After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has joined the Guardians of the Galaxy for adventures across the universe. But as he tries to find himself, he’s unable to attain inner peace and self-fulfillment. However Thor is forced to set aside his identity crisis when a new threat emerges – Gorr the God Butcher.
Gorr has been traveling the galaxy murdering gods one by one. On a personal quest for revenge, he has sworn not to stop until the universe is rid of deities. Unfortunately his next target is Asgard on Earth.
As Thor arrives to save his people from Gorr, he encounters a shocking surprise. His hammer, Mjolnir, has been miraculously restored and is wielded by Jane Foster. As Thor reunites with his ex-girlfriend, he realizes he may have found the one thing missing from his soul. But can they save Asgard from annihilation?
Thor: Love and Thunder is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, some suggestive material and partial nudity.
If you enjoyed the humor of Thor: Ragnarok, then you’re likely to enjoy Thor: Love and Thunder. It has more of Taika Waititi‘s sense of humor that takes Thor to places you’d never think possible. Humor infuses every aspect of the film and firmly plants it in the comedy genre. For example, the story includes Thor’s goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder.
If you’re familiar with Norse mythology, then you know they’re a big part of Thor’s lore. But Taiki turns them into major comedy relief as they destroy the Guardians’ ship, scream repeatedly like an internet video, and pull Thor’s boat through space. They quickly become a fan favorite thanks to Taika being fully unleashed.
That humor is really on display again when a new corner of the Marvel Universe is revealed. We are introduced to the wider world of gods and Russell Crowe as Zeus. Rather than being a regal character like Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Zeus is a career politician – horny and keen to maintain power on his terms. Everything about him is unexpected and it’s going to be interesting to see where they go with the characters from Greek mythology after this.
While Thor: Love and Thunder is largely a comedy, there are serious themes in the film as well. The story is based on Jason Aaron’s fantastic run on the Thor comic. Rather than simply featuring a gender-flipped Thor, Jane Foster wielding the power of Thor has some real depth to it and she has a secret while doing so that will shock fans not familiar with the comic. That twist is what attracted Natalie Portman to return to the series and she handles it well.
Christian Bale as Gorr is also a villain with great depth. He has an understandable motivation for wanting to kill the gods and is more than a match for the God of Thunder. Every audience member is going to look at Gorr and come away with a different perception of him and his motivations.
Some will look at him as a commentary on atheism. Others will look at him as a man shaking his fist at God. Others will possibly even agree with his quest for revenge. Bale brings a lot of depth to the villain and makes him one of the more memorable MCU antagonists.
The music in Thor: Love and Thunder is a lot of fun. If you’re a Guns N’ Roses fan, then you’ll particularly enjoy it. A whole new generation will be introduced to ’80s rock with this.
There are two end credit scenes that you’re going to want to stick around for. One scene introduces a new character that could set up the plot for Thor 5. I’m going to be interested to see fan reactions to the reveal. The second scene shows us the fate of some characters that is rather unexpected at first but in hindsight fits perfectly with Norse mythology.
When you unleash Taika Waititi, he’s going to race right up to every boundary and occasionally dance across it. That’s the case with Thor: Love and Thunder. First of all, as funny as it is, the film occasionally is too wacky. On occasion it doesn’t even feel like an MCU movie and the humor is overdone.
For example, a running gag about Stormbreaker being jealous of Mjolnir starts out as being good for a chuckle before eventually being run into the ground. Another example is the screaming goats. It starts out as quite amusing but then is done almost continually to the point of losing novelty. We also see Thor, at one point, mount Stormbreaker like a broom and fly away like Harry Potter.
The overdone humor also causes the film to wildly vary in tone. It often goes from slapstick humor to serious drama. The two can go together, but they often happen back to back to the point you get whiplash.
As for dancing across the line, Taika does so with the adult material as well. I think Disney has forgotten that, at heart, these are kids’ movies. Thor: Love and Thunder probably has the most language of any MCU movie. It also features Zeus repeatedly saying “orgy” which, while suitable for the Greek gods, isn’t necessarily something parents what to explain to inquiring kids.
Speaking of Zeus, I waver between liking the portrayal of the character and feeling like he’s a wasted opportunity. It feels like Zeus may have been wasted as a character at the expense of a joke much like Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Yes, he’s good for a few laughs here, but comic fans may have been expecting more.
Likewise, fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy may be disappointed that they are almost completely wasted in this film as well. It’s almost like Taika was saddled with them after Avengers: Endgame and then dropped them as soon as possible so he could get to the story he wanted to tell.
While the original Jason Aaron comic is one of my all time favorite Thor stories, I feel like Thor: Love and Thunder barely taps the potential of the story. Jane Foster’s turn as Thor had a lot of emotional depth that this script gives some service to but never completely realizes. There’s more interest in getting laughs than exploring the deep themes of true heroism, the relationship between god and man, and the price of revenge.
The old adage “the book was better than the movie” remains true here. Thor: Ragnarok was better, but Thor: Love and Thunder is still entertaining and worth checking out on the big screen.
THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER REVIEW RATING: 7 OUT OF 10
Marvel Studios‘ Thor: Love and Thunder will open in theaters on Thursday, July 7.