TL;DR – While it was missing some of the substance of the last film, I found Thor: Love and Thunder to be a fun romp through the galaxy.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and a post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to see this film.
Thor: Love and Thunder Review –
I don’t think I have made it any secret that I found Thor: Ragnarok one of the best films in the MCU, and indeed a film that I will always sit down and watch when it is on. But I thought this would be a one-off because of some unwritten rule that stops solo films after three outings. Well, call me surprised when it was announced that we were getting Thor 4 because that was probably the best news out of this somewhat fractured start of Phase 4.
So to set the scene, we open in on a parched land as Gorr (Christian Bale) and his daughter Love (India Hemsworth) walk one step at a time, praying for deliverance from their god Rapu (Jonny Brugh). But there is none to be found as Love dies from exposure. Gorr is beside himself when he hears voices in the wind and stumbles into an oasis, where Rapu is having a glorious feast and does not give a hoot about Gorr or his daughter. In that moment of horrific destruction of faith, the Necrosword appears in his hand, and he slays the god and begins a campaign to exterminate all the gods. Meanwhile, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, trying to find his place in the world. When Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) calls out, Thor comes to her aid and discovers that a mad man has their next target, New Asgard.
This Thor has a lot of different story threads that it is pulling at as it explores its narrative. For Thor, there is the existential issue of him not knowing his place in the world anymore now that he is the last member of his family left. Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) is working through what it means to be King of a micro-kingdom and bustling tourist location on the Norwegian Coast. Jane (Natalie Portman) is discovering that stage-4 cancer might be outside her ability to fight. While Gorr is going around the galaxy killing gods, good and bad, and just being a general creep about it. These elements spend the film interacting in weird and sometimes confusing ways [enter jealous axes].
From the production side of things, I liked it a lot, but I am not sure they quite nailed it as well this time around. Having most of the monsters be shadows means that some of the action scenes become a bit messy, especially when it is set at night. Also, it felt like the film lost some of the vibrancy of the last in places where it looks like there was not enough time to finish all the small details in the compositing. However, when the film does pop, it is stunning. The opening juxtaposition between the desert and oasis was beautiful. There is also a sequence where they use the interplay of greyscale and colour that was fascinating to watch. The creature creation was also on show with some burrowing owl/weasel creatures, which were a riot.
On a performance level, everyone gives at least a good presence throughout the film. Christian Bale probably has the most distance to travel in his performance, shifting from the faithful father to the grieving father and then to the rampaging visage of doom. The scenes with him and the children might be one of the most fascinating moments in the film, and he is always going for 100% in every moment. I also liked Natalie Portman’s performance of someone trying to find their superhero feet while also trying to hold off thinking about the cancer racing through her body. Also, Chris Hemsworth has refined what he wants to do with Thor, which might not work for you, but it did for me with the arc he has throughout the film, which lands in the end. Finally, Russell Crowe is doing a thing, I am not sure what that thing is, but he is doing a lot of it.
Where it may or may not work for people is in the tone, which does make some wild swings throughout the runtime. This is a film that is very much working within its own universe first and then part of the MCU second, which works for me. But at some point, someone has to talk about that giant new landmass in the Indian Ocean, thanks to the Eternals. I see you Celestials in this film. What’s up with that? They have leaned more into the more jokey side of Ragnarok, which I didn’t mind, but it did lose some substance in the transaction. I think there is a litmus test as to whether the film’s tone will work for you, whether you laughed every time the screaming goats arrived on-screen or got annoyed every time they appeared.
In the end, do we recommend Thor: Love and Thunder? Yes, yes, I do. Overall, I found it to be a bunch of fun from start to finish. I don’t think this is the last we will see of Thor, and frankly, I am entirely okay with that. If you liked Thor: Love and Thunder, we recommend The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Thor: Love and Thunder
Directed by –Taika Waititi
Screenplay by – Taika Waititi & Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Based on – Thor created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby
Music by – Michael Giacchino & Nami Melumad
Cinematography by – Barry Idoine
Edited by – Matthew Schmidt, Peter S. Elliot, Tim Roche & Jennifer Vecchiarello
Production/Distribution Companies – Marvel Studios & Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Starring – Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, India Hemsworth, Kieron L. Dyer, Jaimie Alexander, Stephen Murdoch, Simon Russell Beale, Akosia Sabet, Jonny Brugh, Andrew Crawford, Elsa Pataky, Zia Kelly, Tristan Hemsworth, Sasha Hemsworth, Eliza Matengu, Shari Sebbens, Simona Paparelli Wolf, Nico Cortez, Priscilla Doueihy, Nicole Milinkovic, Chayla Korewha, Imaan Hadchiti, Carmen Foon, Clariza Vicente, Kuni Hashimoto & Stephen Hunter with Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, & Sean Gunn and Matt Damon, Sam Neill, Luke Hemsworth, Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Daley Pearson, Jenny Morris & Brett Goldstein
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13