Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Genre: Superhero Running Time: 1 hr. 59 min.

Release Date: July 8th, 2022 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Taika Waititi Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, Jaimie Alexander

 


 

A

s Thor, God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) fills his days with audacious adventures of restoring peace across war-torn worlds with the Guardians of the Galaxy, he secretly yearns for the very thing that his intrepid exploits separated him from – the relationship with his one true love, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). When shadowy madman Gorr (Christian Bale) begins butchering deities on numerous planets and kidnaps the children of seaside town New Asgard, Thor and his faithful Kronan companion Korg (Taika Waititi) reunite with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Jane – now a superhero herself who wields the mighty Mjolnir hammer. As the dauntless foursome head to Omnipotence City in the hopes of recruiting powerful warriors to aid in stopping the ruthless murderer, Gorr inches closer to obtaining the key to accomplishing his own goal: wiping out every god in the universe.

“There is no one left to worship you.” In a timely indictment of misguided faith, unfulfilling religions, and cruel gods, the opening sequence creates a new villain (with a somewhat understandable mission, like Thanos) for Thor to combat. But it’s much too arbitrary and flimsy to introduce a random character, then have him undergo a random sacrifice, meet a random deity, find a random weapon, and begin a random crusade of vengeance. It is, of course, a setup for more of the same stuff that audiences have been feasting upon over the last several Marvel episodes: chaotic lightning, massive explosions, gravity-defying martial arts and flying and posing, and ludicrous amounts of destruction.

It’s also yet another opportunity to have characters from different series turn up in cameos of sorts. But the most notable return is that of Jane, whose declining health issues here would normally generate a modest amount of sympathy, were it not for her existence in a universe of space vikings, alien conquerors, and all-powerful gods, traipsing through humankind’s morbid routines, presenting a total lack of realism, gravity, or consequence. In this environment, death is hardly ever the end.

Once again, everything seems to be made up on the spot, propelling the picture not with a sensible storyline, but with conspicuously contrived objectives. In the blink of an eye, conflict arises, a quest for a key is determined, magic weapons are needed, and the center of the universe holds a powerful secret. Teleporting makes location changes far too easy; characters spontaneously gain unexplained, limitless superpowers; glowing and swirling lights substitute for visually stimulating duals; and monsters are summoned from nothing, materializing for battles that resemble watching someone else play a video game. The humor has also dwindled this time around, sapping the fun from what was previously director Waititi’s greatest strength. Thor and Jane’s reunion is intended to be comically awkward, but their stunning absence of chemistry lends to genuinely cringe-worthy moments, augmented by goofy dialogue, bizarre costume changes, and worse attempts at snappy catchphrases. Many of their conversations don’t sound like romantic banter as much as failed recitations of comedy routines from Abbott and Costello sketches.

Instead of the glitz and glamor its big budget should provide, “Thor: Love and Thunder” feels as if the Z-grade television schlock of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers. Part of this is due to the incredibly small story (the film runs under two hours) with limited reasons to traverse the galaxy, but the majority is merely the sense that the filmmakers have run out of ideas. There’s only so much an invincible god-warrior can do before his electrical-storm clashes grow wearisomely repetitive. The most affective sequences tend to involve broken victims slipping away in their lovers’ arms, but even these shots are voided by the realization that no one ever really perishes in the nonsense of Marvel’s fantasy worlds. Had the humor been stronger, this venture might have been saved; unfortunately, without dependable laughs, there’s nothing to fall back on besides the now standard, humdrum CG spectacle, which doesn’t stand out at all in this latest uneventful adventure. “The gods will use you, but they will not help you.”

– The Massie Twins

  • 3/10