.
Clocking in at just under two hours, Love and Thunder race through most of the important plot points. While we don’t expect MCU films to be a direct adaptation of the comics, one thing Marvel has done very well is ensuring the emotions behind those stories are conveyed, and that the characters still feel like themselves. This is something that Sony and just about every other studio do very poorly.
In Love and Thunder, the runtime seems to limit how much of Gorr’s back story can be told. Compared to the comics, it’s a very truncated version of Gorr’s story, which removes a lot of the emotional impact of what happens to Gorr in the film. Bale’s performance is so good, that we can’t help but wonder what kind of movie we would have seen if Gorr had been the focus of the film, placing the silly antics of Thor and Jane as a side plot.
Zeus (Russell Crowe) is also one of the highlights of the film. He’s a ridiculous version of the character, but he works very well within the context of the film. You can tell that Russell Crowe is really having a great time with the character, as he verbally spars with Thor and the rest of the cast. More of Zeus would be a welcome addition to the future of the MCU, but we’ll have to see if Marvel agrees with that thought.
Coming off of Thor: Ragnarok, and even watching some of Taika’s other films, such as Jojo Rabbit, we expected a humor-focused adventure, but not to this extreme. Some people will be able to enjoy the extreme amount of humor and jokes in the film, but for us, it was a bit too much and detracted from what would otherwise be a very serious story. Even for the people who end up really enjoying Love and Thunder, the general consensus will almost certainly be that Ragnarok is the superior film between the two. If we throw in Jojo Rabbit, Love and Thunder still fall short.
There are some emotional moments in Love and Thunder, mostly toward the end of the film, but it’s not enough to balance out the relentless onslaught of jokes. As a fan of the MCU, you come to expect that most of the films are going to have one-liner after one-liner, and for the most part that strategy has worked. However, many of the jokes in Thor: Love and Thunder aren’t great, and there are just so many of them that it’s difficult to find any real meaning to the story that takes a back seat to the barrage of jokes.
If you really enjoyed the humor in Thor: Ragnarok, there’s a good chance you’ll find a lot of entertainment in Thor: Love and Thunder. However, if Ragnarok was just okay to you, or if you’re looking for a slightly more serious take on the God of Thunder, Love and Thunder may not be the film for you. Either way, it does move the Marvel narrative forward with the events of the film and the two post-credits scenes at the end.
About Thor: Love and Thunder
Synopsis: Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Taika Waititi, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe, TaikaWaititi
Runtime: 1 Hour. 59 Minutes
Releases: July 8th, 2022 (USA)
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.