*Overall Marvel Spoilers here…
Thor embarks on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced — a quest for inner peace. However, his retirement gets interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher, a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods.
“I need to figure out exactly who I am. I want to choose my own path, live in the moment.”
Marvel is going at a pace now that we have never seen in movie history. This year alone we have gotten DOCTOR STRANGE 2, MS. MARVEL, MOON KNIGHT, SHE-HULK coming soon, and now THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, with no signs of slowing down. With all these projects coming out, it is making these stories feel less and less special. It used to be when that first weekend of May came and the new Marvel movie was out it was the biggest deal in the world. Now it just feels like another entry to this never ending saga of interchangeable characters. If everything is trying to be special, than nothing is that special. That is how I felt walking out of this new Thor movie. Which is weird because Thor is my favorite of the Avengers, Taika Waititi is one of my favorite directors, and I loved RAGNAROK.
This movie doubles down on everything that made RAGNAROK so great, yet this time it all feels like it is being rammed down your throat. The first hour is simply punchline, after punchline and the movie cannot even find it’s footing until Jane (Natalie Portman) shows up. Jane is able to come back in the picture because she unfortunately has cancer, and the only way she can still live basically is to be connected to Mjolnir (we can get into that another time). Basically, this causes a new challenge for Thor and shows us what it means to be “worthy.” Of course though we get the adventures with Korg (Taika Waititi), King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), two yelling Goats, and numerous other friendly faces. We also get to meet Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) who is devastated about his daughter who died, and has now decided to go on a rampage against all other gods. All of this to say there are a ton of storylines, and with all the comedy and gags it feels like that took more precedence than the character work needed for some of these heroes/villians.
The character work I wanted was definitely with Gorr who we do not get a lot of, and also Tessa Thompsons Valkyrie. She has been in 3 or 4 stories now and we have hardly even gotten to know her backstory other than the one battle with Hela. I also am disappointed with where Thor has gone, because I actually like the Shakespearean version we saw at the beginning, and not this joke that he has become. It feels like he has gotten dumber and dumber when in reality he has lived for thousands of years and knows more than anyone. So to see his character where it is now feels frustrating because all his contemporaries got such incredible archs.
On the technical side, again Taika doubled down on RAGNAROK, with more colors, crazier beasts and more 80s rock music. The movie was shot by Barry Iodine who has been a camera operator and second unit DP on a bunch of big projects, but this looks like his first major Cinematography project. He does a really good job in areas, especially the battle scenes which look great. However, some other scenes look like it should be in a tv movie, so it is a good and bad. Michael Giacchino and Nami Melumad did the score and while it is pretty standard for a Marvel movie it is not featured as much as the Guns N’ Roses music is. And do not get me wrong, I love Paradise City, Sweet Child O’ Mine, and Welcome to the Jungle, but these songs have been in so many freaking movies it is hard for me to get excited for them anymore. It just felt like something I had seen so many times every time one of them dropped. So it almost took me out of the movie even though it is meant to create the tone and energy. Overall, It is a mixed bag with all of it just like the comedy and the story.
Stock Neutral – Chris Hemsworth
He can play this role in his sleep at this point. But he has done a good job carving out a little niche outside the MCU as well. He can do comedy, action, drama and everything in between it seems. So I am excited to see him continue to get away from Thor just because he has been doing it for so long.
Stock Neutral – Natalie Portman
It was so great to see her back in the family. She seemed very happy to be doing this role again and getting a chance to finally be a warrior. Like in Attack of the Clones she shows she definitely can do action as well. She and Hemsworth just have such good chemistry which gives the Rom-Com moments of this gravitas. I do not know where she goes from here but she still is one of our great movie stars.
Stock Neutral – Christian Bale
He is one of the greatest actors in the world, so to see him dive back into the comic book world was exciting. His villain had vibes of Danny DeVito’s Penguin with how gross he could be, but what was good was that he was genuinely scary. When he is telling a story to the kidnapped children he is pretty terrifying, which you do not always get in these movies.
*A couple other tidbits
- The Thor and Korg friendship continues to be one of the highlights of the MCU.
- The Guardians at the beginning were fun, but did not have enough screen time to really make a measurable impact.
- We need a Valkyrie solo series maybe because she needs more airtime.
- Russell Crowe as Zeus was genuinely shocking the way he played him.
- The Black and White scene was awesome.
I liked this movie, but there was just so much missed opportunity in my opinion. I love the comedy and love the hijinx, but it just feels like we are not going anywhere here in Phase 4 and the gravitas is just not where it used to be. I am very interested to see where they go from here with Thor and the rest of this universe.
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