Thor: Love and Thunder left me lonely and in the rain

THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved. /

Heil og/ok sæl! Observe the flash of light in the grim gray clouds overhead. And where there is lightning, love and thunder are sure to follow — Thor: Love and Thunder, in this case. The latest Marvel movie lands in theaters today, and though I be but a lowly mortal, perhaps my words might have some small influence over the wave of Marvel fans who has become as faithful as the tide, bound to its lunar master.

I’d make a Poseidon joke or something now, but he’s not in this movie. So let’s stop mixing our metaphors and stop mincing our words. Let’s really get into Thor: Love and Thunder. Beware SPOILERS ahead.

Thor: Love and Thunder review

A quick synopsis: Thor (Chris Hemsworth, that guy from Ghostbusters 2016) is enjoying his time with the Guardians of the Galaxy, breaking the Prime Directive and causing massive collateral damage to other civilizations. A distress call from a wounded God reaches him. Warned of a Godkiller named Gorr (Christian Bale) who wields an immortal-slaying sword, Thor sets out to stop this mass deicide. Alongside him is his lost love Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), now known as the Mighty Thor, since she was chosen to wield Mjölnir in Thor’s absence. Thor is also joined by King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi, who also directed), and two incredibly annoying screaming goats whose existence I blame on Waititi.

Story-wise, this is probably the weakest Marvel movie I’ve seen. In structure, I found it all incredibly linear. This is to the point that a lot of scenes may not even connect with the next one directly, but it has such an obvious direction that it almost doesn’t matter. For example, we get one scene of Thor meeting the wounded God and being told about Gorr. Thor, naturally, promises to stop him. And then, I think the very next time we see Thor, he and Korg are beaming on to New Asgard just as Gorr is attacking the town. That more or less makes sense, but there’s nothing in the first scene that indicates Thor is heading for New Asgard. All he gets in the quest, and then he just happens to arrive on New Asgard as Gorr attacks because … why? Did he have some inside info? Who knows? The script only knows that Thor must meet Gorr, and the details don’t matter. Hell, why is Gorr deciding to go after New Asgard? I know he’s the Godkiller, but why Thor specifically now? Just the next one on the to-do list, I suppose.

Another example: when Thor and his team of superfriends arrive at the counsel of the Gods, they distribute disguises among themselves. However, in the scene just before this, they’re walking about the place in plain view, chatting it up. Why is it now suddenly important to disguise themselves? I don’t think they even bother to explain why they need to at all. Why can’t Thor expose his identity to other Gods? (He exposes a lot more than just his identity, actually.)

Okay, last of these no-sense things in the script: Why were Thor and the others traveling by screaming goat rainbow carriage at one point if they could just magic teleport to any spot in the universe in an instant? Gorr separates Thor from his hammer as he and everyone else is cast back to New Asgard, and I think, Oh wow, that’s going to be a huge setback if they need to get to the center of the universe. But nope, just beam me up, Scotty. And listen, I get why. It is a lot easier to write conversations when the characters are on a boat ride and not traveling as particles, but let’s try to stay consistent.

Christian Bale slays as Gorr the God Butcher

Getting past the incongruities, the stakes just were not there for me. I don’t care about Jane Foster having cancer. I have no attachment to the character, and the scenes with her before she becomes Mighty Thor only establish the fact of her illness, without rounding her out as a character in a way that would make me sympathetic. Sorry, but you can’t just press the cancer button and grip me. The kids being kidnapped I don’t care about because I find it too obvious a MacGuffin, and kind of an unneeded one when you think about it. The villain is already killing Gods and (as we learn later in another rushed bit of exposition) plans to steal Thor’s hammer to open a gate to some wish-granter at the center of the universe, yada yada. Don’t know why Gorr couldn’t have schemed to steal it from him at New Asgard, but they had to fill the runtime somehow.

Even if the only tension in the movie was that Gorr wanted to kill the Gods, it’s not really enough because…well, screw the Gods. Yeah, just have Gorr kill them. The movie establishes pretty well that every one of them is a prick. They use and abuse their worshippers, they’re obnoxious, they’re decadent. I predict the writers foresaw that problem, and that’s why they have to get a bunch of kidnapped kids involved, because otherwise Gorr would be the hero.

One thing I’ll repeat from my general impressions is that I really liked Christian Bale’s performance as Gorr. He is the only character that really interested me, because he is the only one with a serious established backstory and motive. Thor: Love and Thunder missed a huge opportunity by not focusing on Gorr and Thor’s dynamic. Gorr is sympathetic because, like how a lot of people feel in this day and age, he has suffered due to the negligence and disregard of the powerful — in this case the Gods — and so he wants to strike back. Since Thor is a God, there was an opportunity for him to go through an internal arc. He completely destroyed an alien civilization’s palace and smiles it off at the start of the movie. Maybe there is room for him to reflect on himself and his behavior as a protector? Maybe Thor could have somehow played a more prominent role in Gorr’s backstory, giving Gorr some more direct incentive to target him specifically, rather than just ‘cause.

Well, enjoy your screaming goats. No Gorr for you.

Thor: All thunder, no love

Moving away from the story, the fights are entertaining. The movie looks nice visually, although the night scenes are a bit too dark; I couldn’t even make out exactly what Gorr’s monster minions looked like, although I guess you argue that was the point since they’re made of shadows. The CGI was, naturally, very nice; the environments didn’t look especially fake to me, although, I have to say they just flat-out gave up or didn’t care about Korg’s mouth movement matching his words. Music choice was good.

But the story…I harp on it here because that’s really the core of any film, and Thor: Love and Thunder has a pretty lame one. The only thing lamer were the jokes. The Batman made me laugh more, and that movie only had a joke every third or fourth scene. And no, random celebrity cameos aren’t jokes, as much as SNL and other latenight shows have forced us to think otherwise.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about Thor: Love and Thunder. If you’re a Marvel fan, I would ask you to consider if this one is really worth your time. From my perspective, even if you’re into this cinematic universe, this film is skippable. And if you aren’t a Marvel fan, you have even less reason to go. Overall, the movie is a standard Marvel picture, but one that’s more concerned with flashy fights and visuals than with telling an interesting story. If that’s enough for you, then by all means go see Thor: Love and Thunder. If you want the latter, might I suggest Minions: The Rise a Gru for something a bit meatier?

Grade: C

Next. House of the Dragon premiere to be shown in the biggest cinema in Europe. dark

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