Who would’ve thought that, among the original heroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, only Thor would survive long enough to get a fourth film? His first two flicks certainly didn’t set the fanbase on fire as they’re noted to be the most boring from the original trio. Yet, here we are, more than a decade after the first Thor movie, we have Thor: Love and Thunder. I guess the series owes a lot to Taika Waititi as it was the change from super mellowdramatic and serious tone from the first couple of movies to the more goofball tone that was started in Thor: Ragnarok that breathe new life to the character… for better or worse.
But this is the fourth sequel and, generally, by this time, any movie franchise would start looking long in the tooth. So how does Thor: Love and Thunder fare? Is is still worth a watch even if this is the fourth entry in? Well, read on to find out!
Now, as this film isn’t exactly released worldwide at the time of writing this, this will be a SPOILER FREE review. Like the trailers, I don’t want to reveal all that much to the people who are avoiding any big, surprising moments or anything like that. So, just to reiterate, this review for Thor: Love and Thunder is a SPOILER FREE review.
Thor: Love and Thunder takes place some time after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Thor has gotten word that a new foe, Gorr The God Butcher, is killing gods left and right and he decides to take him out before this new enemy goes too far. In his quest to stop Gorr, he teams up with fellow Asgardian Valkyrie and Jane Foster, Thor’s former girlfriend who has mysteriously acquired the same powers as the God of Thunder.
I won’t beat around the bush here: I really enjoyed myself while watching Thor: Love and Thunder. However, I will juxtapose that statement by saying it’s probably one of the biggest offender of what most people complain about with Marvel movies: there’s a lot of comedy. A little too much comedy at times, in fact. This does lead to some really weird tonal conflicts as some parts of the film should be more serious but Taika Waititi offset it with joke to lighten the mood up immediately. If you have a problem with Marvel superhero movies throwing in jokes at inappropriate times, you’ll probably have a problem with Thor: Love and Thunder. If you can overlook that, you’ll be just fine.
The acting all throughout is really good. Chris Hemsworth has been playing Thor for quite a while now but he has had to deal with the tonal shift from Shakespearian dourness from the first films to the more humorous tone and I will say he definitely works better making Thor come off as a boorish oaf who’s a little too full of himself. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, despite owning the role of the Ruler of New Asgard, still comes off as the more down-to-earth person when she was introduced in Thor: Ragnarok. The biggest departure from their previous roles is obviously Jane Foster as she now has the same powers of Thor here. Thankfully, Natalie Portman proves to be up to the task. In fact, thanks to the more comedic tone, I could see a little more chemistry between Chris Hemworth and Natalie Portman which I couldn’t see in the first couple of movies. The two just seem to work better when the mood is lighter and Jane Foster doesn’t have to be the damsel in distress Thor has to rescue.
However, the best performance in Thor: Love and Thunder has to got to Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher. It’s an odd feeling to watch a Marvel movie with an actual good villain but Christian Bale manages to pull it off. Gorr comes off as a very frightening and unsettling character but with enough personality so you can understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. It also helps that Christian Bale’s acting comes off as genuinely creepy when needed. He may have played Batman before but, based on his performance as Gorr, he would’ve made a good Joker.
The action scenes, while they can come off as somewhat messy at times, is mostly good. I do love the attention to detail that Thor, Valkyrie and Jane Foster all have different fighting styles. Thor definitely has become more graceful but still relies on hitting things as hard as he can. Valkyrie’s attacks are mostly quick strikes and Jane Foster, while mimicking Thor’s general hard hitting style, uses more spinning moves, flips and flourishes. But what really caught my eye was Gorr the God Butcher’s combat style as he comes off more like a samurai from an anime. It really looks good.
The only problem with the action scenes is that they’re not exactly edited all that well. You can still generally follow what’s happening but, at times, characters seem to be doing something else than what you saw in the previous scene. There were a couple of times when I saw a character throw a weapon only to be wielding said weapon instantly. It doesn’t happen all that frequently and it’s nothing jarring and I only noticed it because I was expecting a scene where the character would retrieve it.
This may sound a little pretentious but I really love the general look and cinematography Taika Waititi implemented for the movie. Every new location has a definite look to them so it’s easy to determine where you are in the galaxy. Even the most drab location (which I won’t mention as this is a SPOILER FREE review) has it’s own personality and gimmick to it. The costumes, while they lean on a more cartoony, action figure-y look, do look stylish. More “serious” movie goers may scoff at them because they do look like real life toys but, if you’re a kid, they would look spectacular… and make you want to buy the toy. So, mission accomplished?
I will also say the general story and quest to find Gorr the God Butcher feels a little bloated at the middle. There’s a good chunk of the film’s 119-minute runtime which could’ve been trimmed down as it doesn’t really add much to the story. However, at the same time, the location the three heroes visit is too stunning and creative to really be edited down. The conclusion to the final battle and the film also does feel a little off. It’s a fairly satisfying ending but not the way I would’ve gone.
Thor: Love and Thunder is a really enjoyable movie provided you’re okay with Marvel once again dipping into the humor well a little too much. It’s a solid action-comedy-superhero movie that definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously even though it should have at times. Still, it does what it sets out to be, which is an entertaining entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nothing more, nothing less.
Have you seen Thor: Love and Thunder? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!