Thor: Love and Thunder review: A mad rush that underutilizes everyone
Thor: Love and Thunder – now in cinemas – is just too rushed. It’s a bit as if the former heads of Warner Bros., those who ensured Justice League would be a disaster, temporarily took over Marvel Studios and asked writer-director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) to edit his film in under two hours. The fourth Thor The film is 119 minutes long, and that includes Marvel’s usual long credits. Look, don’t get me wrong, I hate long movies, but given how much Waititi puts on his plate here, Thor: Love and Thunder had to be longer to do it justice. Because as it stands, Thor: Love and Thunder suffers from narrative gaps, wild tonal imbalances, and weightlessness. More importantly, it underutilizes nearly every cast and character at its disposal.
Part romantic comedy, part tale of a grieving father, an aimless god, a scientist trying to conquer death, a bored king in search of adventure, and a silly journey through the cosmos, Thor: Love and Thunder tries to be about so many things that often aren’t about anything. Just vibes and zingers. Even when the new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie lands in one of the aforementioned ways, it feels like a bunch of different movies are competing for screen space and runtime. And in the editing room, Waititi and his team of four (!!) editors – Matthew Schmidt, Peter S. Elliot, Tim Roche and Jennifer Vecchiarello – somehow cobbled together these disparate stories in the best possible way, gluing them together on top of each other with Fevicol or something.
Waititi tries to save the day – constantly – with humor, but alas, not even a pair of screaming goats, a jealousy-driven love triangle between Thor and his two metal armaments, or Russell Crowe doing an impression of orgy with Greek accents. – Obsessed Zeus can distract you from the troubles of Thor: Love and Thunder. Ultimately, it’s a movie that’s very short in the character department. And of course, unfortunately, Waititi’s other problems continue. His handling of action sequences hasn’t improved at all. Shot chaotically in front of CGI-heavy environments and edited even poorer with nostalgic needle drops slapped on top, Thor: Love and Thunder delivers some of the most instantly forgettable action beats in an MCU film.
Everything you need to know about Thor: Love and Thunder
Picking up at the end of Avengers: Endgame, where Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) joined the Guardians of the Galaxy – Chris Pratt and Co. show up for a few minutes, mostly to stay upright – Thor: Love and Thunder finds a drift Thor in search of his next adrenaline rush. But Thor is undeniably full of himself and doesn’t see that the Guardians have grown tired of him. So when Thor learns that a guy dubbed the God Butcher (Christian Bale, from The Dark Knight) has New Asgard next on his list, the Guardians see it as the perfect excuse to go their own way, leaving behind Thor, his friend exposing rock. Korg (Waititi), and the two new giant goats given to them. But as Thor returns to (New) Asgard, he reunites with two exes: Mjolnir and Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).
What is Jane – who has been missing from the MCU since 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, given her presence on Endgame based on unused footage – doing in New Asgard? As known for three years now, Portman returns to wield (a reforged) Mjolnir as Mighty Thor. Suffering from stage four cancer, Jane finds herself called to Mjolnir, the broken pieces of which are displayed to tourists in New Asgard. But Thor: Love and Thunder is so eager to move on to its plot that it skips important elements here – what’s it like to suddenly transform into a superhero? What do the Asgardians think of this new Thor? — including where she came with the “Mighty” to get attached to it. Instead, the new Marvel movie is more about Jane trying to find the right tagline. What?!
But believe it or not, Portman’s arc is perhaps the most fleshed out. Promised for a queer arc at San Diego Comic-Con three years ago, Tessa Thompson — third billed — ends up being completely wasted as the New Asgard Valkyrie king. She is relegated to a secondary role, and the “recognition” of her bisexuality ends up being the fact that she kisses a woman’s hand. Sheesh, Taika, we expected better from you. Even Bale – second billed – feels underutilized, existing more as a plot driver, rather than a living character with things to do. It opens the film with heavy existential themes, but then remains off-screen for large parts of Thor: Love and Thunder. A sympathetic villain is a lost villain if he is not central to the story being told.
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Others were cut from the film altogether. Jeff Goldblum and Peter Dinklage were set to return to their respective roles as the hedonistic grandmaster of Sakaar (from Thor: Ragnarok) and giant dwarf smith Eitri (from Avengers: Infinity War), but their scenes were cut. Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey also had a role in Thor: Love and Thunder, but she too was left on the cutting room floor. The characters that exist have lost “entire footage” between them, with Portman acknowledging this before release and joking that there’s enough material left between her and Thompson that could be turned into a Valkyrie and Mighty Thor spin-off. . This results in a jerky movie, which loses its flow as a result.
India’s censorship board also got in on the act, thoroughly slaying the viral plan of Thor being ‘flicked’ by Zeus. Rather than blurring it cleanly like Marvel did for YouTube, the CBFC completely cropped Thor’s butt by awkwardly cropping and zooming in on the photo. Additionally, every mention of Zeus’ orgy references have been silenced. Speaking of that scene, Thor: Love and Thunder gives us a lot of Crowe as a horny, overweight show-off who’s full of himself – Thor admits he relied heavily on Zeus – but the performance almost cartoonish is definitely over the top.
Hemsworth, meanwhile, strikes balance with his almost cartoonish show-off that’s full of himself. It helps that he’s been given more work – by Waititi and his co-writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Sweet/Vicious) – than anyone else on Thor: Love and Thunder. Not only can he handle the explosive proclamations that gods of his stature have to deliver, he’s also capable when it comes to the comedic aspects of his character. Much of the comedy comes from how Waititi frames Thor’s relationship with his weapons – with Stormbreaker feeling jealous, acting out and disagreeing with Thor’s joy at seeing Mjolnir. And as with Ragnarok, Hemsworth plays into Thor’s conceit and insecurity, regularly turning himself into the butt of the joke through Thor: Love and Thunder.
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Waititi does his best to complement Hemsworth’s comedic chops, via script or dialogue and narration by Korg – a character he plays himself. The space goats get one of the biggest laughs – becoming the butt of the joke – and a commentary on disposable housework is well-focused, landing neatly in a mid-movie montage that encapsulates how the relationship of Thor and Jane burned. But a recurring joke around Korg forgetting Jane Foster’s name feels like an exit, and reads more like an unintended meta commentary on how Waititi’s precedent Thor the film completely forgot the character of Portman.
But Waititi fails – bigger – elsewhere. The director talked about how Thor is going through a midlife crisis, but while Thor: Love and Thunder sets him up, he’s casually sidelined for “more interesting” diversions. Instead, it feels like Thor The franchise is going through a midlife crisis, struggling for a new purpose in the wake of its titular hero being tested in Infinity War and Endgame. Where are you taking a hero who has seen it all, the lowest of lows and the highest of highs?
Also, once again, the MCU ended up with a villain who says the right things, but does it the wrong way. Gorr’s main argument is that the gods don’t care about anyone but themselves. And then Thor: Love and Thunder goes on to show that most gods are flippant, clumsy, and full of themselves. They have no interest in helping those who fervently pray in their name. And when faced with grave danger, they are more than happy to hide in their cocoons. Maybe all gods should die?
The biggest problem for Thor: Love and Thunder is that it’s unable to handle the many movies it needs. It transitions inelegantly from self-aware comedy to poignant romance, from dark tragedy to raucous adventure. Waititi more or less nailed Ragnarok – the action sequences were always a problem – but he’s unable to catch lightning in a bottle again. Thor: Love and Thunder is an in-and-out Waititi movie, except now we have an expanded understanding of that term.
While Waititi should definitely be credited with turning the tide Thor candor — kudos to Hemsworth for seamlessly fitting into the new role he’s been asked to play — the writer-director plays his greatest hits here. This is reflected in both the soundtrack that feels stuck and the return of Matt Damon and his fellow Asgardian comedians for a second round of the play. When you’ve seen them once, they don’t quite hit with the same impact. And finally there’s just not enough love and thunder in the fourth Thor film.
Thor: Love and Thunder opens Thursday, July 7 in cinemas worldwide. In India, Thor: Love and Thunder is available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.
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