movie reviews
Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder

Chris Hemsworth looks for true love in the fourth Thor movie and we have some thoughts.

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Watching your family and friends die, especially if you have a brother who has a habit of biting the dust, can depress anyone - even the strongest of Asgardians. In Thor's case, he's decided to seek inner peace with the Guardians of the Galaxy, who, to their dismay, mostly have to put up with Thor's philosophising between cosmic battles. As a new threat approaches, however, the Thunder God is forced to seek new allies, with the reunion with ex, Jane Foster becoming more than a surprise when it turns out she's taken on the role and responsibilities of The Mighty Thor.

Taika Waititi possesses an intoxicating storytelling ability once he's given the freedom to just go wild in the comic book world, where his touch has coloured the iconic god with rock and roll and a much lighter tone. The style worked very well in Thor: Ragnarok, which I consider to be the most entertaining Thor movie. Unfortunately, it works less well in Love and Thunder, which quickly gets tangled up in a few too many story threads and the humour doesn't click as much as it did in Ragnarok. Love and Thunder becomes muddled and plotless due to its romcom nature, which is a shame considering all the fun cameos and wild rides the film actually delivers. Those expecting something at least as cosmic and chaotic as Ragnarok will clearly have fun here as well, but for myself it was hard to crack a smile when most of it feels so tackily presented.

Thor: Love and Thunder
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Seeing Christian Bale take on the world of comic books is also slightly bizarre, even though he's already versed in the genre since the days of The Dark Knight. Here he plays a god-slayer called Gorr, who is established very effectively in the film's opening and is one of the more memorable villains of the Marvel world. His creepiness, however, is entirely down to the tone the film is trying to establish, where at one moment he can seem really menacing but at another he feels more like a fairy tale character who's ended up in the wrong film. The mix is enjoyable though, precisely because it's Bale daring to dabble a bit. The character works best in his black-and-white shadow dimension, which gave off some distorted The Little Prince vibes, and Bale's humanity also manages to shine through those demonic eyes. However, I find the villain's quest to be a little too lacking in ideas, when all is said and done.

The film's biggest problem, aside from the messy storytelling, is the chemistry between the lead actors. Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth are far from bad actors - on the contrary, the stars have a lot to play with in their characters - but no matter how much the film tries to deepen their relationship, the truth is that these two have never worked well together. The first two Thor films struggled to give any sort of meaning to their relationship, which emotionally was like watching paint dry. For this very reason, the gnawing, the heat, the pining and all the trappings of love fall a little flat. Thor does find more of himself here than the Lebowski-like obese man he played in Endgame, and Portman's cancer-stricken heroine gives the film a bit more of a dilemma, but together both parties feel too stiff. The same can be said for Tessa Thompson's dull interlude, and the third act fails to weave together the hilarious and the tear-jerking seriousness.

Thor: Love and Thunder
On their own, Portman and Hemsworth are great, but together there's not much love or thunder...

Love and Thunder still manages to entertain thanks to its infectious energy and inarguable humour, but in the end the fourth Thor chapter is mostly one in a series of dubious sequels in a film franchise that would really have benefited from a longer break. It's not quite as awful as The Eternals, but not quite as surprising as Multiverse of Madness either. The common denominator of recent Marvel productions is that the whole thing still feels somewhat directionless and undone. Now maybe you shouldn't see each film as an important piece of the puzzle in a super important Marvel collage and each film should be able to stand on its own, but despite Waititi's unique comedy, Love and Thunder lacks the sharpness of better Marvel films.

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05 Gamereactor UK
5 / 10
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