The key ingredient that made 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok one of the MCU’s most entertaining entries was it’s director Taika Waititi. The first two Thor films (mainly the second one) should almost be embarrassed when compared to the third, because the character was given a big injection of the unique semi-quirky humor that Waititi is known for.
Five years (and one Infinity War) later, the director has returned with Thor: Love and Thunder. It has the director’s touch, but it is lacking some of his magic.
The film starts off with the narrator Korg (voiced by Waititi) giving the brief recap of what happen in the last number of years in the life of Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Still on a mission of sorts to find himself (I guess Gods can indeed have midlife crises), it is soon brought to his attention by Sif (Jaime Alexander) and King Valkeryie (Tessa Thompson) that a new villain has emerged in the form of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale). At the same time, his ex Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has returned and (as the trailer shows, so I am not ruining anything) is wielding Mjolnir, while battling her own personal issues as well.
One of the key points to make about the film is it’s runtime, clocking in just under two hours. The time spent on plot points is rather concise (we start the film off learning why Gorr has turned evil and is determined to kill all the Gods). In this short of a time, there is still a bit of too much tone clashing. The light hearted aspects are indeed successful in their own right (such as the segment that takes place after the second film, where Thor and Jane have a dating life of sorts), but those tend to halt rather quickly when the movie does deal with much more serious matter.
Of course, the film is indeed nice to look at, with two specific segments that stood out to me. The first is when our heroes visit the shadow realm (where color is absent) to confront Gorr. I am always for filmmakers taking the risk of showing today’s audiences a film in black and white. This is also where we see Gorr as another fine addition to the hall of MCU villains, thanks in large part to Bale (easily one of the most dedicated actors in cinema history).
The second deals with children getting their chance to shine (some are the children of Waititi, Hemsworth, and Bale). This is in the wheelhouse of Taika, because he has always given off the vibe of a kid inside of an adult’s body.
Speaking of kids, you parents should know there are times where there are kids in peril during this film. There is also some swearing and (as you might have been able to tell if you saw the trailer), some non sexual male rear male nudity. That said, if your kids have seen the other Thor films (as I imagine the 9 year oldish kid I saw at my screening with his Mjolnir toy has), they should be fine here.
Before my show, a friend did mention to me the film is being criticized for being a word I am not a fan of when describing films: woke. I can see what he means by this (the Valkeryie character is said to be LGBTQ, as well as another side character is revealed to be at the end of the film). I try not to let things of that sort bother me too much provided it does not hurt the overall story of the film (although I am not sure why Valkeryie has to be referred to as “King” and not “Queen”: Last I checked, people still respect Queen’s, especially while playing chess.) Those who judge a movie clearly based on “wokeness” are not real movie lovers so much as they are social media amateurs.
I forgot to mention the adding of another character to the MCU: the almighty Olympian King Zeus, played by Russel Crowe. Crowe does seem to be having some fun, but I am not at all sure what that accent is. If you found yourself questioning Tom Hanks’ accent in Elvis, then prepare yourself for Crowe’s Zeus.