Thor: Love and Thunder
Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman,
and Christian Bale
Mister Marquee Says: meh
Thor: Love and Thunder is a decent movie. It’s not great, but isn’t bad by any stretch. In fact, there are actually two great movies in it but they clash horribly and fight for attention.
The Marvel model has always been an unsteady balance between comedy and seriousness since the days of the quip-happy first Avengers film. Critics of the franchise would say the MCU has been leaning too hard on comedy for a while, and Love and Thunder would be a great example. Though not quite as funny as Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi still gives us a romantic comedy with some genuinely hilarious moments.
The problem is, the jokes are overdone and clash with the more serious elements of the story and waste a really interesting and sometimes terrifying villain in Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale). Gorr’s tragic introduction scene set the tone for what could have been a really good movie with legit stakes and emotional reason.
Gorr prayed to his god for water and food in the desert but lost his young daughter any way. When Gorr meats his god, the deity laughs at him. With the necrosword, Gorr embarks on a campaign to rid the universe of the gods. Thor must defend himself from Gorr’s crusade while also grappling with the place he and other deities like Zeus (Russel Crowe) hold in the cosmos.
All the while, we have a ticking clock as Thor’s ex Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is dying of cancer and gains Thor’s powers. These are heavy emotional and philosophical subjects that clash horribly with the silliness Waititi made work in Ragnarok.
Bale is excellent as Gorr who is just too dark and nuanced of a villain for a silly romp. The God Butcher story is just too heavy for the kind of movie Waititi wanted to make and sticks out horribly as a result.
This movie could have been a good light rom-com or a heavy space epic. The end result is a mish-mash of the two that doesn’t allow either side to live up to its potential. Thor four is a tonal mess, but far from a total dud.