By Jason Delgado
The latest entry in the MCU, and the fourth film in the Thor franchise, Thor: Love and Thunder is the definition of hit and miss. It’s got a kick-ass all Guns ‘N Roses soundtrack, but most of the action that accompanies the music feels meaningless until the climactic battle. Christian Bale gives an amazing performance as Gorr the God Butcher, but it is largely wasted on a story that underutilized him. Director Taika Waititi brought back the strange style that I adored in Thor: Ragnarok, but with hardly any of the essential humor that accompanied the weirdness of that film, although not for a lack of trying.
Most of the many jokes in Thor: Love and Thunder simply fall flat. There are some fun cameo appearances, and those brought the majority of the few laughs that there are to be had in this movie. It’s a shame, because I feel that the humor is what made Ragnarok stand out from the rest of the Thor films.
The storyline of Gorr trying to murder all gods out of revenge is underwhelming, due to an overall feel of a lack of urgency, together with the off-putting tone of so many bad jokes. It is especially frustrating for fans who have read comic writer Jason Aaron’s superb run upon which the movie is based, because they know how great this story could be with the right material. Granted, a film has time constraints that a long running comic book does not, but fans have seen Marvel do so many great adaptations that it is shocking when a film is not up to that high par.
Thor: Love and Thunder is not a bad movie; it just wasted a lot of potential. The cast is top-notch, with Chris Hemsworth as Thor, pulling out all of the stops that he has before. It is fun to see Natalie Portman back as Thor’s love interest Jane Foster, aka the Mighty Thor (which would have been a pleasant surprise in the film if it had not been ruined by being prominently featured in the trailers). Their relationship is a key facet of the movie, and it provided the most interesting scenes, in my opinion.
Tessa Thompson is also great, as usual, as Valkyrie, but Bale is the one who steals the show. Right from the opening scene, everything that he does is so compelling that you can’t take your eyes off of him. The whole tone of the movie was that of one big joke, but the villain was quite serious, so the tone undermined the threat that Gorr posed, and it instead felt like the stakes were low. This is a problem whether you’ve read the comic or not. If only Jason Aaron had been given the chance to write the screenplay because he knew how to make the greatest threat that Thor has ever faced, feel as such.
Despite the issues that I have mentioned, the film still builds up to a fun and semi-emotional conclusion. After watching the trailer and having already read the comics (which was the best Thor story that I had ever read), I was so pumped up that I expected the movie to be on the level of the Appetite for Destruction album, but it ended up being more like Chinese Democracy.
I give Thor: Love and Thunder three out of five hot sauce packets. It’s got enough electricity to give you a bit of a jolt.