This review is spoiler-free.
For me, the success of any movie is the feeling I have when leaving the cinema – in the case of Thor: Love and Thunder it was a feeling of pure joy and big smiles!
Without spoiling the plot, they do pull from a specific and popular Thor comic with Jane Foster aka Mighty Thor at the centre of it all. If you know what comic run that is, you’ll know what to expect and this movie does have a few trigger moments that could really do a number on audience members. While there are plenty of gags and action throughout the movie when the emotional elements appear they can really knock you for six. There are some incredibly powerful moments and messaging in this movie, concerning one topic in particular. And I think anyone affected by this topic will find both sadness and comfort in this plot. As for the overall story, it’s a nice self-contained adventure with the Thor miniverse at the centre. I think the problem with some MCU fans is they are always looking for the next setup, the next thing, and by doing this they miss out on the story in the here and now. The story doesn’t always have to be about the wider MCU.
In terms of the cast, it was great to have Natalie Portman (Dr Jane Foster/Mighty Thor) back and in such a different role from how we’ve seen her in the past. Her chemistry with Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is just as strong as it’s ever been, and Hemsworth was once again exceptionally funny and a great leading character to carry the movie. Taika Waititi (Korg) and Tessa Thompson (King Valkyrie) were much more involved than they were in Thor: Ragnarok, which was very pleasing indeed as they really added to the movie in a positive way. When it comes to the new faces, Russell Crowe (Zeus) clearly had a lot of fun in this role and his larger-than-life performance was a great addition to the story. Then we have Christian Bale (Gorr the God Butcher) … so let’s talk about Gorr!
Bale was simply incredible and not only was he one of my favourite aspects of the movie, but he’s also one of the best MCU villains to date! Was he underused? Absolutely! Did he command your focus every time he was on screen? Hell-yes, he did! He was creepy and menacing, but there were elements of humour in his performance as well, which I think made the character even more unsettling. Villains are at their strongest when you can relate to elements of their backstory or mindset, and I think this is perfectly executed with Gorr.
My two biggest complaints with Thor: Love and Thunder are things that 99.9% of the audience won’t care about and both occur in such a small space of time. There is a joke regarding some Thor legacy characters and a cameo appearance from an actor I refuse to engage with – if they are in a film, I’m out! So, they did well to sneak them in here! As for the legacy characters bit, I took issue with the same thing in Thor: Ragnarok, and it did genuinely irk me. So, in some ways, I feel Taika is personally coming for me! It’s a good job he’s so talented and handsome, I’ll let it slide!
There is also one scene, in particular, involving the Asgardian children, that I think will split the audience in terms of loving and hating it. Personally, I loved it! But I think some could find it less enjoyable and maybe a comedic moment too far – in a film that is already heavily stacked in regard to the amount of tomfoolery on the go!
Speaking of tomfoolery, I know there are some who don’t like the way Thor has become a comedy character, and while I’ll argue that humour has always been present in every Thor movie, I do appreciate that with Taika turning things up to eleven, it can be grating at times, or some jokes might run a little too long. I do think some of the gags run a little too long, but they then become funny again, you just have to push through the middle part. It’s a style that’s not for everyone, but it works for me!
Thor: Love and Thunder is a hilarious, yet tragic, space Viking love story set to a killer soundtrack and is jam-packed with incredible performances and a stunning cosmic colour palette and visuals.