‘Thor: Love And Thunder Review’ A Fun Space Viking Adventure With Heart

Thor: Love And Thunder is the latest MCU film from Taika Waititi, the director of the previous God of Thunder outing, Thor: Ragnarök as well as the delightful Jojo Rabbit and What We Do In The Shadows. Waititi is also slated to direct the next Star Wars film.

Critics have not been kind to Love And Thunder despite Waititi’s popularity and I’m still trying to puzzle out why (I’ll unpack all that in a separate post on this blog later). I had a great time at the movie as did my soon-to-be 12-year-old. The audience seemed to be enjoying themselves also, with plenty of laughs and a smattering of applause at the end. (There were some audible gasps and more clapping during both the post-credits scenes).

Granted, there’s nothing big or revolutionary about the movie. This is not as epic as Spider-Man: No Way Home or as dark as Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. This is not an important superhero movie like Black Panther or Avengers: End Game. And it’s not as funny or charming as the first Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thor: Love and Thunder is, in many ways, just a goofy space adventure and romantic comedy that puts Thor (Chris Hemsworth) back alongside his old flame Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Its villain, Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) is certainly frightening and powerful, and Bale is terrific, but even here the film keeps things mostly light and breezy.

Minor spoilers ahead.

The God Butcher’s tragic backstory provides him with all the motivation he needs to embark on his quest to rid the universe of all its gods, seeking out Eternity, a powerful being at the very center of the universe who will grant a wish to whichever mortal reaches it first. But it’s the Necrosword that gives Gorr his god-slaying powers including the ability to summon shadow monsters and stand toe-to-toe with immortal superbeings.

Jane, meanwhile, is fighting stage 4 cancer and losing when she hears Thor’s hammer Mjolnir calling to her. She heads to New Asgard (also known as Tønsberg) which has become a tourist attraction drawing crowds from around the world. There’s a flying longship that people take rides on, and the local theater group puts on extremely terrible plays about Thor and Loki (with actors Matt Damon, Luke Hemsworth and Sam Neill playing Loki, Thor and Odin once again, with Melissa McCarthy as the wicked Hela).

We learn in a flashback that Thor made Mjolnir promise to look after Jane years ago and apparently the hammer is trying to do just that. It reassembles itself (Hela broke it in the previous film) and allows Jane to wield it, turning her into the Mighty Thor—a role she’s still very much getting used to when Thor meets up with her.

The God of Thunder himself has been on a series of misadventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s quite a lot more powerful than all of them combined, and you can tell pretty quickly that he’s worn out his welcome. When he discovers one of the Valkyrie is hurt and in distress, he bids his teammates adieu and heads off to save the day. Starlord (Chris Pratt) seems relieved more than anything. I admit, I was hoping for a bit more swashbuckling fun with this crossover team, but oh well.

Before he leaves, Thor is gifted a pair of giant, screaming goats by the grateful aliens he helped save (despite doing more damage than good in many ways). The goats become a running gag throughout the movie.

Thor learns that Gorr the God Butcher is headed to New Asgard and so he bifrosts his way there to help, which is when he discovers what Jane has become and their old romance sparks back to life—sort of.

I won’t go into the rest of the movie in detail to avoid spoilers but you get the picture. Good guys team up, head to look for help from other gods like Zeus (who turns out to be an enormous douchebag) and go fight the bad guy. It’s fun and entertaining and not particularly deep or serious and that’s exactly what I was expecting. There end is resolved in a particularly touching way and while it’s sad, it’s also heartwarming. Thor loses but also finds love, which is all anyone is ever really looking for.

As a father, and as someone who recently dealt with my own share of heartache and loss, the movie hit all the right notes without ever trying too hard or pounding you over the head with messaging. Waititi could have dug deeper into some of the themes and subjects the movie touches on, but he keeps it all surface level and let’s Thor just be a lovable, affable goofball. There’s also a ton of Guns & Roses so you’ll either love or hate that, I suppose. Heimdall’s (Idris Elba) son has even changed his name to Axl.

Gorr is a villain I definitely wish we’d had a little more time with especially since Bale throws himself into the role so gleefully. I’m pretty sure he’s Voldemort’s long-lost cousin:

But while I would have liked to see more of Gorr actually butchering gods, that would have made for a longer movie, and Waititi keeps this at a brisk 1 hour and 59 minutes. This is one of the few superhero films these days that avoids my persistent critique that they’re all about 20 to 30 minutes too long (or an hour too long in the case of The Batman).

If you’re looking for anything even remotely serious in Thor: Love And Thunder, you will not find it here. If you’re looking for a fun, lighthearted action rom-com with a likable lead and plenty of laughs, Thor vs Gorr with a side of Korg is an enjoyable two-hour diversion. Nothing more, nothing less.

(Well, there’s also the eye candy. Chris Hemsworth gets very, very naked in one scene and the dude is most certainly ripped. So much for dad-bod Thor! The Thor we could actually relate to!)

What did you think of the movie? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook.

You can also sign up for my newsletter and follow me here on this blog and on my YouTube channel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.