Words: Joey Passmore; pictures: Marvel/Disney
(This review is spoiler free)
It’s no secret that the first two Thor movies had some teething issues and were not quite there in terms of hitting that trusty Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) formula that was perfected over the past decade.
Taika Waititi seemed to break the curse with the third installment; Thor Ragnarok, which was a huge tonal shift for the franchise, a complete rebrand for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) himself, and gave the god of thunder a whole new lease of life.
In the first MCU solo movie to receive a 4th solo installment, Waititi returns as director while Thor attempts to fend off a new foe - Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who is, to no surprise, butchering gods.
Aiding the fight is Tessa Thompson who is back as the sarcastic warrior king of New Asgard, Valkyrie. Thor also has help from newly superhero-charged Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), also known as The Mighty Thor.
Waititi’s latest installment is wildly ambitious, but Love And Thunder’s amplified tone often comes off as arrogant and at points simply irritating as it ventures too far into parody territory.
Marvel can be hit and miss when it comes to peppering its scripts with humour, but given this brings comedy to the forefront, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that a lot of the jokes are not landing.
The attempts at making this a sort of sci-fi satire are unfortunately at the expense of any of the attempts at storytelling and emotional depth which, frustratingly, are buried in the film somewhere.
Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher
Bale gives it a good go, but The God Butcher is a shadow of Cate Blanchett’s Hela that preceded him, with motivations that attempt to give him complexity but come across as hollow and unconvincing.
The main disappointment here, though, is the much-hyped origin of The Mighty Thor, which feels rushed. Given it’s been almost nine years since we last properly saw her, Jane Foster’s transition to superhero is brief and confusing making Mighty Thor fall surprisingly flat.
We’ve had a couple of unnecessary MCU Disney+ shows, but a Jane Foster/Mighty Thor origin instead of one of them would have really done wonders for setting the groundwork for this big team-up.
Natalie Portman as The Might Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Tessa Thompson is great, however, as Valkyrie, even if we only get a crumb of character development. And as usual, Hemsworth does a decent job of steering the ship, despite not having anywhere near as interesting an arc as he had in Ragnarok or even the previous two Avengers films.
Where Love And Thunder excels however is with how it looks. The starkness of the shadow realm looks great and contrasts well with the rainbow-inspired colour-grading and cinematography throughout the rest of the film.
Constant bursts of colour add to the overall campness that Love And Thunder leans into, as well as its gayness, which isn’t as prominent as what we got in The Eternals, but is notably scattered throughout the movie.
Thor: Love And Thunder is a passably entertaining action movie, but a disappointing entry into the Marvel Universe.
Thor: Love & Thunder hits UK cinemas this Thursday. Check out the trailer below.
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