This week I got a chance to catch up with the latest instalment in the ever growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor: Love And Thunder is now in UK cinemas. I am a big Marvel fan and old school comic book nerd. Of the upcoming Marvel films I would say this was the one I had high hopes for. I enjoyed Ragnarok a lot and this has a lot of the same pieces in place. Taika Waititi writing and directing. The old cast back together. Could it live up to my expectations? Let’s find out.
The film begins with our titular hero having hung up (or more accurately buried) his axe Stormbreaker. Weary of the constant battles against evil, he is now travelling with the Guardians Of The Galaxy. Now I have to admit a bias here as I love the Guardians characters. The first film from 2014 is, in my opinion, the best movie in the whole MCU canon to date. This is only a short lived appearance but it’s still fun. Star-Lord giving Thor life advice and generally sounding like a Hallmark greetings card is a bit strange, but I was willing to forgive it. The general theme seems to be that Thor is searching for his identity and trying to figure out who he really is.
Meanwhile Gorr The God Butcher (played brilliantly by Christian Bale) is our big bad. He’s on a mission to rid the universe of gods. His motivation isn’t exactly clear but it seems to be because his daughter died and the gods did nothing. Worse he discovers there is no afterlife for his fallen family. Armed with the powerful Necrosword he travels the universe wiping out many deities as he goes. Asgard (Thor’s home) is next on his TODO list.
Alongside all this we see the story of Dr Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman). Thor’s former girlfriend and renowned astrophysicist. Without much warning or explanation we are told that she has stage 4 cancer and is dying. She searches for a cure or an answer, settling upon the idea that she can be healed by Mjolnir, Thor’s legendary hammer, which currently resides in New Asgard, broken into pieces in the last Thor movie. She goes to New Asgard and can apparently just make the hammer come back together and obey her commands by willing it. She becomes The Mighty Thor, a female version of the thunder god. This is true to the comics where Jane also becomes The Mighty Thor, all be it in a slightly different way.
When Gorr comes to New Asgard and kidnaps all the children Thor, Jane, King Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson) and Korg (voiced by Waititi himself) band together to try and get them back. To do this they decide they need help from other gods including Russell Crowe’s Zeus, king of the Greek gods. To avoid spoilers I’ll leave you to discover the rest of the plot for yourselves, but this is only the first 20-30mins of the film.
This film is nothing if not chaotic. There are a lot of different narratives going on from the start, and it feels like they just threw everything at the wall hoping something would stick. The film jumps around not only between locations and time periods but also in tone between serious emotional stuff and just outright stupidity and silliness. I generally like Taika Waititi and have found most of his films very funny, but I’m not sure I even laughed once properly throughout this whole film. I’m sad to say that but it’s true. The use of screaming goats feels like an outdated meme. A lot of the jokes just don’t land for me. Everything is turned up to 11. The colours, the CGI, the soundtrack and more. I’m sorry to say a lot of it doesn’t benefit from that. I did enjoy parts of the film and it’s not a turkey by any means. It’s just not as good as Ragnarok and is probably the weakest of the four Thor films to date. I say “to date” because the end credit scene tells us “Thor will return”. I can’t say I’m waiting with baited breath for that. It feels more like they’re flogging a dead horse by now.
Good points I would say are the performance by Christian Bale, who is genuinely scary at points as Gorr. He might be the most menacing MCU villain we’ve seen. Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson are also very good. Getting to see Jane as The Mighty Thor was a treat I’d been waiting for. There are some good fight scenes and visuals but it’s not consistent enough throughout.
One of the poorest parts of the film is the city of the gods where our heroes meet Zeus. Russell Crowe is a good actor but he hams it up here and his choice of accent is shocking. I suppose he’s chosen this because Zeus is a Greek god but he sounds like a very poor impression of Harry Enfield’s classic character Stavros from the 80s. At times I was waiting for him to say “hello matey peeps!”. It isn’t good.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Overall I would say this film has it’s moments but sadly the good moments are largely outweighed by the poor ones. If you’re a Marvel fan then you should definitely see it. There isn’t a lot linking it to the larger MCU but there is a journey for most of the characters that may come into play in other MCU films. Other than that I can’t see how this is going to find a wider audience. It’s not as good as Ragnarok and I think perhaps they’re returned to well one too many times.
Have you seen Thor: Love And Thunder, what did you think? Feel free to let me know in the comments, via email or Twitter. It’s all good. I’m not sure what I’ll see next but probably the latest Minions movie. If you have suggestions or requests feel free to let me know.
Until next time, take care of yourselves 🙂