If you’re looking for another classic Thor adventure (aka more of Thor: Ragnarok), we have good news for you. Thor: Love and Thunder is the most comedic and heartfelt Thor adventure yet and it’s just like Ragnarok in all the best ways.
(Note: This review of Thor Love and Thunder is spoiler-free.)
Thor: Love and Thunder is Taika Waititi unleashed. Since Marvel handed Waititi the keys to Thor’s kingdom, he has continued to steer the space Viking into vibrant and original territory. With Love and Thunder, Waititi gives us our first romantic comedy within the MCU. There’s still action aplenty, but Thor’s fourth adventure is far more about affairs of the heart.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Thor is off gallivanting around space with the Guardians of the Galaxy. They’re kicking all kinds of ass, but it isn’t really fulfilling for Thor
Then two people enter his life and start to change his perspective.
One is Thor’s ex, Jane Foster. After skipping Ragnarok, Love and Thunder gives Natalie Portman a worthy story to return for, as she wields the godly hammer Mjolnir and becomes the Mighty Thor.
The other is Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher, who is parading across the universe slaughtering every holy being in recompense after his own faith was betrayed. Not so good for our friend the God of Thunder.
To go up against this new threat, Thor does what he does best and puts a team together. Alongside the Mighty Thor, he enlists his loveable Kronan sidekick Korg and his friend King Valkyrie, who is desperately seeking a distraction from the dull administration of being a leader.
Thor: Love and Thunder proceeds to take us on an epic fantastical adventure that uses blockbuster set pieces, thunderous action and epic needle drops to tell a story that is, quite simply put, a joy to watch.
Building upon the foundations of Ragnarok, the jokes in Love and Thunder are not only constant but they are consistently funny. It’s all in the same brand of humour that Waititi’s films are known for, which may not land with everyone, but for many it will incite plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
There are even some jokes that feel uniquely built for the Australian audience. Thor: Love and Thunder was filmed on our shores, but it’s more than just the odd Aussie accent that slips through here, with a few subtle gags that are sure to resonate.
For the most part Thor: Love and Thunder manages to balance its blend of the romance, action and comedy genres.
There are vibrant battle sequences bursting with colour (or lack thereof) and head-banging rock tunes that will skyrocket your serotonin levels. There are also plenty of cheesy movie moments, but these are balanced by dramatic themes that will tug at your heartstrings. Thor 4 really isn’t afraid to get real about the highs and lows that come with love, faith and grief.
Thor: Love and Thunder is a high-speed movie, which brings about a couple of pacing issues.
The film is always quick to cut to the chase which sometimes leaves a few logic gaps in its wake. There are times when the story will skip over things you wish you knew more about, particularly Jane’s origin story as the Mighty Thor.
However, the film’s plot is also simple enough that you’ll never feel confused. This isn’t a multiversal or time-travelling adventure like some MCU movies. It’s very much a character-driven story and it isn’t too concerned with connecting to the wider complexities of its cinematic universe (although there are two post-credit scenes you should definitely stay for).
Thor: Love and Thunder is anchored as much by its genre as it is by its characters. The line-up in this movie is insane and this cast does not miss.
Allowing Chris Hemsworth to be funny remains one of the best decisions Marvel Studios has made. In Thor 4 Hemsworth continues to prove he owns this role. He both rolls with the punchlines and will also throw some punches to your heart with his performance.
It’s also invigorating to see Natalie Portman return as Jane Foster, even more so when she becomes the hero of her own narrative. Portman will no doubt stand the test of time as one of Marvel’s most inspirational female heroes.
Tessa Thompson continues to prove she is one of the biggest badasses in the MCU. She nails Valkyrie’s sarcastic banter and her action prowess. It would be nice to see a beefier storyline for her character, particularly as she is one of the only LGBTQ+ characters in a Marvel movie about love, but Love and Thunder still takes steps in the right direction.
Christian Bale brings the malignant presence that is Gorr to life in a perfect way. He is creepy, otherworldly and yet still covets some humanity. Like Valkyrie, Gorr is another character that you wish had a bit more screen time in Thor: Love and Thunder, but it’s safe to say that Bale is just as good at playing a hero as he is a villain.
A shoutout also has to go to Russell Crowe. It’s clear that Crowe is having an absolute ball as the MCU’s version of Zeus and he easily fits into Waititi’s world of eccentric characters.
Speaking of Waititi, his fan favourite character Korg is responsible for some of Love and Thunder’s best moments. Let’s just say if Korg ever wants to narrate a series of audiobooks I am there.
There are also a couple of new scene-stealers to look out for, namely some screaming, flying goats.
Thor: Love and Thunder takes us on a zany rollercoaster ride of emotions, action and music that results in a great time at the movies. It can’t be overstated how much this is truly just a fun film to watch and that’s what going to the cinema should be all about.
Marvel movies are pretty subjective these days. Some will prefer the campy horror that Sam Raimi brings to the table or the high-stakes action of the Russo Brothers.
If you liked what Taika Waititi did with Thor: Ragnarok, it’s safe to say you’re going to like this as well.
Thor: Love and Thunder – The Verdict
Pros: Fun story, great characters, epic music and action scenes.
Cons: Some pacing issues, humour won’t appeal to everyone.
Watch it if you like: Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy, Jojo Rabbit.
Thor: Love and Thunder is in Australian cinemas from July 6.