"Thor: Love and Thunder," Just Another Marvel Movie
Updated: Jul 8, 2022
Tomorrow is July 8th, the day that millions of Marvel fans have been eagerly awaiting because it's the official release date of Thor: Love and Thunder. Directed by the beloved, Taika Waititi, the latest installment in Marvel's catalogue has been so highly anticipated because it marks the return of Chris Hemsworth as Thor and the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, now "The Mighty Thor." As a movie theater employee, I was lucky enough to get an early look at the movie, and was able to form my thoughts on it at 3am in a nearly empty auditorium.
On the surface, Thor: Love and Thunder is a technicolor adventure, with a star-studded cast and a soundtrack loaded with the classic rock of AC/DC and Guns N' Roses. It is a shameless blockbuster through and through. All the lighthearted comedy that's become a staple of Marvel movies. If you loved Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, there's a strong chance you'll like this one too. Overall, Love and Thunder is an average Marvel movie, the kind of thing you'd come to expect from the studio...but is that enough anymore?
First of all, there are a lot of things this movie does right, namely, the performances. Chris Hemsworth is kind of a non-actor, but he's perfect for this role. Natalie Portman does a great job, and so does Tessa Thompson, but the real standout here is Christian Bale as the newest addition to the MCU, Gorr The God Butcher. Bale's acting is fantastic but the writing is also a standout, Gorr has an origin story that's relatable, and it's not hard at all to empathize with him. Gorr spent his entire life, worshiping a god, who never appreciated his devotion. After the death of his young daughter, Gorr comes into possession of the Necrosword, a weapon capable of killing gods. Hence his name, Gorr vows to kill every god in existence to avenge his daughter's death. It's a struggle a lot of people can relate to, maybe not seeking revenge with a magical sword but questioning one's faith and turning cynical from that, feeling like all hope is lost, leading to destructive behaviors. By the time the credits roll, Gorr gets some much-needed closure and meets a satisfying end, so I doubt he'll be in another movie however, I would absolutely love to get see more of him. He's easily the best part of this movie.
Normally, I would complain about a movie "missing something" however, that doesn't seem to be an issue with Thor: Love and Thunder, but that's where the problem lies. Everything about this movie feels so predictable. It doesn't take away or add-on to anything we already knew about Marvel. In a way, this movie is a prime example of why so many people find themselves catching "superhero fatigue." Everything in this movie is...fine. But we should be expecting more than just fine from a studio as enormous as Marvel/Disney. The comedy as always is safe and maybe worthy of an exhale out of your nose but nothing you'll be able to quote once you leave the theater, the way Marvel has always done it.
Where the writing shines through with Gorr The God Butcher, it lacks in terms of story. The conflict in Love and Thunder isn't some sort of inter-dimensional collapse or the end of the world, it's saving about a dozen kids from Gorr, which isn't nearly as compelling as some of the other storylines we've gotten from Marvel over the years. Despite the conflict not being memorable, what does stand out is the story of Jane, "The Mighty Thor." Giving Jane Foster a struggle as universal as stage four cancer not only gave her a powerful ending but also emphasized just how human she is compared to Thor, and how powerless he can be despite being a literal god. I just wish that same attention to the storyline was also applied to the visuals because wow, is this movie inconsistent.
Marvel has become a studio that is renowned for their visual effects. Movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Endgame were triumphs in terms of visuals. However, that was back when the studio was releasing about one project a year, and when you pretty much triple your annual output of content. things are bound to take a dip in quality. We saw this in Black Widow and we're unfortunately seeing it here. First of all, there are various parts in this movie that look absolutely gorgeous, and the design is impeccable, especially for the Omnipotent City. However there are also parts that look downright terrible, and if you take a look on Twitter you'll see exactly which ones I'm talking about. Whether it's the lighting not matching up or the green screen being obvious, there's just no way a studio with this much money and resources should be making those mistakes. I'm not oblivious to the fact that this movie is a solid 90% green screen, that's to be expected at this point, but it's still disappointing that practical effects and traditional filmmaking seem to be fading away into the past. I can't help but fear that soon, the only movies hitting theaters will be multi-million dollar blockbusters, and smaller films will be left in the dust. Love and Thunder might be about gods, but I just wish Marvel movies felt more...human.
Overall, Thor: Love and Thunder is an average, run-of-the-mill Marvel movie. In a word, it's fine. But we should be expecting more from this studio, from the content we consume. When you have all the money, resources, technology, and talent of Marvel studios, you shouldn't be making movies as forgettable as this. You're probably still going to see Thor regardless of what you hear about it because of how ingrained it's become in our culture, and you'll want to be up to date on the MCU. I can absolutely understand why people would enjoy this movie, and I'm not expecting most viewers to have the same opinion as me, but that's just my two cents. Make sure to support your local movie theater, Taika, I'll still be waiting to see what you do next.