Thor has been through a lot since his character entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe way back in 2011. The poor guy has lost his mother, father and watched the ‘death’ of his brother several times.
Thor went through a depressive self-destructive phase during the events of Avengers: End Game. Thor even saw the destruction of his trusted hammer, Mjolnir, at the hands of his own sister. If anything, I would say his character has been through the most trauma and Thor is still grappling with his own existence in the universe and what role he is supposed to play. Well, the latest film in the Thor franchise titled ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ sees Thor discover more of who he is.
The return of Taika Waititi as director had me excited for this new film because I absolutely loved Thor: Ragnarök. I adored his take on the character and the self-aware humour that he added. I expected more of the same from Thor: Love and Thunder and had such high expectations. Sadly, a lot of the comedy is over the top and cringeworthy. I found myself chuckling, cringing, and found my head in my hands often rather than just outright laughing. Despite this, Waititi’s choice in music and bright colours for the film somewhat make up for it.
Not only has Taika Waititi returned as director, his character Korg also makes a return alongside other Ragnarök alumni, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie. However, the biggest return to the franchise would have to be Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. Not only has she returned as the lost love of Thor, but she also comes back in a new role as a bad-ass lady Thor, ‘Mighty Thor‘. If it weren’t hard enough to have his ex-girlfriend back on the scene, Thor has to contend with his ex-magical weapon too! Whilst the interactions between Hemsworth’s Thor and Portman’s Thor are humorously awkward, it is the pairing of Portman and Thompson as two badass female warriors that made Portman’s return worth it. Their interactions as bad-ass gal-pals was fun, fierce, natural, and I absolutely loved it.
Now, a super-hero film would not be possible without a super-villain to put our heroes to the test. The latest foe to go up against Thor is Christian Bale as the dark and gloomy Gorr the God Butcher. Wielding the dark magic Necrosword, Gorr is out to harness the ultimate power of the universe and is taking out numerous gods in the process. Bale really brings this soulless character to life and was the perfect choice for the role. With Bale already putting on a fantastic performance as Gorr, his evil is only heightened with the directorial choice to have most of his scenes appear in black and white with subtle hints of colour. These choices make Gorr one of my favourite villains of the MCU to date.
Michael Giacchino is fast becoming a favourite of directors in the MCU and his addition to Thor: Love and Thunder was the perfect choice. However, it is not just the original score that helps bring this film and its characters to life. It is the addition of the classic rock anthems that are the perfect accompaniment to the action on screen. These include iconic tracks from Abba, Enya, and four tracks from rock gods, Guns N’ Roses. These iconic rock anthems paired with the bright and colourful visuals of the film are the perfect pairing.
Of course, a Thor film would not be possible without Chris Hemsworth at the helm. Hemsworth probably puts on his best performance as the God of Thunder. His confused state when his ex-girlfriend arrives and the emotional battle that he has with Stormbreaker are both believable and relatable. Hemsworth’s growth in the character really is one of the best within the MCU and I cannot wait where he takes the character next.
Now, with a fantastic soundtrack, brilliant styling choices and equally as great cinematography, you would expect the film to deliver being a smash. Sadly, I feel it falls short as this film is confused as to what it wants to be.
The comedy and light-hearted segments followed up with deep, emotional, and evil sequences are conflicting. The film wants to be two things at once and admittedly, it is better in the second act when it followed a more serious tone. It is a good film, and I did have fun watching it, but I was also frustrated and over it at times. Thor: Love and Thunder is definitely the weakest of the two Taika Waititi Marvel films, and perhaps it is the weakest of all the Thor films. Thankfully, there are a few redeeming qualities, including the open expression of same sex relationships and the wholesome conclusion that I absolutely adored.
Overall, Thor: Love and Thunder is good but not great, fun but not fantastic, and whilst I am thankful to have seen it, I don’t think I’ll be rushing back to the cinemas to see it again anytime soon.