The time has come to dive into another entry of the MCU: Phase Four. The latest is a much-awaited and anticipated one, “Thor: Love and Thunder” (2022), directed by Taika Waititi and starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Waititi, Christian Bale, and Russell Crowe. This movie reunites us with one of the original Avengers, Thor (Hemsworth), as he embarks on his latest journey to join forces with Valkyrie (Thompson), Jane Foster (Portman), and Korg (Waititi) to stop Gorr the God Butcher (Bale).
To no surprise, I was highly anticipating this movie because I was a huge fan of “Thor: Ragnarok” and was looking forward to Waititi’s brilliant usage of balancing dark topic matters and comedy. However, I’m sad to report that I’m mixed about this film. Starting with the positives and perhaps the standout of this film, Bale as Gorr the God Butcher is such an underutilized character. It feels, to some extent, that he doesn’t even belong in this movie. Bale has such a menacing, terrifying presence that he appears to be straight out of a nightmare. He is so great at inflicting fear that I turned away a couple of times and I’ve pledged to never see this film ever again. Not because it’s bad but because Bale literally terrified me. Crowe was great as Zeus as well as Thompson as Valkyrie. We finally get some chemistry between Portman and Hemsworth! I bought into their past relationship and everything they experienced afterward.
Where Zeus meets Thor takes place in a palace where apparently all the gods congregate. I had the biggest smile on my face when I noticed some Aztec and Mayan gods in attendance. Yes, representation does matter. Another aspect I was fond of was the music! Who can say no to some Guns N’ Roses? Not me! I was also delighted to watch the Guardians of the Galaxy make an appearance. A little short in my opinion, but I enjoyed it, nonetheless.
The visuals are hit or miss though. By now we know we’re heading into a heavy CG movie, but there are some scenes where it’s more noticeable than others. Although I must express my intrigue with their decision to make a whole fighting sequence in black and white. I was simultaneously confused but fully immersed. The lack of color added to the suspense, darkness, and uncertainty of where the story was headed. It was a bold approach, but it worked for me.
But here’s what didn’t work for me.
I walked into this latest Thor film expecting comedy and I received it tenth fold, but I thought it was a bit overdone. Various times, it felt goofy, and it undermined the darkness and seriousness of Gorr’s storyline. Considering the topic matters, I believe they weren’t given importance necessarily, and it prevented any emotional investment to any of the characters and their outcomes. The tone felt mixed and I’m curious to know who the targeted audience for this specific movie is. I find it a little difficult to believe that kids should give this film a watch since there are conversations about people having orgies and Gorr’s presence can be frightening. Waititi tried to balance different tones, but it didn’t quite work. Such that the entire third act feels unearned and emotionless.
Overall, “Thor: Love and Thunder” is an overly vivid and tonally uneven comedy filled with unearned moments that comes nowhere near its predecessor.