Whelp! It took 14 years and 29 movies before the Marvel Cinematic Universe put out a clunker. And not to mince words, Thor: Love And Thunder is NOT a good movie.
The Plot — Thor: Love And Thunder
My general rule for spoilers in my reviews is that anything in the trailers or in the first 20–30 minutes of the film is fair game, as most people reading a review like this have already seen the trailers for whatever film I’m reviewing.
However, Marvel Phase 4 has made a huge point of littering most of their new films with spoilers throughout the film, making doing spoiler-free reviews much more difficult to do. This is especially true in Thor: Love And Thunder, and explains (I think) why we didn’t get even a teaser trailer until 5–6 weeks before the film came out.
Still, this will be a spoiler-free review, but going right up to the line, as that is the only way I can give an honest review for Thor 4.
Gorr The God Butcher
The Dark Knight himself, Christian Bale, joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Gorr The God Butcher — a villain I had never heard of before.
Gorr starts off the film as a devout man of faith seeking help from his deity. Without revealing the spoilery-cause for seeking his god, Gorr eventually does find him relaxing with other gods and asks for his help.
Instead of offering help or even sympathy, Gorr’s god instead openly mocks him, and does so with the Necrosword — which has the ability to kill gods — laying at Gorr’s feet. Needless to say, Gorr has a change of heart, and eye color after picking up the Necrosword and doing away with all of the gods in the area.
We find Thor Odinson still with the Guardians Of The Galaxy, right where we last saw them at the end of Avengers: Endgame.
Thor STILL seeks to find himself and his purpose, even if he has rediscovered his abs just in time for his shirtless scenes in his fourth solo film. Korg also is with Thor and The Guardians to start Love And Thunder, and when Thor decides to part paths, Korg goes with him.
The Mighty Thor
For the first time, we get TWO Thors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. ‘Thor’ being a title, rather than a proper first name; like ‘Darth’ Vader being Anakin Skywalker’s evil title.
The SECOND Thor in Love And Thunder receives the name ‘The Mighty Thor’, a.k.a. Doctor Jane Foster, Thor Odinson’s old romantic partner. Other than deleted scenes from The Dark World appearing in Avengers: Endgame, this is the first of Natalie Portman we’ve seen in the MCU since 2013.
As both Odinson and Jane sense danger in New Asgard, both return home to defend the few remaining Asgardians against the new threat. Thor arrives at the battle first, Stormbreaker in hand, and notices The Mighty Thor across the battlefield with a somehow reassembled Mjolnir.
Assemble An Army
After Gorr’s minions make off with a spoiler prize; Thor, The Mighty Thor, Korg, and Valkyrie set off on a journey to raise an army. Our foursome seeks to add powerful beings to their ranks in order to reclaim what was taken from them.
Omniscient City, known only to the gods, houses gods from all over the Galaxy, including the Greek god Zeus, played by Russell Crowe. It’s from their ranks that Odinson hopes to inspire other gods to join him in his quest to retrieve the spoiler, and take down Gorr The God Killer.
Gorr’s war against the gods may seem simple and random, at first — kill as many gods as possible. But upon seeing Thor and Stormbreaker, his plan takes on a more specific and ominous tone when he takes the spoiler from the Asgardians.
The Good — Thor: Love And Thunder
Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster hasn’t appeared in the MCU since Thor: The Dark World, as she very publicly announced she wanted out after that film. That is until Taika Waititi’s highly successful Thor: Ragnorak got both critical and commercial acclaim.
Portman’s return as ‘The Mighty Thor’ also comes with some spoilery complications, as one might expect. However, her return adds a much needed boost of gravitas to the Thor universe. Her chemistry with Chris Hemsworth hasn’t abated in the eight years since we last saw her in the role, and any success Thor 4 has will largely be based off her performance and chemistry with Hemsworth.
The Bad — Thor: Love And Thunder
The Editing/The Run Time
The first and most prominent thing wrong with Thor: Love And Thunder is the editing combined with having to meet a specific runtime.
There are FOUR credited Editors on Thor: Love And Thunder: Peter S. Elliot, Tom Roche, Matthew Schmidt, Jennifer Vecchiarello. And, NONE of these Editors are credited as Editing with each other on projects before.
If you dig into these Editors IMDb pages, they have done fine work before. But, all four have edited on different styles of film, television, and streaming, and none have worked together as a fully credited Editor.
The Run Time
On top of all of that, Marvels movies have noticeably gotten longer and longer as Phase 3 and Phase 4 have gone on; so it was only a matter of time before the studio would start to mandate shorter run times from their Directors and Editors.
Whenever I see a runtime for a movie at EXACTLY a round runtime, I worry. For example, when I saw that Christopher Nolan’s Tenet listed at EXACTLY two hour and 30 minutes, that made me start to worry. And, sure enough, Tenet was rushed and cut so short from beginning to end, there was no room for the film to breathe.
When I saw that Thor: Love And Thunder comes in at one minute short of two hours, I began to worry. And, upon seeing the finished film, the same EXACT problems that plagued Tenet, also plague this film.
Everything from Gorr’s introduction in the pre-credits opening scene, to resolution of the film feels rushed and loses impact as a result. Ironically, the shortening of scenes and reaction shots throughout the film actually makes the film feel like it’s dragging and speeding simultaneously.
Combining the short run time with four different Editors ruins the feel and pacing of this film. Not particularly any individual Editor’s fault; but the team as a whole, combined with the Studio pushing for less screen time ruins Love And Thunder.
Use Of Humor
Taika Waititi’s presence in the MCU has brought some much needed humor to the Marvel Universe as a whole, and not just Thor: Ragnorak.
Upon seeing Thor: Ragnorak being labeled largely as a Comedy, despite containing some of the darkest storylines up until that point; one can see the power of laughter. Considering Ragnorak saw the death of Odin, the destruction of Mjolnir, the decimating of Asgard’s armies, and the explosion of Asgard itself; for the film to be considered a Comedy is somewhat of a miracle.
Thor: Love And Thunder also uses Comedy, but not nearly to the same effect as in Ragnorak. Much of the Comedy in Thor 4 is more of a scatter shot approach, as opposed to the very specific and well planned out approach in Ragnorak.
One specific example involves Odinson and Jane expressing their feelings for each other while traveling to fight Gorr. The timing and tone of the jokes given the seriousness of their conversation just doesn’t match up.
Another example involves Thor and The Guardians Of The Galaxy towards the beginning of the film. While trying to find himself, Thor and The Guardians find themselves under fire during several battles.
While trying to use humor to show the growing tension between the two, something feels off. The latter stage of which can be seen in one of the trailers as Starlord glances with love at the other Guardians, and Thor tries to make eye contact at the same time. The takes used in the finished film lack the Comedic tone from the trailers and fail to make an impact as intended.
The Review — Thor: Love And Thunder
The expectations for Thor: Love And Thunder (after the success of Thor: Ragnorak) work against it in this case.
The subject matter of Love And Thunder is nearly as dark as Ragnorak; but it comes across as much darker given how poorly the tone and editing of the film is managed.
One comes into Love And Thunder expecting a Comedy. And, while there are many attempts at comedy throughout the film, very few of the jokes land as intended, and most distract from the drama of the scenes playing out between our characters.
Also, the internal logical consistency of Dr. Jane Foster’s situation fails miserably given the level of technology of the Asgardians. Again avoiding spoilers, but Jane’s connections to Thor himself, as well as her personal connections with the surviving Asgardians don’t make much sense, don’t make much sense with the reality of her situation.
On top of this, Gorr The God Butcher’s origin and hatred for the gods is largely butchered in limited screen time and poor editing. Many of Gorr’s actions as The God Butcher don’t line up with his motivations at the beginning of the film, even if you include the idea of being corrupted by The Necrosword.
The visual effects/CGI seems a notch up from Thor: Ragnorak, but are highly stylized as well. The level of technology seems visibly more advanced than what we saw in Endgame, but the execution still seems a little off.
The runtime and editing are where Love And Thunder fail most, however. Adding in a somewhat unclear Directorial vision from Taika Waititi, and we get the first negative review from Dragon Movie Guy for ANY of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Far from awful, but far from good. The lack of clarity in the story telling, even after a second viewing leaves the viewer wanting less instead of more. And, while many of the ideas present in the film are solid, the execution missteps the whole way. Thor, Jane Foster, AND Gorr’s stories all come across as flat, even though all of the pieces are there for a satisfying movie.
Runtime, Editing, and ineffective use of Comedy sank this movie. I can’t honestly recommend to watch this movie, despite the MCU being my favorite franchise of film in my entire adult life.
SKIP IT. Two stars out of five.