Thor Love and Thunder review: Marvel epic does too much and not enough

His predecessor was a wild, ludicrous success. Is this a sequel? Approximately half as much. Bummer.

If you’re looking for a Thor movie filled with chaotic energy, self-aware humor, and wittier reporting than the Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn scene, then check out Thor: Ragnarok.

Since follow-up Thor: Love and Thunderhalf as interesting as its predecessor.

Expectations were high for Kiwi director Taika Waititi for the next entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Love and Thunder can’t get up to them. Incoherent and sometimes bordering on the incomprehensible, Love and Thunder is a mix of genres that doesn’t always flow.

Is this a “bad” movie? No. It has a lot of elements that are dazzling, but overall it just doesn’t dazzle. And you want it to shine, you don’t want to be content with basically OK.

We collect after Avengers: EndgameThor (Chris Hemsworth) is with a fun gang of Guardians of the Galaxy, but they quickly part ways – it’s surprising how little screen time the Guardians have, given that all of these actors have served a two-week quarantine mostly for a few cameos.

Thor at a crossroads. He doesn’t have the bloodlust for battle he once did, and questions his life’s purpose. Who is he supposed to be now that he’s not locked in either his regal Asgardian destiny or the depression caused by video games and too much beer?

While chasing a lead, he stumbles upon an injured Sif (Jaime Alexander), who explains that Gorr, the Butcher God (Christian Bale), is in tears, instilling fear and legendary weapons into the bodies of the universe’s deities.

And the lingering Gorr has set his sights on the god of thunder, our titled superhero.

But before Thor can turn to the pantheon of gods and supreme god Zeus (Russell Crowe), he runs into his ex, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and she looks a little different. Jane assumed the mantle of the Mighty Thor, powered by the reconstructed Mjolnir.

Their relationship ended eight years ago, but Thor is clearly still nostalgic, and there’s an obvious spark between the two ex-lovers – that’s where Love and Thunder goes into romantic comedy mode.

There’s a flashback montage of how they broke up in the first place, and the banality of the “why” heightens their kinship. Their flirting is adorable, especially when you watch the crushing Thor being so shy.

But even though Hemsworth and Portman have a light and engaging on-screen chemistry, that’s why Love and Thunder it feels like something is missing.

This more comical iteration of Thor needs a spiky opposite to bounce off, and Jane doesn’t serve that purpose – their dynamics are different.

In the past, that person has been Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, and the ups and downs of the brothers’ relationship has been one of the most compelling couples in the MCU. Even Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner had the same playfulness against Thor as Star-Lord Chris Pratt in Avengers: Infinity War.

Without that alpha male oppositional power to knock him down a bit, the grandiosity of the thunder god becomes too much. It needs to be kept.

How Thor: Love and Thunder had to be kept. It ranges from romantic comedy to horror, action comedy, and family adventures, and the run in between is a cinematic whiplash.

There is a certain looseness to the film that, instead of making it fun and exuberant, makes it messy and tedious.

The sets themselves are pompous and electrifying, and full of funny one-liners and laughter. The fight sequences are full of excitement, the shots of the child actors are cute, and the frantic visuals are festive.

It just doesn’t connect particularly well when everything is coming at you at a furious pace. Perhaps he thinks that if you get distracted by the onslaught, you won’t notice that the story is relatively thin and the Thor character’s journey is limited.

You want to love him because of the good will from Ragnarok and much of Waititi’s work, but wishing alone is not enough, and not Thor: Love and Thunder.

Rating: 2.5/5

Thor: Love and Thunder is in theaters now

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