Action/Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy | Walt Disney Studios & Marvel Studios | Runtime: 125m | Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe, Taika Waititi
Synopsis: When a galactic killer makes it his mission to destroy all the Gods, Thor will come out of his self-imposed retirement and enlist the assistance of Valkyrie, Korg, and the love of his life Jane Foster, to stop this killer’s wrath from spreading more than it already has.
Now, despite my admitted comic book movie fatigue, I was more than a little excited to see Love and Thunder. I feel the MCU formula is getting a bit tired, and the added intricacy to maintaining the continuity of it all has resulted in more than a few films in this massive universe feeling like filler. Thor: Ragnarok was a refreshing change of pace. It was truly unique. The world and vibe Waititi brought to that film, not to mention the elevated charisma he drew out of Hemsworth in the lead, was a delight. Ragnarok is certainly in the top echelon of MCU movies for me primarily because it knows what it is, it goes all in, and the vibrant personality of that film stands up on repeat viewings.
As much as I wanted it to, Love and Thunder wasn’t quite able to repeat that charming recipe. Now it without question accomplishes this vibe during portions. Waititi’s artistic expression is all over this movie just like it was in Ragnarok. Yet the result this time around was almost a tale of two completely different films. As you would expect the sense of humor is solidified. It’s frequently amusing and delivers quips, jokes, banter, and situational comedy to result in steady amusement. Complementing that humor are large, eye-popping action set-pieces, all set to bold rock’n’roll music that is able to translate to an energized adventure filled with dazzling colors and spectacle. Hemsworth once again is all-in as Thor and as jacked as ever commanding the lead. So, there are long stretches of engaging cinema.
But not so much of an engaging story because to me it was a bit of a mess. Everything I just mentioned certainly works in Love and Thunder’s favor. But when the love does kick in the pace and the mood quickly drops out from under all the prebuilt vigor. From there the progression ping pongs between love and thunder and each time comes a drastic tonal shift. Not so much delivering an emotional roller coaster of pleasurable melodrama. As much as it felt like a messy plotline lacking focus as it wants the viewer to feel the emotional weight of dramatically intense moments, only to follow the scene with a low hanging joke that hopes to appeal to such a broad range of ages they feel lazy. Clever for the most part, but too simplistic nonetheless for dramatic scenes cut in between them.
Yet there’s still so much to enjoy. The cast is fantastic once again. Portman was excellent in her return. Thompson continues to develop Valkyrie and once again she’s a bad ass in the role. And Christian Bale is haunting as Gorr the God Butcher despite the film letting his performance down. It’s a buffet of stunning visuals and immersive action that does pass the time. And I won’t say some of the emotional elements of the plot do land effectively to create some endearingly heartfelt connections. It just felt like Waititi tried to do a little too much, and where in Ragnarok it all felt sincere, Love and Thunder is a bit too self-aware and possibly too self-assured for its own good.
Final Verdict: Thor: Love and Thunder is without a doubt a theater watch. It’s loaded with charisma and when the thunder is cruising at full speed this movie serves up fantastic sequences of comic book fun. However, when the love enters the room, the mood drops like someone’s mom showing up to a party and while it isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, it is a noticeable hindrance to the fun spirited intentions of it all.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.