Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) Review

A CLASSIC THOR ADVENTURE THAT IS

LESS LOVE AND MORE THUNDER


 

Thor, the Mighty Norse God of Thunder. A powerful godly being that has learned of the hardships of humility, independence, perseverance, and rising above it all to become a better form of his former self. Yes, the MCU’s Thor has indeed been through the ringer through his standalone superhero installments; finding the almost Shakespearean tone way back in 2011 with his first feature film (Thor) by grounding the brash and arrogant God on Earth and learn of honor and duty as well as finding an understanding of “being worthy” of wielding Mjolnir. 2013’s Thor: The Dark World further continues the God of Thunder’s journey of self-discovery, who is torn between being a godly being fit ascend the throne of his father (Odin) as well as dealing with the return of his love, the mortal human Jane Foster, the death of his mother (Queen Frigga), and his trickster brother (Loki), who causes mayhem along with the reappearance of the lost Dark Elves. 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok saw the Mighty Thor wrestle with more troublesome problems, including the death of his father, the return of his long-lost sister (Hela), and finding purpose after the destruction of home (Asgard) as well as losing his Mjolnir. Even 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the epic superhero blockbuster adventure, showcases Thor’s journey on a more self-discovery path, with the Norse God down on his luck and neglecting his duties (as well as his physical physique) by feeling the weight of not preventing Thanos, the Mad Titan, from eliminating half of all life in the universe quick enough. Now, after several years being absent from the silver screen, Marvel Studios and director Taika Waititi prepare for Thor Odinson’s returns with a new adventure and a new discovery about himself to unfold with the release of Thor: Love and Thunder. Does the fourth standalone superhero installment shine bright with glorious thunder or does it fail to find its emotional connection within its own context of love and duty?

THE STORY


Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) has cleaned himself up, shedding his self-loathing body and finding renewed purpose to help others out, with his trusty weapon, Stormbreaker, in his hand, his Asgardian powers at his beckon call, along with his pal, Korg (Taika Waititi), and his partnership with the Guardians of the Galaxy. When the Guardians depart to help those in distress, Thor elects leave them, deciding to follow clues of a new threat in the form Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), a man who once believed in the higher power of the gods, only to learn of their cruelty and indifferences of mortals, inspiring a plan to exact his revenge of the godly beings across the universe while armed with the deadly Necrosword. Gorr is looking to slaughter all gods while trying to reach a place known as Eternity, a place set in the heart of universe where ones wishes will be granted. The God Butcher hatches a plan to draw Thor out, kidnapping the children of New Asgard to tempt the welder of Stormbreaker to open the pathway to Eternity. However, the hero isn’t easily defeated, joined by King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a recent gift of magical goats, and…surprisingly…. The Mighty Thor, with ex-girlfriend, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) trying to prevent the spread of hidden illness by claiming Mjolnir’s powers, transforming the young woman into a formidable warrior. Armed with purpose and allies by his side, Thor begins his adventure to seek Gorr out and thwart his plan, but learns of love in the process; finding his reconnection with Jane to be complicated and stirring up old feelings in the Norse god.

THE GOOD / THE BAD


As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Marvel (or rather the Marvel Cinematic Universe), enjoying each new entry within its ever-growing cinematic universe of superheroes, villains, monsters, and magic. Additionally, with my love for fantasy and mythology, the attraction to the Thor movies was indeed a palpable and alluring to me. This was also further made more prevalent as Thor movies took the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the more fantasy / cosmic level (an unknown territory at the time), which was then followed by 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and even (by extension) 2016’s Doctor Strange and 2019’s Captain Marvel. So, this blending sci-fi fantasy / mythology help make the Thor films a staple in the MCU and an intriguing one at that. Personally, I liked both Thor movies, which had all the right elements (action, mythos, drama, fantasy, and superhero aesthetics) to make the adventures of the Asgardian God of Thunder a wondrous tale. In truth, Chris Hemsworth, a relative unknown actor at the time, was able to pull off the role of Thor beautifully (both embodying the character physically and in dramatic poise) as well as actor Tom Hiddleston, who play’s Thor mischievous brother Loki. Of course, tying back into the opening paragraph, the idea of Thor being so multi-faceted on his own personal journey of self-discovery and ones own identity has him become the more relatable and (almost) human superhero of the entire MCU hero roster. Themes of doubt, worthiness, love, honor, belief, self-worth, and perseverance have been instrumental in Thor’s character evolution, which makes the godly being far more interesting than other superheroes of this shared cinematic universe. So, regardless if his own standalone movies or in the “team-up” Avengers style blockbusters, the character of Thor Odinson has delve into some great character development and has changed / grown from each installment that he has appeared…. which makes for a wonderful character to follow.

Naturally, this brings me back to talking about Thor: Love and Thunder, a 2022 superhero fantasy adventure and the fourth standalone Thor feature film. Given the amount of success that Thor: Ragnarok had received, with its new tone direction and more lightheartedness, the idea of creating a fourth adventure for the God of Thunder was almost a forgone conclusion. This, along with how Avengers: Endgame ended, it would seem that Marvel Studios wasn’t finished the Norse God anytime soon, with new film titled Thor: Love and Thunder was announced with the upcoming MCU Phase IV saga releases and set to be theatrical released in 2022. Many began to speculate on what the next Thor film would be about. Will the Guardians of the Galaxy appear in the movie? Will Valkyrie be in it? Would it be more of lighthearted like Ragnarok? Some of these questions were answered, with Ragnarok director Taika Waititi returning to helm the new movie, who promised to keep the new project to be similar to what the 2017 film was. This, of course, meant that Marvel Studios is keeping Thor (the character himself and the story the unfolds throughout his new adventures) was going to be “new direction” for a more comedy-driven and visual entertainment, which counterbalances the more gravitas and dramatic endeavors of the first two Thor entries. Nevertheless, I was very interested to see what Love and Thunder was going to produce for Thor Odinson to encounter, especially with several new tidbits being introduced, including actress Natalie Portman returning to reprise her MCU character of Jane Foster as well as actor Christian Bale being set to play the film’s villain Gorr the God Butcher. Even the film’s movie trailers promised a very “exciting” and colorful adventure; boasting the same type of comical energy that Ragnarok had and bring a new adventure in Thor’s journey in the MCU. Naturally, I was quite excited to see this movie, especially since it was going to be a new Thor flick, the only MCU superhero character to receive a fourth standalone feature endeavor. So, I did see Thor: Love and Thunder during it’s opening day on July 8th, 2022 and gave myself a few days after to fully digest what I saw and what my review was going to be about. And what did I think of it? Well, I liked it, but was slightly disappointed with it. To be sure, Thor: Love and Thunder has plenty to like thanks to its colorful visuals, comedy action, and great chemistry between its cast, yet falters with villain, excessive comedy angst, and a few shallow moments. The movie isn’t as bad as some are making it out to be, for it does have plenty of MCU entertainment, but it’s not quite as impactful or thoroughly palpable as the feature’s anticipation and hype were making it out to be. It’s just an okay movie (neither really bad nor really good).

Thor: Love and Thunder is directed by Taika Waititi, whose previous directorial works includes Thor: Ragnarok as well as Jojo Rabbit and Hunt for the Wilderpoeple. Given his background of having comedic-timing within its narrative as well as his familiarity with the character of Thor Odinson from his work on Ragnarok, Waititi seems like a very suitable choice in helm this latest superhero project. In truth, Waititi’s approach to Love and Thunder is pretty much the same as he did with Ragnarok, but magnifying it slightly to encompass the entire film with a more lighthearted and comedy aesthetics that harmonizes with the color visual nuances of backdrop settings and CGI effects. The result mostly works and, while I do have a few problems with the movie itself (more on that below), I think that it’s a step in the direction….to a certain degree. Given the sometimes overall seriousness that the MCU throws at its viewers (from either emotional drama or intense character development), it’s nice for the charming and lighthearted cinematic adventure to come in the form of Thor Odinson; watching the Norse god play around with a lot of humor and heart in his latest journey of self-discovery and saving the world. In this regard, Waititi definitely succeeds by interjecting plenty of fun and amusement in the movie’s proceedings, which (naturally) is the director’s style, but this proves to be an entertaining venue for the character of Thor to play around in. Another interesting point that Waititi makes is the overall premise feeling that Love and Thunder is made out to be. How so? Well, the movie is an unapologetic romantic comedy feeling, with Thor and Jane Foster playing up the awkward reunion angst of trying to work around their past feelings / emotions as well as reconnecting with each other. It’s goofy, a bit adorable, and lighthearted in its undertaking.

Plus, the comedy angle in several parts is hilarious, including a pair of screaming magical goats, another rendition play of Ragnarok from the Asgardian theatrical troupe, and the humorous relationship bond that Thor has with both Mjolnir and Stormbreaker, which manifest itself in a love / jealous feeling. Of course, Waititi offers plenty of action and visual moments throughout the movie, which helps counterbalance the romantic comedy aspects as well as few more gravitas ones. This, of course, brings up the MCU trademark of blending humor, heart, and superhero action together, which is almost customary now for a film like this, but Waititi dances to the beat of his drum and makes Love and Thunder have its own flair and almost feels like an 80s action-fantasy movie; filled with romance, adventure, and large-than-life characters as well as vibrant feeling of colors and surreal experiences. In the end, while not exactly a perfect superhero movie, Waititi does make his mark once again on the MCU, with Love and Thunder offering up fun and entertaining fantasy-esque fee/ sci-fi tale of love and self-discovery that (as the movie calls it) a classic Thor adventure.

As for the story, Love and Thunder deals with some pretty strong themes and, while are not crystal clear and brought to the forefront as other MCU installments, it’s still quite palpable and has a few ideas and commentary themes that are worth exploring. Perhaps the most prevalent one is the common thread that has been in every Thor movie, which deals with a main character struggling with his own personal identity…. whether by standards of who they are or projecting themselves onto others. This, of course, sums up the character of Thor Odinson, who’s been conflicted and who he is and what is his purpose in life. It’s definitely a great theme to explore and Love and Thunder further examines the self-discovery message in an interesting way. There is also themes of finality of life and making the most of the time one has left, which can be easily reflected onto several character in the film. Additionally, the film’s story presents the ideal of higher beings (i.e. Gods) being rather indifferent to mortals and almost cruel, which is something that has been explored in various myths and legends around the world and throughout history. The depiction of such beings brings up a strong representation in Gorr’s backstory, which is the reasoning behind his madness of vengeance against the injustice that the gods in the universe. There are a few other ones in the film, but these are the major ones that I came across while watching Love and Thunder.

In its presentation, Love and Thunder is a visually stunning superhero movie that plays to its strength for its colorful and vibrant aesthetics. Like the previous Thor feature, this movie finds a nice rhythm in its color palette, with such bright and lush nuances that “pop” as well finding the classic 80s style fantasy-esque bravado, with larger-than-life characters, several settings (with several new locations), and stylized action. Thus, the film’s “behind the scenes” main players, including Nigel Phelps (production designs), Katie Sharrock (set decorations), Mayes C. Rubeo (costume designs), the entire hair / make-up members, and the whole art direction department, should be commended for their efforts in making Love and Thunder’s background aesthetics come alive. Plus, the film’s visual effects are also great in the movie. Yes, there are a few parts where there was way too much CGI looking generated pieces, but I’ve become accustomed to the typical CGI layered MCU effects, so it doesn’t bother me as much as some moviegoers will. Yet, the CGI visuals definitely help bring Thor’s adventure in Love and Thunder to life with fun and exciting ways. In addition, the film’s cinematography work by Barry Baz Idoine is terrific in the movie, with plenty of eye-popping moments that blend well together in and out the various scenes. This particular moments add plenty of cinematic dramatics, which is especially noticeable when Thor and company travels to the Shadow Realm, which mutes the colors and having contrasts to the stark black and white coloring. Loved it! Also, the film’s score, which was composed by Michael Giacchino and Nami Melumad, is great and has plenty of bombastic moments that really “drive” several big and / or poignant sequences the right way. Perhaps the only downside to the score is that neither Giacchino or Melumad reuse (or repurpose) several of the Thor themes from the previous installments, which Ragnarök’s score was able to do. All in all, the musical composition in the movie was solid. Lastly, the film’s soundtrack boasts plenty o0sf fun musical numbers throughout the entire film, with Love and Thunder having more of a late 80s rock Guns N’ Roses feeling throughout its soundtrack. It’s a bit more than Ragnarok utilized, with Waititi taking more cues from Guardians of the Galaxy, but it’s still fun to hear throughout the sequel.

Unfortunately, there are a few problems that hold Love and Thunder back from what has come before (mostly in comparison to Ragnarok) and creates several points of criticisms along the way. How so? Well, for starters, this particular Thor adventure tries a little bit too hard to try to be like Ragnarok. What do I mean? The movie itself has Waititi’s stamp all over it and, while that can be a good thing, especially after how well-received Ragnarok was, it sort of becomes it own problem throughout the entire endeavor. To be more specific, Waititi tries a bit “too hard” to make Love and Thunder overtake the silliness and comedy angle of Ragnarok. This results in the movie sort of “pushing envelope” for comedic levity in almost every scenes, which sort of diminishes some of the big / more dramatic moments that are presented in the feature. It’s because of this that the movie struggles, with Waititi laying on the silliness and romantic comedy premise a bit too much, which causes Love and Thunder to be a little bit lopsided. In addition to this, Love and Thunder’s has an inconsistency in its tone, with the feature become unbalanced with several darker moments (mostly with the character of Gorr) and then switching back to the comedy angle. The marriage worked in the two Guardians of the Galaxy and even a little bit in Ragnarok (to a certain degree), but this particular film can’t strike a balance between dramatic gravitas and comical levity.

Speaking of comedy, while I do like Waititi’s style of comedy in many of his projects (including the one found in this movie), Love and Thunder seems a little bit excessive at times and can’t take itself seriously. This is especially noticeable during the film’s middle portion when “Team Thor” travel to Omnipotent City, which offers more goofiness than plot points. Again, I do understand why Waititi is trying to do this, especially after the praise he did with the previous Thor feature, but it becomes too much at times and (again) struggles to find perfect medium when action, comedy, and drama. In addition, the story elements in Love and Thunder becomes a bit muddy at times, with a rushed explanation in the first act and having a bit of little limp conclusion. Don’t get me wrong, the film’s ending is what I would expect (and was satisfied), but I felt that the actual “final battle” scene was a tad underwhelming and that I was expecting more, especially since Gorr was more of a sinister villain. As for the pacing, Love and Thunder is rushed in the beginning portion of the film and is a little bit of haphazard in how it juggles certain things in the first act. This includes the scenes with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor parting ways, the reintroduction of Jane Foster, the explanation of Jane’s gifted power to wield Mjolnir, and few other parts. It all could worked…. even managed properly, but Waititi rushes these moments and render’s the first act disjointed. Furthermore, Love and Thunder is quite busy, with so many different narrative threads that are interwoven and with not enough time to explore them all…. given the feature’s lean runtime.

In conjunction with this movie (along with the rest of the MCU’s Phase IV saga endeavors), this particular superhero cinematic shared universe needs to have a better goal to drive all these movies (and TV series) to a focused point. What do I mean? Well, the first three Phase MCU sagas had their own individual origins and narratives to follow, yet all were still connected to the larger overarching story plot of Thanos and the Infinity Stones; a culmination that was reached in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in a satisfying stride and send-off. So, while each installment (be it superhero team up or standalone feature) had a larger “eye on the prize” and feeling connected to the universe that these films are set in. The Phase IV saga entries have been mismatched and very little connected to one another. Granted, each one has their own personal stories and narratives to follow, yet all of them have become increasingly ambitious and experimental. If one looks at most they are that…..with Black Widow (a character prequel), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (an Asian fantasy), Eternals (a large group of superheroes that span the entire breath of human history), Spider-Man: No Way Home (a big multi-verse Spider-Man crossover), Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (a multiverse crossover with a splash horror), and now Thor: Love and Thunder (a lighthearted romantic comedy superhero flick) and those are just the theatrical motion pictures, with the TV series being experimental as well. So, with all of these ambitious projects going off on their own directions and separates path, the big question remains…..where is it all heading towards? The Phase IV saga of the MCU just feels aimless and they (Marvel) need to home in the narrative aspects to make for an overarching plot. Heck, look at all the “big bad” in the Phase IV saga timeline, including the TWA and the merging of connected timelines, the Celestials who are creators / overseers of life in the universe, dark Chaos magic that someone like Scarlett Witch could wield, and now the vast pantheon of Gods that dwell in Omnipotent City. Again, I do understand that the movies have their own personal standalone narrative plots to follow and villains to thwart, but the MCU is getting way too crowded and too many “powerful” beings that hold dominion over too much in the shared universe. To wrap this up…. the Phase IV saga needs to find a larger purpose / goal to tie everything (the movies and TV series) together, with its heroes and villains building to focal point that equal to the Infinity Saga. Maybe that’s just my personal opinion, but that’s how I feel at this point with the MCU.

One of the great strengths that made Ragnarok so highly praise was in the film’s cast and how they all interacted (screen chemistry) with each other. Waititi utilizes the notion in Love and Thunder, with many of the acting talents selected in the movie providing plenty of larger-than-life personas that are befitting a Thor movie. Of course, leading the charge in this endeavor is actor Chris Hemsworth, who returns to reprise his MCU character role of Thor Odinson. While he’s appeared in several other films such as Extraction, 12 Strong, and Snow White and the Huntsman, Hemsworth has certain made a name for himself in mainstream Hollywood by playing the character of Thor for roughly the past decade. As mentioned above, the character (and his movies) have gone on quite journey, with the character being transformed in “finding himself” in his own identity as well as the feature films themselves; adapting into something different from how he (Thor) was presented in 2011’s Thor. All this time, Hemsworth has played the part and played it quite well by showcasing the loveable (and almost endearing) naivety that the God of Thunder has as well as providing plenty of masculine bravado for the action scenes. Similar to what was presented in Ragnarok, Hemsworth has the ability (and the time) to showcase his comedy side in Thor, with Love and Thunder being a vehicle to do so. Hemsworth is definitely up for the challenge and makes the whole endeavor that much more enjoyable and fun; finding the actor excited and humorous take on the character to be enthusiastically fun. As stated above, I think that the excessive comedy does get a bit too much and sort of diminishes the overall “mightiness” that the character of Thor, especially what he used to be, but Hemsworth still embraces a delightful charm in the role and makes Thor’s journey of self-discovery, which I still liked the most of this new direction for the character, that much more grafting and rewarding. Overall, Hemsworth is still great as Thor…. for better or worse in the process of transformation the mighty God of Thunder into something more comical superhero god.

One of the biggest surprise when Love and Thunder was announced was seeing the character of Jane Foster returning as the new “Mighty Thor” mantle centerpiece, with actress Natalie Portman returning to the MCU to play the character once again. Known for her roles in V for Vendetta, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and The Black Swan, Portman has been around for quite some time, yet her work speaks for herself; finding the actresses talent to palpable to the features that partakes in. Thus, to see her in a Marvel is indeed a welcome sight to behold, especially since she hasn’t been in one for quite a few years…since 2013’s Thor: Dark World (well, minus the few recycled snippets from Avengers: Endgame). Thus, Portman is up to the task to return to the MCU as Jane Foster and she finally gets her “big moment” more so than just being a “damsel in distress” love interest character in the first two Thor movies. In Love and Thunder, Jane gets to active participate more in the story’s action scenes and gives enough context to her character to make her feel valued along with fleshing out the character more so than what was presented in a few snippets of dialogue lines here and there since her last appearance in the MCU. Portman is ready and willing to prove her worth in the film (much like her character) and definitely brings an interesting new dynamic to “Team Thor”, with the God of Thunder a little bit muddlehead to make sense of his old-ex’s return as well as bring the feminine “girl power” to the proceedings with her platonic relationship with Valkyrie. There are a few moments where the clunky narrative material gets in the way for her character (mostly towards the beginning), but, in the end, the return of Jane Foster is a welcomed sight and gives the character her just do in the MCU as well as proving to be a fun catalyst in the events that make-up Love and Thunder.

Speaking of Valkyrie, actress Tessa Thompson (Creed and Men in Black: International) is back in Love and Thunder and, like Portman, she is a welcomed sight. Much like she was in Ragnarok, her involvement in the film works wonderfully and her on-screen chemistry with Hemsworth is just as solid as ever; finding the pair very comfortable with each other and having great dialogue banter. Plus, her and Portman share some good moments together, which (again) offers Love and Thunder to have some terrific “girl power” scenes. I did think that her story arc in the movie was a tad underwhelming, especially when she gets sidelined during a part of the movie, and I thought a few moments where the story was going to go a different direction with Valkyrie or rather “King Valkyrie”. Nevertheless, Thompson is still a fun and charismatic as the character and is still fun supporting character in both this feature as well as in the MCU. Also, I forgot to mention that Waititi steps back into the front camera by reprising his Ragnarok character of Korg, a lumbering (yet friendly) Kronan gladiator who befriends Thor. Like in the previous film (as well as in his small appearance in Avengers: Endgame), Korg is an absolute riot in the film and Waititi’s impromptu work on the character is a true blast. Almost every dialogue line or seeing that he’s in I died laughing. Probably one of the best sidekick characters in the Thor movies.

Of the villains, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has its fair share of antagonist “baddie” characters that have had mixed results throughout their endeavors, with most (if not all) being played by great acting talents, yet suffering from weak characterization or underutilized to their fullest extent in the movie. Sadly, the mantra is carried over into Love and Thunder, with the representation of Gorr, the God Butcher, who is made by actor Christian Bale. First and foremost, I will say that I actually really liked Gorr as a character in the film. He was visually interesting and had a quite a cinematic villain to behold. Plus, Bale, who is known for his roles in The Dark Knight trilogy, Vice, and Ford v Ferrari, was fully invested in the character role from onset to conclusion. Much like Ragnarok main villain Hela, who was played by actress Cate Blanchett, Bale chews through his dialogue with effortless easy and genuine sincerity within his villainy; playing up the maniac (almost madness) that has consumed the character in a way that is wonderfully great. Every scene that Bale is in from his mannerisms to facial expression, it all works. So what’s the problem? Well, the problem is that the character of Gorr doesn’t always get put “front and center” for large chunks of Love and Thunder’s runtime, which (again) is quite lean to begin with, and struggles to find a somewhat niche within several moments of the feature’s narrative context. Plus, as I stated above, Gorr’s darker tone doesn’t exactly jive with the more lighthearted feeling that the movie wants to project; creating that inconsistent feeling. Maybe this would’ve work in the first two Thor movies, which had a more gravitas and serious tone, but not something like Ragnarok or Love and Thunder. Thus, Gorr just feels out of place in the film and feels underwhelming, which is disappointing because Bale does a terrific job in the role. I wish that he wasn’t pushed to the background as much and could’ve possibly fit better into the movie’s overall tone.

Behind Bale’s Gorr, the other supporting new character in the film that makes appearance in Love and Thunder is the character of Zeus, the divine “king of the gods” of the Olympians and the oldest and most powerful of the gods in the MCU. To me, the character is kind of a mixed bag. I did like how he somehow fit into the movie and (as mentioned earlier) fits into the main narrative thread that the gods are kind of different to mortals; believing that they are play things to be discard and not really showing compassion to them. So, I think that the writers nailed that part down. And yet, I feel that the character is played up for laughs and doesn’t really have that “menacing” feeling as what was intended in a few parts. In addition, actor Russell Crowe (Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind) kind of works, but doesn’t. Yes, he plays up the “over pompous” and decadent bravado one might find the classic depiction of a Greek God, yet it’s a bit silly and too goofy. So, I’m kind of torn about the appearance of Zeus in the movie.

As a minor complaint, because I have no idea where to put this in the cast, is the film’s inclusion of Lady Sif, who hasn’t appeared in a Thor movie since The Dark World and who is once again played actress Jamie Alexander (Thor and Blindspot). The problem is that her involvement in Love and Thunder is quite minimal and almost feels like an afterthought. Then again…. Waititi did depose the other Thor side characters (aka the Warrior three) rather quickly in Ragnarok, so seeing Alexander’s Sif being reduced to a throwaway role in the film is no big shock. Yet, I was disappointed slightly.

Of course, given the ending of Avengers: Endgame and in Love and Thunder’s promo marketing, the movie does feature the Guardians of the Galaxy characters and I absolutely loved it, for it was great to see Star-Lord and his cosmic band of misfits fighting alongside the God of Thunder. Perhaps the big downside is their overall involvement in Love and Thunder, which is kept as a minimal and don’t play a major part in the bulk of the narrative. So, those expecting to see the “Asgardians of the Galaxy” mantra carried in the movie will be disappointed. Heck, I would’ve love to see that movie more so than Love and Thunder. Nevertheless, for their involvement, the Guardians of the Galaxy cast, including actor Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation and Jurassic World) as Peter Quill / Star-Lord, former wrestler / actor Dave Bautista (Dune and Army of the Dead) as Drax the Destroyer, actress Karen Gillan (Doctor Who and Jumanji: The Next Level) as Nebula, actress Pom Klementieff (Oldboy and Ingrid Goes West) as Mantis, actor Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) as Kraglin, actor Bradley Cooper (The Hangover and American Sniper) as Rocket, and actor Vin Diesel (The Fast and the Furious and The Last Witch Hunter) as Groot, is indeed a welcome one to this endeavor….no matter how limited their screen-time is in the feature.

The rest of the cast, including actor Kieron L. Dyer (Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey and The Brilliant World of Tom Gates) as Heimdall’s son Axl, actress Eliza Matengu (West of Sunshine and Zombie Tidal Wave) as Axl’s mother Grace, actor Simon Russell Beale (The Outfit and Operation Finale) the god Dionysus, actor Jonny Brugh (What We Do in the Shadows and Mega Time Squad) as Rapu, actor Daley Pearson (Bluey and Team Darryl) as Darryl the Tour Guide, and actress Kate Dennings (2 Broke Girls and WandaVision) as Darcy Lewis, fill out the roles of the small minor characters throughout the movie. Most only have a few scenes here and there, but I had no problem with them. Additionally, there are a few surprise cameos in Love and Thunder that, while I won’t spoil them for you guys, were actually pretty fun to see. Just be sure to check them out.

Lastly, as customary for a superhero blockbuster MCU endeavor, Love and Thunder does feature two Easter Egg scenes during the end credits sequence, with one appearing during the mid-credit part and the other at the very end. Of course, I won’t say these scenes are (as that would spoil the fun), but one (as usual) sets up the events for the possible next installment, while the other is a nice coda send-off for the feature as a whole. Just be sure to stick around to see them both!

FINAL THOUGHTS


Kids, get some popcorn out….and let me tell you the story of the “Space Viking”, Thor Odinson” as Thor reunites with his former love, while dealing with a new enemy that is killing gods across the cosmos in the movie Thor: Love and Thunder. Director Taika Waititi’s latest film expands upon what he did with the Marvel superhero character in Ragnarök and further continues a “classic Thor adventure” that’s filled with magic, comedy, music, and clashing bravados for a more whimsical, lighthearted and visual journey. While the movie is weighed down with its rushed narrative, tonally mismanagement, an underutilized villain, and too much excessiveness of its Ragnarök angle, the film itself still manages to make for some great popcorn entertainment, thanks to several Waititi’s directions, a couple of “laugh-out-loud” moments, a great score / soundtrack, a visual fun presentation, and its solid cast. Personally, I thought this movie was okay. As I said, there is a sense of “fun” entertainment throughout the feature and, but something is lacking in the film that can’t quite be defined. It’s a little too rushed, too shallow, too tonally inconsistent, and too crowded. It’s still a MCU installment for sure …. there is no doubt about that, but leans too much into its experimental ambitions that bites off more than it can chew. Nevertheless, it was just an okay endeavor, but it’s a bit of a step-backwards from Ragnarök. Thus, my recommendation for the movie is a “recommended” as I’m sure a lot of moviegoers will rejoice in seeing Thor (at least the new direction for the character) return on the big screen, while I would say that an “iffy choice” is also suitable, with some fans / moviegoers will be put-off by the feature’s embracing its new direction. It goes without saying that the fanbase for this movie will be divided and have differences of opinions. Of course, the film’s ending leaves the door open for sequels and further narrative continuation of Thor Odinson and it will be interesting to see where the character goes. Will Marvel continue to make the “God of Thunder” a more lighthearted character or will he be reverted back to a more stoic / stand-off-ish godly being (with occasional humor) or even maybe somewhere in-between. It’s hard to say. In the end, Thor: Love and Thunder is an ambitious project that sort of works and doesn’t at the same time; offering up a new slice of “Space Viking” adventure that has plenty of blockbuster visuals and comedy cinematics, yet (unfortunately) has more thunder than love.

3.7 Out of 5 (Recommended / Iffy-Choice)

 

Released On: July 8th, 2022
Reviewed On: July 12th, 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder  is 119 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, some suggestive material, and partial nudity

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