Taika Waititi’s vision of Marvel’s God of Thunder helped radically redefine the character in Thor: Ragnarok. But though his follow-up, Love and Thunder, was largely a box office success, it drew a much murkier reaction from fans and critics — and according to Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, some of those critics were a little too close to home for him to avoid.
Namely, his kids’ school friends, who really are the primary audience for a film like Love and Thunder, even removed from the fact they’re in the approximate social circle of the film’s star. “It’s a bunch of eight-year-olds critiquing my film. ‘We thought this one had too much humour, the action was cool but the VFX weren’t as good,’” Hemsworth said of some of the more personal reaction to the movie in a new profile with GQ. “I cringe and laugh equally at it.”
In what feels like a bit of an awkward critique himself, Hemsworth believes that Love and Thunder’s missteps were that it was too fun. “I think we just had too much fun. It just became too silly,” Hemsworth continued. “It’s always hard being in the centre of it and having any real perspective… I love the process, it’s always a ride. But you just don’t know how people are going to respond.”
Love and Thunder definitely took Ragnarok’s absurdist sense of humour farther than its predecessor, but even beyond its sense of humour clashing with the rest of the narrative the movie had plenty of issues to make it look like a weaker film in comparison. Christian Bale’s villain Gorr lacked the kind of charismatic turn that made Cate Blanchett’s Hela so immediately enchanting, and suffered from the common Marvel movie pitfalls of being a character who makes a lot of valid points about the status quo of their nemesis’ world, only to still need to be beat up by the end of the picture. Throw in the film’s frankly awful approach to the story of Jane Foster — and how badly it managed to adapt a beloved comic run’s themes in the process of doing so — and there’s plenty you can point to about the movie that isn’t just “perhaps it was too fun.”
But despite not meeting the expectations of a bunch of local eight-year-olds with Love and Thunder, Hemsworth would be down to return to the MCU at some point, even if his current contract has wrapped up. “I love the experience,” Hemsworth added. “I love the fact that I’ve been able to do something fairly different throughout the process. Thor 1 and 2 were their own thing, Thor 3 and 4 were a very different feel…and then even Avengers, the Lebowski Thor [in Avengers: Endgame], the Infinity War Thor, due to different directors, and I think mostly my own need to do something different.”
So if we do see the God of Thunder again, odds are to expect something different from what we got in Ragnarok and Love and Thunder — which at this point is probably for the best.
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