Thor: Love & Thunder - Review
Updated: Jan 31
SPOILER WARNING - This review contains mild spoilers
I saw the first Thor movie four times in theaters.
There's a regal yet whimsical element of the character that I attached myself to and have hung on to for longer than the subsequent sequel films have. Now that's not me saying that the subsequent Thor movies are bad, but they didn't capture the same fantasy that the first one did, and thus I found them to be a bit subpar.
The Love & Thunder of It All:
Which brings us to Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth installment in this solo character series. (Iron Man is gonna be so jealous!) An overall enjoyable film that I found to be heartwarming at moments, and also unable to get out of its own way.
The story is pretty straightforward, it's time for the God of Thunder to find himself, (and on the way he finds Ruth, Gladys, Rosemary and Irving......) with the help of his GBF ("gay best friend") Korg, King Valkyrie (who is decidedly more queer-coded this time around), and his ex - Doctor Jane Foster, now known as the Mighty Thor. Also, the Guardians of the Galaxy are here, but just briefly enough for you remember that you're mad at Chris Pratt, but not long enough to go into all the reasons to dislike him.
Surrounding your main character with two powerful female characters and a sassy gay friend is usually enough for me to go all in on a film, but there was something about this group of friends that I just wasn't able to fully jive with. For me, the main issue was the banter between all of the characters feeling forced in, and a bit too silly for the tone the movie was trying to pull off. There were some really good dramatic moments that would almost immediately get upended by Korg saying something dry, or Thor being a bit of a ditz; it always took me out of the film.
Christian Bale joins the fray as Gorr the God Butcher, a heralded comic villain brought to life in what I felt was a thoroughly camp performance...and I mean that in a good way. He balanced the line between man seeking revenge and corrupted psychopath really well. His power set was visually very unique from what we've seen in the MCU, and also left me with a newfound distrust of shadows.
Truly, everyone in the film brings in a good performance, with stand outs being Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman. I have been a Portman fan (a Portfan?) since her turn in Leon: The Professional, and she truly delivers the nuanced desperation of someone with so much life ahead of them, but no time to complete it in. One scene of her in the bathroom, dropping the Mighty Thor facade and seeing the destruction happening to her body is truly harrowing, and a welcome sense of realism in the MCU. One super minor nitpick, her wig for when she is not Mighty...is not very good. I could see some lace lines, and while I was wondering if it was an intentional choice, as she was undergoing chemotherapy, they never addressed it in the film, so I'm chalking it up as a production blunder.
Taika Waititi knows how to film action and knows how to play with color. Some of the shots on the various planets and realms we visit made me clutch my proverbial pearls at the sheer beauty and magnitude on display. Taika has a very specific comedy style, that while I am a fan of, this time fell a little flat, or worked in opposition to the rest of the movie. That being said, the movie was paced really well, giving us enough time to sit in these characters' longings for change, but also making sure we weren't getting bogged down in dialogue about some pretty deep ways of processing grief and loss, and how to move on, when it finally is time to.
LGBTQ+ (Lava Gay Babies...That are Queer):
Last little bit, as this site is called Queer Reviewed, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the queerness of this movie. Two of the stories main characters are queer (Korg and Valkyrie) and while I am not one to think that a character's sexuality is all that needs to be talked about, it would've been nice to seem Valkyrie explicitly state her queerness, or have some kind of queer relationship outside of one brief hand kiss. (Especially when they touted up the idea that Valkyrie would have a queen in a lot of the early press on the film.) Kudos to the gay rock men making a lava baby though, no notes there!
If I were to rank this movie, on a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a solid 7. It is certainly entertaining, at moments heart-wrenching and frustrating. A solid addition to the Thor mythos, and another stepping stone in the MCU's phase 4, that doesn't really answer my biggest question post-Endgame: what actually comes next for the MCU?