Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder - Movie Review


The Movie: Thor: Love and Thunder

The Director: Taika Waititi

The Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Jaimie Alexander, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, Natalie Portman

The Story: Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.


The Review:
I'm starting to think that Taika Waititi just isn't a director that I can connect with based on the style and tone of his films. The director excels in slapstick comedy and over the top antics and he has done everything he can to inject that aesthetic into his Thor movies which for me, takes them a little too far out of the context of the franchise as a whole. That really is the main issue I have both with this film and his previous effort Thor: Ragnarok, it's just hard to fit that goofy, silly nature of the movies into a cinemtatic universe that normally takes itself at least a bit more seriously.

If this movie, along with Ragnarok, existed on their own and outside of the MCU, I would enjoy the campy, 80's sci-fi nature of them much more than I do with them being parts of that greater whole. There are major callbacks in tone and style to movies like Flash Gordon and also to the psychadelically colorful Kirby era comic books and a lot of it is really fun. Another problem I run into with this movie is that the cheesiness and campiness is wearing a bit thin, again if you factor in pairing it up with Ragnarok which I think is unavoidable because they are so simliar and the whole thing becomes almost a parody of itself which is really not a good thing in this case.

At the forefront of the movie of course is Chris Hemsworth and he unfortunately continues his crusade to prove how funny he can be when he really doesn't need to. The first Thor movie, brilliantly directed by Kenneth Brannagh, totally understood the subtleties of injecting naturally occuring humor into a character that could easily go off the rails if not treated carefully. Well, here we are witnessing Hemsworth and Waititi completely ignore the rails and tracks that had been laid down for years throughout all the previous MCU movies. With the creative team more concerned with pie in the face and banana peel style humor, it's hard to take the God of Thunder seriously when the actual story needs to be told or when he is facing off against the bad guys.

Speaking of bad guys, Christian Bale steps in and delivers one of the best villains the MCU has seen to date and I have to say that those efforts are completely wasted in a movie that could care less about the character or the performance. Gorr the God Butcher, just like Hera before him in Ragnarok, could have been a deliciously evil and menacing for on par with Loki, who is completely absent from this movie by the way, but as I mentioned, there's no time for that kind of stuff because it's much more important to be silly and goofy, or whatever.

Also on board of course is Natalie Portman who is brought back as Jane Foster and sort of squeezed into the movie taking over the mantle of Thor which that whole story line needed so much more time to develop and breath, the opportunity for something really special also gets totally lost. Toss in a wasted effort from Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and the entire roster of the Guardians of the Galaxy with nothing more than a throwaway cameo appearance in the film's opening sequence and the whole movie ends up feeling like a wasted opportunity. I expect a lot more from the MCU than what we get with this movie and I hope some course correction can be made as the multiverse continues to expand.

I'm not even going to talk about Russell Crowe as Zeus. By the time he comes around with his goofy accent, I was just struggling to try and enjoy whatever bits and pieces I could find. The Thor character,the supporting cast of characters, and the franchise as a whole deserves so much better than what we get with this movie. Was it a fun movie to watch? To a certain extent yes and there will be a decent segment of movie goers that will enjoy the action and antics but at this point I expect a lot more from the MCU. There are no stakes, no danger, and nothing really to hold your attention for more than the length of the next joke.

Final thought: The goats. Toothgrinder and Toothgnasher are based on Tanngnj├│str and Tanngrisnir from Norse mythology and they are easily my favorite thing about the entire movie. That's all I'm going to say.


The Verdict:
Thor: Love and Thunder is more parody than comedy and it tries to do way too much with way too many characters while not taking any of it seriously. One of the best villains in the MCU is wasted on a movie that spends more time trying to force laughs than creating any real sense of danger or tension. This is the type of movie where you just kick back, shut your brain off, and dive into that big bucket of popcorn.





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