Thor: Love and Thunder: Directed by Taika Waititi
SYNOPSIS: After his retirement is interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher, a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie, Korg, and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who now inexplicably wields Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.
I. AM. CONFLICTED.
Thor: Love and Thunder was one of my most anticipated projects in phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and with everything that we learned leading up to its release, the excitement continued to grow. The cast has to be the most exciting thing of all with the additions of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher and the reentry of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and The Mighty Thor.
Taika Waititi is one of the most electric filmmakers in Hollywood, never straying away from his style and always bringing lots of charm and comedy. The Waititi/Hemsworth duo has proven to be a brilliant combo with the success of Thor: Ragnarok and with that, I was very excited to see what they would bring to this next project.
This is tough for me because I like to be a straight shooter when it comes to my reviews, especially when it comes to the MCU. But for the first time, I have no idea how I feel about this film. There is a lot to love, but there is also a lot that I found myself not liking. To do this justice, we will break the review up for the good and the bad.
Like you even need a reminder but this is your one and only SPOILER WARNING
It’s no secret that I have not been a fan of the character of Jane Foster. I think in the end she was one of the worst written characters in all of the MCU. If the character is supposed to be a very talented and smart scientist, make her that way. Don’t make her a dumb love-intrest like in Thor or a mcguffin in Thor: The Dark World. You should actually give her some depth to make her a character that you want to care about.
For the first time in this film, they actually wrote her well. Most of her story is based off of the comics, but the character development of her and Thor is some of the best work in this film. Jane is actually loveable instead of being a dumb love interest and she is actually given things to do in this film instead of being in the background. This is just as much Jane’s story as it is Thor’s.
And in the end, it is the thoughtful send off that she deserves. The decision for her to sacrifice herself to save everyone is a choice that I loved. It made the journey that much more fulfilling and actually made me shed a tear. I went from not caring about her from the start to shedding tears at her death. That is great character development, and most of it happens in this entry.
The performances rock, there is no way around it. Chris Hemsworth has the character of Thor down, there really isn’t any doubt at this point, but the rest of the cast is really where it shines. We’ve already discussed Natalie Portman’s arc in the film, but that isn’t successful without a stellar performance. She really carries the emotion of the film. Christian Bale is absolutely incredible as Gorr the God Butcher, bringing one of the creepiest villains we have seen in the universe so far. I absolutely love Bale and was so happy to see him bring his talent to the MCU.
Is it possible for a film to be too funny? My constant complaint and the biggest reason why I don’t love Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Is the fact that there are too many jokes. We have gotten to the point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where the creatives feel that the films need to be filled with campy comedy. In some instances that works, but there is such a thing as overkill.
The biggest problem with a film like this is the inability to have any emotional moments truly land. There was a joke every 15 seconds that gave no time for any meaningful conversation to set in for the audience. That is not a good thing when you are trying to tackle some of the really heavy topics that are sprinkled throughout the runtime.
Speaking of the runtime. This film was way too short and way too fast. I think the thing that really grinds my gears the most about this film is the inability to let anything breathe. I needed a more emotional and dialogue filled conversation between Jane and Thor. I needed more moments with Gorr to continue to make us resonate with his character and I needed more Thor in general.
The “plot” of the film is Thor trying to figure out his place in the world and what happens now after the events of Avengers: Endgame. While there is a conclusion, it was so forced and rushed that in the end, I had no idea what we learned. Every film has a lesson. What was the lesson of Thor: Love and Thunder? I don’t really have an answer for you.
The final thing that I really don’t love is the pacing. You all know the thing I’m the biggest stickler for is the pacing of a film and how the film ebbs and flows. I love a short runtime as much as the next standard moviegoer, but this film was too damn short. You add 20 minutes to the runtime for some meaningful conversations, and this film is an absolute hit, but from the very first frame of the film, this is a runaway train that stops for no one. That just doesn’t work.
Like I said, there is a lot to love about the film, but there is so much here that just fails for me and that left me extremely conflicted on how to score this.
When I was walking out of the theater with one of my work friends, Jeremy, he asked me what I thought about Thor: Love and Thunder. I told him simply, I didn’t know. Did I love it, or did I hate it? I honestly had no idea and I still don’t think I have a proper answer for you. This conflict will continue to follow me as we continue to move forward in the MCU.
There is so much to love in this installment of the Thor franchise with stellar performances, a compelling villain and the classic Marvel fun that you can always expect. There is no doubt that this is the better half of the Thor quadrilogy, but I would be lying if I said this was better than Ragnarok.
The pacing is way too fast, the comedy evaporates any sense of drama in the story and the runtime could have been 20 minutes longer. There is no time for our themes or story elements to breathe and the plot for Thor is really nonexistent in terms of personal motivations. Taika is a genius, but sometimes that genius can also be a downside.
Thor: Love and Thunder really grinds my gears. The potential of this film to be one of the best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is there, but the ingredients were just not used properly. The fun is there, the drama, not so much. The arc for Jane Foster is excellent while the arc for Thor is nonexistent. The runtime is short, but the story is so rushed, there was no satisfaction in the end. This is the ultimate ying/yang film for the MCU and one that I will continue to be conflicted about all year long.
15 for Writing: 11
15 for Performances: 14
10 for Entertainment: 9
10 for Direction: 9
10 for Emotions: 8
5 for Cinematography: 4
5 for Score: 5
5 for Pacing: 4
15 for Technical: 11
5 for Rewatchability: 4
5 for Automatic: 5
Thor: Love and Thunder: 84/100
Jack Lautaret is a Banana Meter approved film critic and Host of the Jack Lautaret YouTube Channel. He is a member of the Online Film and Television Association. Twitter: @JackLautaret