Film review – Thor: Love and Thunder

The God of thunder’s fourth outing hits screens, and, while it’s an enjoyable film, it doesn’t hold any surprises for its audience. Ironically for an MCU film, the villain, Gorr the God Butcher is the best part, aided mightily by a horror-inspired performance by Christian Bale.

Thor is arguably one of the less interesting MCU heroes, having suffered many identity crises throughout the years.

This film doesn’t so much solve that, but instead adds to it.

It claims that Thor has been pining over Jane since the big break up although this has never come through in previous films, especially in “Infinity War” and “Endgame”.

Loki is often touted as the best parts of the Thor films and with him out of the picture, it’s understandable to think that Thor might regain some of the spotlight, but instead he loses it to Jane and Gorr. 

The plot presents additional problems for the film.

Firstly, this film is very much a standalone film in the MCU, not moving the overarching plot forward or hinting at where the MCU heads next.

This isn’t inherently a problem, there’s nothing wrong with a standalone film.

Currently, the MCU itself is suffering an identity crisis, not sure where it’s going or what it’s building towards.

Marvel needs to focus on a goal, like in the previous phases.

The end of “Endgame” has Thor join the Guardians of the Galaxy, but this is undone almost immediately.

The film clearly doesn’t want to touch upon any adventures with Thor and the Guardians.

This is surprising because the humour of Guardians and Ragnarok seem like a good match.

The film is confused about where the Guardians stand within the film, before making their swift exit.

Another issue is that this film feels extremely reminiscent of “Thor: Ragnarok”.

The tone, the humour and some of the character beats are clearly repeats of the past film.

When Ragnarok was released, it felt like a fresh take for Thor, here, the same take feels stale.

This film is a poor attempt to recapture some of the magic, with more of the humour not being funny.

It would be wrong to say this film is a flop, however.

This film is much more emotionally developed than Ragnarok, with the film presenting a compelling and relatable relationship between Thor and Jane.

Anyone who has unexpectedly bumped into their ex can understand some of what Thor is going through.

Natalie Portman makes her triumphant return as The Mighty Thor, and, as well as the costume looking brilliant on her, she also turns in an emotional performance.

Marvel is often criticised for its mute aesthetics; this film doesn’t fall prey to this.

“Love and Thunder” is vibrant and colourful, from the introduction to Omnipotence City, and the rainbow road effect.

“Love and Thunder” is a feast for the eyes.

These moments are highlighted with Gorr’s aesthetics, which drain the colour with every scene he is in.

This helps to give the film a unique visual flair that separates it from the rest of the MCU offering.  

Gorr himself is another highlight of the film.

His motivations are completely understandable, with the beginning of the film showing his reasoning to kill all the gods, but it’s reinforced later on in the film.

When Thor visits Omnipotence City, the audience gains a glimpse of the luxury the gods live in, embracing hedonistic behaviour and showing a complete lack of care for anything else.

This motivation is only heightened by an excellent performance by Christian Bale.

He embraces the horror aspects of the character, giving a performance that is as terrifying as it is maniacal.

The sequences Gorr is in are scarier than any part of the recent Doctor Strange, which is surprising when it’s considered that Doctor Strange was supposed to be the horror.

Bale is easily the best part of the film, elevating all the scenes that he’s in.

Ultimately, whilst it is an enjoyable film for an audience member to switch their brain off, there is very little that makes the film stand out from the rest of the MCU canon.

Thor fails to break beyond Jane or Gorr, and the predictability of the plot and lack of surprises don’t make the film overly memorable.

Lead image: Marvel

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