Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder follows Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey, unlike anything he’s ever faced – a quest for inner peace. But his retirement is interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the gods. To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi), and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who – to Thor’s surprise – inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.
Despite the highly-praised new direction that Waititi took the Thor character in with 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, the energy in Thor: Love and Thunder felt watered down a bit due to the resued formula from its predecessor.
Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher was only a butcher in name; you can go down that rabbit hole on your own as this is not a spoiler review, but if I can be forward, I’ll say that his take on Gorr was a disappointment. Here you have one of the most beloved villains in the Marvel universe & he was squandered due to Waititi & Jennifer Robbinson’s writing. You can see where Waititi & Robbinson tiptoed around Gorr’s dark side, but again this was not explored much, making him a villain that lacked presence & wasn’t much of a threat. There was a scene where Bale’s presence reminded me of Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise from the 2017 & 2019 films & it was dark & creepy, but this was quickly taken when we saw him again. Another problem with the film that’s related to Gorr was that we barely spent time with him. Past Marvel villains were fleshed out even if they only appeared in one film, but this isn’t the case here. Also, they didn’t flesh out the origins of the Necrosword or talk much about it. If you’re not a comic book reader, you’ll be lost or think of the sword as a minor weapon, which isn’t true.
Portman’s Mighty Thor had some electrifying moments during her first battle, but the more she appears on-screen, the more it feels like she was shoehorned into this story. Outside of balancing Thor’s longing for love, Portman’s character added nothing to the story. She could’ve appeared during the third act & made the same impact. This isn’t to say that the character was an overall waste, but I do feel like the writers didn’t know how to handle the character, which was a wasted opportunity. Portman should’ve been added to the next Thor film as this story film had way too much going on plotwise.
If you haven’t figured it out already, my main issue with this film is the story & the mishandling of Mighty Thor & Gorr. Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder comic book run should’ve been the story that Waititi & Robinson followed. That story dealt with time travel & made Gorr seem like an actual threat to Thor & those that stood with him. It’s as if Waititi & Robinson skimmed through Gorr’s history & only went with the first sentence of whatever source they pulled from. Bale was wasted here & it’s saddening because he was perfect for this role. Waititi stated that “I wanted to show him in a light that most Thor fans wouldn’t really want if you were to tell them. If you were to say them: ‘Yeah, I’m going to make Thor in love,’ it’s probably the last thing that a Thor fan really wants to hear.” & the statement was incorrect because we’ve seen Thor in love during the first two films; however, Waititi did flesh out the mental pain that Thor experienced by not having Jane in his life.
There is a balance of flaws & praise in Thor: Love and Thunder. As I stated earlier, Waititi swapped out the dull & dry tone that was heavily present in Thor & Thor: The Dark World & lightened it up with steady comedy & flash, which was a welcomed change. You can expect to laugh consistently while watching Thor: Love and Thunder, especially whenever you see Tanngrisnir & Tanngnjóstr, Thor’s two goats. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie was pretty much what we saw out of her in Thor: Ragnarok & this isn’t a bad thing, but she also didn’t shine much here. Russell Crowe’s Zeus didn’t add much to the story, but he was necessary to push the story for the next film forward. The section with Zeus dragged on too much & felt like an SNL skit.
Thor: Love and Thunder tries to follow its predecessor’s blueprint but doesn’t quite land. This isn’t a bad film, but Waititi might be running out of steam & might crash if he continues to fumble the script.