The name Thor has become a major player in pop culture. You could say that it is because the tales of Norse Mythology have become popular, but truthfully it is due to God of Thunder’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Thor has been a household name in the realm of Marvel Comics, the character has found prominence since debuting on the big screen in 2011. Since then the character has been a part of massive blockbusters like The Avengers and has starred in his own films like Thor: Ragnarok. After going through a trilogy of solo films, as well as a tetralogy with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, you would think Thor’s time on the big screen would be over, but that is not the case as the God of Thunder returns in the latest installment of MCU-Thor: Love and Thunder.
Directed by Taika Waititi (director of Ragnarok), Love and Thunder deals with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) reuniting with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who, thanks to wielding Mjonir, possesses the Thunderer’s power. Together the Thors embark on a cosmic journey to stop Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) who seeks to rid the cosmos of all gods. Thanks to the success of Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi was attached almost immediately to the project and was granted more control over the new film. Along with adapting the Mighty Thor storyline, Waititi stated that Love and Thunder would be his craziest film to date which, given the filmmaker’s track record, is saying something. While this may be an exciting prospect for moviegoers, I cannot say that I share those sentiments. Truth be told, I was not a fan of Thor: Ragnarok as its excessive nature and sporadic direction left me underwhelmed and irritated-though its art direction was pretty good. Be that as it may I had to give Thor: Love and Thunder a chance, and after seeing it I found myself less irritated but underwhelmed by the latest Marvel film.
Since 2011 Thor has had many adventures on the big screen, so it begs the question how do you continue Thor’s story? Well Thor: Love and Thunder answers that question by doing more of the same. The story was indeed a cosmic adventure, but its linear storytelling made this godly tale predictable. The plot did feature some interesting concepts like the god hierarchy, but it felt more like a footnote in the overall plot and it did not leave me wanting to see more. When incorporating elements from previous Thor films, like the relationship between Thor and Jane, this direction was appreciated but it raised some questions when it came to fitting into the continuity of the MCU. The plot had some compelling themes but they contrasted with the film’s lighter tone and never reached their full potential. These issues stem from the movie’s biggest problem which was its inconsistent direction and even though it had its moments, this plot was hard to get into making it just another Thor adventure-minus the grandeur.
Much like the plot, how the movie would handle Thor’s character was an interesting factor going into the film. To say the Thunder’s development has been inconsistent is, at least to me, an understatement as he has gone from a stoic warrior to the god of bros, and the Thunderer has gone from one setback after another. In the case of Love and Thunder, it is pretty much the same for the Mighty Avenger. While his character was a bit more balanced in this outing, Thor did not have much development in this new adventure save for his rekindled relationship with Jane. As for Jane, her inclusion was better than expected as the movie provided a decent arc for the heroine, and her chemistry with Thor was still good. As for characters like Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Taika Waititi) , they were decent additions to the cast. Neither character is among my favorites, particularly Korg, but their inclusion in this movie was tolerable if not a bit unnecessary. The movie also featured appearances from characters like Zeus (Russell Crowe) and the Guardians of the Galaxy but their inclusion only did so much for the movie. As for the movie’s villain, Gorr was a decent antagonist. While his presence was lacking, Gorr had his moments which was thanks to the solid performance from Christian Bale.
When Taika Waititi took over the Thor franchise, there was a shift in both visuals and tone, and this change was not all for the better. While Thor: Ragnarok was visually pleasing, the film’s tone (or rather its sense of humor) could be overbearing. In the case of Love and Thunder, this sequel followed suit. From a visual standpoint Love and Thunder was fairly impressive as it had a distinct look that worked for Marvel’s cosmic side. In the case of humor, this aspect was, to put it nicely, alright. The comedy could be excessive and many jokes did not land, but it was tolerable this time around. The action on the other hand, was just ok as it felt like an afterthought in the overall film. Another tolerable aspect was the music by Michael Giachinno and Nami Melumad. The score had its moments but did not leave the greatest of impressions and the movie seemed to care more about using Guns N’Roses songs than anything else-though I cannot say that was a terrible decision.
Thor: Love and Thunder does little to bring the thunder. Between the inconsistent direction and lacking impression, it was difficult to comprehend the point of this Marvel film even from an entertaining standpoint. Some elements like the visuals and the performances were ok, but it was not enough to help this cosmic blockbuster stand out. If anything, Love and Thunder cements my issues with Taika Waititi as a filmmaker as his “craziest film to date” turns out to be not just another Thor adventure, but another lackluster entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.