‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Combines Charisma, Comedy, And The Cosmos To Create Another Win For The MCU – Review
When Taika Waititi stepped onto the Marvel scene to direct the third Thor movie, I questioned how he could turn around the bleak direction of the Thor series. Thankfully, Thor: Ragnarok was the perfect answer to that question. It turned all expectations of the mythical god’s story upside down and injected it with Guardians of the Galaxy-level antics and a charisma that it previously lacked. Now, that Waititi formula for Thor: Ragnarok is back for Thor: Love and Thunder bringing out the charm, the comedy, and more action than before.
The fourth installment of the Thor series takes us to the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame to see what Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) has been up to. Galavanting with the Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t enough, as he embarks on a quest to figure out his next steps. That path leads him back to New Asgard, where King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) reigns. He seemingly runs into his old weapon, Mjolnir, but with a new and improved wielder, Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) – the Mighty Thor.
Along with Korg (Waititi), Thor, Jane, and Valkyrie must fend off a threat, Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale)—who has a vendetta against all gods—before these mighty beings of the cosmos are no more.
What made Thor: Ragnarok so much fun was the “himbofication” of Thor, the relationships established between new and old characters, a badass supervillain, the lively comedic tone, and the power rock that became soundtrack to the third film. All of these components re-enter the Thor side of the MCU and a lot of them do well within this film.
A highlight is the on-screen time, albeit briefly shared between just the two of them, that’s shared between King Valkyrie and Mighty Thor. Yes, it’s touching to see Dr. Foster and Thor reconnect and most of the trailer hints at this being one of the driving plot lines, but it’s the comradery between the two leading ladies that shines on-screen. King Valkyrie missed her sisters and gets a great one in the form of Jane.
Another highlight is the action within the film. The fight choreography is lively, visually stunning, and becomes another extension of the comedy. Speaking of visuals, the landscapes, CGI, and the fight scenes are top-tier.
And while the film is a superhero film at its heart, it’s the comedic moments that give the film its soul. But this comedy is also delivered by really likable characters, which doesn’t hurt to get the job done.
Of course, I can’t review this film without discussing the physical transformations of Valkyrie, Jane and Thor. All three have made some serious gains and their arm definition is something I can only dream of. And sure, Hemsworth’s been known for his intense weight training regimen for his MCU role, but move him aside and marvel at the arm strength of Portman and Thompson. Kudos to them for making getting buff look easy.
Aside from these actors never skipping the gym, the new queer tone to the film makes it by far the queerest of the MCU films out there. From queer character representation, dialogue on queer love and the overall queer themes Waititi has placed in this film, none of the queer influences can go unnoticed and I’m thankful for it.
However, some elements we could do without. As fun as the film is, some of the zanier moments steer it down an annoying path—like the goats (you’ll find out why). I also expected more god representation in a film that focuses on a “god butcher”, but that could just be my wishful thinking to have the Moon Knight and Black Panther worlds collide in Thor’s fourth installment. Lastly, there should be more Tessa Thompson. Maybe that’s less of a critique and more of a desire, but there’s just so much that can be done with the Valkyrie character.
But then again, this is the Thor show. And while Thor always had an ego, the third film turned him into a caricature of himself in the best way. So, an over the top superhero needs an over the top film. Thor: Love and Thunder delivers just that.