Universal Pictures | June 10, 2022 | 146 Mins. | Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure
THOR: LOVE & THUNDER (2022) l Marvel/Disney | Release Date: July 8, 2022 | 119 Mins
Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.
REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus
Thor: Love and Thunder is a wildly entertaining explosion of colour, heart and humour that is the fun, action-packed summer blockbuster spectacle that will leave a massive smile on your face!
With Thor: Ragnarok, Chris Hemsworth and writer director Taika Waititi reinvented the God of Thunder, leaning into Hemsworth’s comedic abilities, while still maintaining the hallmarks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, for their followup, they double down on the laughs while Waititi is given more creative control, delivering a film that still fits within the Marvel Cinematic Universe but is a Waititi film through and through.
Known for his quirky comedy with such films as What We Do In the Shadows and Jojo Rabbit, Waititi creates a laugh filled adventure for Thor while facing off against one of the most terrifying villains we have experienced in a Marvel film to date. Not all of the comedic moments land as Waititi and Hemsworth hoped they would, but the film had me laughing from start to finish. Whether it be Thor’s new goats that are constantly screaming, Hemsworth's goofy and infectious performance as Thor, or the ongoing joke of the jealousy of Stormbreaker, this is without a doubt one of the funniest Marvel films to date. It’s another classic “Thor Adventure” that has great action sequences, with hints of a romantic comedy which was a nice flavour to see in a superhero film, and an insane amount of heart. Leave it to Waititi to have audiences laughing hysterically one scene, then causing them to cry as his film gets emotional, real and raw in the next.
The story is not without its hiccups, as it has a rough first twenty minutes or so to the film as the story brings Thor and Jane back together. But once they are reunited and are off tracking down Gorr the God Butcher with Valkyrie and Korg, it quickly becomes an entertaining ride. Also, there are some weird lulls in the film in between jokes and fight scenes, but they are momentary and the film’s under two hour run time ensures that the story keeps moving. As with Ragnarok, the film has lots of fun cameos as the Asgardian theatre troupe returns, plus tons of cameos from the cast’s children.
Hemsworth is in his prime as Thor for his eighth time in the role, revelling in Waititi’s quirky script. Oozing with charm in every scene, Hemsworth is magnetic throughout the entire film. His comedic chops are on full display as Hemsworth hams it up as the God of Thunder on this fun adventure, while also showing a vulnerable and emotional side of Thor we have yet to see at this point in the MCU.
Love and Thunder is the big return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, after sitting the third Thor film out, and Portman is phenomenal! Not only did Portman get incredibly fit for the film as she takes up the mantle of Thor, but she has wonderful comedic timing throughout the film. In the first two Thor films, Portman was the scientific voice of reason, but her role is completely transformed for this film. As the Mighty Thor, Jane is in the centre of the action and joining in the comedy with Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Waititi, and she once again proves what a talented actress she is. She is a delight from start to finish, while also carrying an incredibly emotional storyline that is guaranteed to tug on your heartstrings. Reuniting with Hemsworth, it’s like a day hasn’t passed since The Dark World. Portman and Hemsworth bring back their playful chemistry, while never hesitating to make a good joke at the other’s expense. Though by the third act, their romantic chemistry is leaping off the screen, that will once again have fans rooting for Thor and Jane.
Marvel has had many generic villains that tend to underwhelm, but Christian Bale’s Gorr is without a doubt one of the greatest villains we have seen to date in the MCU! Bale is an incredible actor, but he is completely unhinged as Gorr and delivers one of the most terrifying characters in the MCU we have ever encountered. His villain is playful that matches the comedic tone of the film, but it’s playful in a way that reminds you of The Joker or Pennywise the Dancing Clown where he could snap at any second and go on a murderous rampage. It’s this truly disturbing feeling that Bale brings to his character that sets the stakes for the film, helping to create a thrilling adventure. Thompson and Waititi reprise their roles as Valkyrie and Korg, and while they have more secondary roles as the film focuses on Thor and Jane, both of them are delightful and continue to grow these incredible characters.
Much like Ragnorak, Love and Thunder is an explosion of colour that is captured beautifully with some truly excellent shots. The production design and costume design helps build the various worlds that are explored in the film, helping round out this wild adventure. Michael Giacchino’s musical score is rock infused and provides a new wonderful musical theme for Thor, relying heavily on electric guitar to create its epic themes. Though, it is the soundtrack that adds an insane amount of energy to the film. Featuring numerous hits by Guns N’ Roses as well as notable songs from Enya, Mary J. Blige and Dio, every song elevates the film to another level. But, it’s the use of ABBA’s “Our Last Summer” as the soundtrack to Thor and Jane’s relationship and eventual breakup after the events of The Dark World that is absolute perfection
Every aspect of the film comes together perfectly under Waititi’s direction, all culminating in that incredibly beautiful and moving final scene. I don’t want to overhype it, but it’s one of the best final scenes of any Marvel film to date alongside Steve and Peggy’s Dance in Avengers: Endgame, Yondu’s Funeral in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, or Peter Quill playing Awesome Mix Vol. 2 in Guardians of the Galaxy. As much as I loved the film, it’s not for everyone. It's Waititi’s quirky style through and through that will delight fans of his work, but will be too goofy for the more casual viewer. But as someone who loves Waititi’s style and sense of humour, I absolutely loved every second of it.
After a bunch of darker, more serious entries in the MCU, Thor: Love and Thunder is the incredibly fun adventure that we need in Phase Four. Loaded with truly hilarious moments thanks to the performances of Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman bringing to life Taika Waititi’s wild vision for Thor’s latest adventure, and a truly disturbing and scene stealing Christian Bale makes Thor: Love and Thunder is not only one of the funnest Marvel projects in a while, but a truly fun summer blockbuster experience!