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‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Review: Taika Waititi’s Marvel Return Is a Disappointing Encore
Thor Love and Thunder appeared to be a certain slam in the dunk. Director Taika Waititi has returned to the helm following 2017’s enthralling Thor: Ragnarok, with Chris Hemsworth’s Asgardian Avenger firmly in his hilarious groove, as well as Natalie Portman making her epic return to live action Marvel Cinematic Universe after a nine-year absence.
Surprisingly enough, the 29th MCU film, which premiered at theaters on July 7, and is scheduled to release on Disney Plus and digital stores on the 4th of September. 8 it isn’t quite what you would expect. In attempting to balance comedy with drama , and weaving several classic comic stories into one narrative Thor’s fourth solo adventure is too broad and results in being a bit tinny (even down to the 2 post credits scenes).
The film will be released on 4K Blu-ray, DVD and 4K on September. 27. It will also include behind-the-scenes special features, deleted scenes, and an audio commentary by director Waititi for a more home-based watching experience.
It begins promisingly and has a brutal opening that sets up Christian Bale’s evil Gorr The God Butcher. After his desert-like homeworld takes the life of his daughter and his son, his encounter with a cruel god, a vengeful god forces Gorr to launch an army to slaughter all divine beings that exists.
This scene is intense and slow that allows Bale’s performance to breathe and allow viewers to experience his increasing anger, despair and confusion. Then, the Marvel Studios logo rolls in and the roller coaster starts. Resonance with emotion? No, you’re not receiving in this film.
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When we last were introduced to Thor in the film of the year, Avengers: Endgame Thor had joined the Guardians of the Galaxy for various space-based adventures following Thanos his defeat. However, Thor, the God of Thunder surpasses all of his new comrades and makes him appear like a video game character when the Avengers take on their foes and makes the Guardians with a look of utter ugliness.
We are treated to a vibrant visual action sequence as well as a hefty amount of super-hero collateral damage as a result of this, however Thor and his rocky allies (he’s literally made out of stones) Korg (Waititi) soon decide to go their separate ways, abandoning the Guardians storyline and basically in the process of wasting Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan and their pals before the plot is given the chance to evolve. It’s like the movie is just waiting to break out of the annoying continuity, and get back to the Asgardian tale of Thor’s solo films.
In Earth, Thor encounters his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Portman) in combat in the midst of battle Gorr is a threat to Thor’s peers Asgardians. She is wielding the hammer of her old Mjolnir after being deemed worthy in her darkest hours and is gaining the same powers as Thor’s.
With the relatable human health issues Jane is confronted with, this plot ought to be Love as well as Thunder’s heartfelt emotion. The film doesn’t have enough time for the difficulty she’s facing to take in, and it’s like it’s afraid of becoming too real and too eager to send us off to another adventure (some dramatic moments are diminished by the two post-credits sequences).
The needs for speed extends to the action scenes -The action scenes are awe-inspiring – Jane particularly uses her new abilities in incredible ways, yet neither editing nor cinematography allow us to appreciate the spectacle. It’s unlikely that many scenes from the film will embed their way into your brain in like other MCU films have done none of them reach the awe-inspiring highs that of the Captain America elevator fight, three Spider-Men fighting in combat and Scarlet Witch’s encounters with the Illuminati.
The awkwardness of Jane as well as Thor is at first quite entertaining mostly due the Portman and his charisma, as well as the chemistry they share, but it’s not developed in a way that is particularly engaging. A single-minded humorous quip concerning Thor and his latest weapon Stormbreaker makes more sense but it also gets a bit stale.
To complete the hero group are The King Valkyrie ( Tessa Thompson) She’s bored of her job as the head of the magical tourist attraction which New Asgard has become (this place also has an amazing deep-cut appearance). While the film fails to examine her frustration enough, Thompson infuses the character with enough fun that she’s enjoyable to watch. Her clothes also offer a glimpse into her fascinating life. Her Phantom of the Opera shirt is far more interesting than any superhero outfit.
One of the best scenes is the quiet dialogue with Jane and Valkyrie as it’s not often that you see the film slowing down and allowing its writers and actors space to be emotionally connected. In addition to Hemsworth’s enthralling appearance on screen and flawless comic timing, you can’t think about if this film would have been more enjoyable without Thor.
Following his unforgettable introduction the threat of Gorr is diminished. The God Butcher comic book counterpart (introduced by Jason Aaron in his popular 2013 Thor: God of Thunder series) appears to be an enormous threat when Thor is following a path of divine slaughter throughout the universe.
Love and Thunder merely alludes to this, and mostly reduces Gorr’s culpability to the kidnapping of Asgardian children as part of a larger plot. He’s not an actual threat to the heroes, which makes Gorr feel less similar to Gorr the God Bothererer.
But Bale’s performance and aesthetic choices give the character lots of spectral boogeyman spectral creepy impressions ( apparently inspired by Aphex Twin’s eerie “Come To Daddy music video). A midpoint battle with the heroes ranks as one of the MCU’s most breathtaking sequences, thanks to the clever use of shadows and colors.
The film isn’t as filled with cameos like its MCU precursor, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, however, it does include the scene-stealing Russell Crowe as a narcissistic and egocentric Zeus. The problem is that his role is mostly one glitzy scene that is largely boring as the story is a breeze.
Love and Thunder doesn’t live up to the amazing stories that have inspired it. It doesn’t delve into the style of its director or the dramatic potential of its cast and instead feels more like an unsatisfying, shallow blend. It’s still an enjoyable silly addition to the MCU collection, but it’s not the original Thor story that the hunky character seems to believe that he’s going to be in.