Thor: Love and Thunder Review

Disastrous press campaign aside, Thor: Love and Thunder has been a fascinating test of just how far a fandom will defend garbage. Christian Bale screaming in the mud, rumbling around the floor and scarpering about as an opening moment reflects nicely on the scrabbling fans. Sadly, this smug metaphor comes to chastise the best part of this Taika Waititi-made car crash. Bale, naturally, is the talent that is raised taller than the rest of the family-friendly indulgence on display in this bland, colourful shlock. How it is possible to make a feature so vibrant yet so muted and uncomfortably grey is fascinating. Thor: Love and Thunder makes it possible though, a remarkably flat and banal feature that does very little with its simple parts.

A McGuffin device left near Gorr the Butcher is the only reason he appears to drive down this path to insanity. A real choppy change to his character, from emotively active nothing to complete villainous entity for however long is needed. Silly to say the least, but Waititi’s attention to detail is erratic and an absolute mockery of what Marvel has struggled with for the past few years. A tonal instability that tries to blend colourful scenery with darker themes. It never makes much sense, but Thor: Love and Thunder feels like the most actively problematic in both its theme and its style. An Enya record scratch moment to give an update to the life of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) with some grating narration from Waititi is as awful as expected. Unravelling the past ten years of Hemsworth’s storytelling to put together a two-minute blooper-reel type exposition mess exposes the lack of substance.

Uncomfortably side-lined returning characters make for a difficult pill to swallow as two generations of Thor eras are brought together. Can these even be called “eras” or is that just an easy way to amalgamate two different casts, one side of which has been coaxed into returning. Natalie Portman’s very serious and tenderly thought-out plotline is a disaster that naturally fails to understand the sincerity and severity of its subplot. Marvel somehow believes an Old Spice gag is the appropriate segway from giving one of the supporting characters a round of cancer. Recycled gags, a lack of understanding of tender subject matters and a frequently annoying inability to move on from jokes that had already made the cut in Thor: Ragnarock is the triple killer in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Guns and Roses, who obviously feature on the soundtrack, may boast of “fun and games,” but there are few to be had in Thor: Love and Thunder. People consciously made this. People think this is good. Marvel has finally marked itself as a pastiche of itself. When the best gag is Matt Damon making a brief mockery of the film series so far in some sort of self-flagellation, there is something severely wrong with the kitschy aesthetic that is now planted on the preceding films, which at the very least had the heart to them, albeit some similar plot problems. A bloated effect marks itself clear once again. Too many characters, too many storylines, and evidently little understanding of brevity, dynamic or tone. A Marvel classic. A modern disaster.

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