- Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale
- Written by
- Taika Waititi ( screenplay/ story by) and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson ( story by)
- Directed by
- Taika Waititi
- Run Time
- 1h 59 min
- Release Date
- July 8th, 2022
In the past three years following the events of Avengers: Endgame, the loose story threads of the original Avengers have been slowly tied off. Black Widow got her flashback movie, and Hawkeye got his Disney+ TV show. The only one remaining was Thor, the mighty god of thunder. Who when we last saw him, was still overweight, sporting a ZZ Top beard and hitching a ride with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now he is back to his chiseled look with his classic beard and long hair ready to take on a new challenge and deal with some old pains in Thor: Love and Thunder.
After another “successful” adventure with the Guardians where it seems Thor (Chris Hemsworth) now does a lot of the heavy lifting, the group stumble on old friend in need. Thor takes this opportunity to break away from Quill (Chris Pratt) and his crew and head back to New Asgard with his buddy Korg (Taika Waititi) in tow. They encounter Gorr (Christian Bale) a former worshiper turned god-butcher who along with his Necrosword has vowed to kill all gods. During his first confrontation with Gorr, Thor is reunited with a Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who has become the new god of thunder and is wielding a reforged Mjolnir. Along with king of Asgard, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) the team attempts to discover Gorr’s ultimate plan and stop him before it’s too late.
It’s a common reaction to size this film up with director’s Taika Waititit previous film Thor: Ragnarok and even though that’s what I did it’s still not a fair judgement. Ragnarok as a film was such a 180 turn from where the Thor series began way back in 2011. The character and story of Thor went from Shakespeare to screwball in that time which was a welcomed sight, even if it didn’t follow the serious and honorable beginnings of the norse mythology. In Love and Thunder Taika doubles down by giving us a pair of giant goats who bring a laugh every time they are on screen, a weird ex-weapon love triangle with Thor, Mjolnir and Storbreaker, and a rocking soundtrack that will end up as a lot of Spotify mixes.
What is missing is the originality of the story, much like previous films, there is a big bad that needs to be defeated. And unfortunately as great as Bale always is, it seemed like he didn’t quite have a handle on his characters tone, it was all over the place. The editing also felt very choppy and had that aroma of studio meddling. What also didn’t work is something else that is ever-present in the MCU, most recently in their last outing Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness where along with the ‘end of the world’ scenario we are forced to deal with the love life of our hero which leads to mixed results.
What does still work is Taika’s playful nature and brilliant humor which is on full display much like Thor’s butt later in the film. Everyone looks like they are having a blast playing in this colorful, albeit heavily CG’ed world. Gone is the incredible Jack Kirby style from Ragnarok and the biggest push visually is a journey into black & white. I still laughed out loud and had a great time with Love and Thunder, it is filled with genuine cool splash page moments, I just wish there was more to these MCU films than just wrapping up 3 to 9 year-old storylines. I still appreciate the comic book nature Kevin Feige and his team strive for, but it is starting to look like Marvel is losing its way. As much as I enjoy the Disney+ shows, there doesn’t seem like there is a clear path anymore, but if along the way we continue to get entertaining films like this and last years Shang-Chi, I will keep showing up. I just hope there is something more ambitious on the horizon that doesn’t require screaming goats and a G N’ R soundtrack to keep us engaged.