Thor: Love and Thunder

Review by Adam Woodward @AWLies

Directed by

Taika Waititi


Chris Hemsworth Christian Bale Natalie Portman


Ragnarok was a blast. Hoping for more of the same.


Knocked a point off for every Guns N’ Roses song used.

In Retrospect.

Plenty of love, but where was the thunder?

Taika Waititi returns to the MCU five years after Thor: Ragnarok with a disappointing sequel sorely lacking in charm and imagination.

Following his brief slide into alcoholism and manic depression in Avengers: Endgame, Thor: Love and Thunder finds Chris Hemsworth’s silken-haired protagonist back in full god mode, vibing his way through various cosmic scuffles alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy. Yet saving the day doesn’t hold the same pull it once did. Thor may be back to his best buff self, but there’s a sadness behind those piercing blue eyes, an unshakable feeling that something has been lost.

Upon answering a distress signal from a fellow Norse warrior, Thor learns of the existence of Christian Bale’s sad dad turned overzealous atheist, Gorr, who carries an ancient sword capable of slaying immortal beings. He returns to New Asgard – a hitherto quiet fishing village transformed post-Thanos into a garish living theme park (what was it Martin Scorsese said about Marvel movies?) – to find Gorr wreaking havoc. After some posturing and pyrotechnics, Gorr spirits a group of children away to an unspecified corner of the universe, thereby restoring Thor’s sense of purpose.

Amid all this chaos, Thor is reunited with his old flame Dr Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), now sporting her own superhero get-up as Lady Thor, and brandishing a familiar metal tool. There’s a running theme in Love and Thunder of powerful weapons that have a corrosive effect on those who possess them. In Gorr’s case, the legendary “Necrosword” he wields has poisoned his body and soul, leaving him looking like Nosferatu’s strung-out older brother. Jane, meanwhile, inexplicably acquires Mjolnir in an attempt to cure her of a terminal illness, only to find that the mighty hammer is slowly draining her energy. Even Thor’s new piece, Stormbreaker, has a tempestuous side.

And so, with his trusty ex and less than trusty axe in tow, not to mention his (literally) stone-faced sidekick Korg (once again voiced by Waititi) and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, Thor sets off on a quest to vanquish Gorr and bring the kids home. Waititi, of course, has long held an affection for innocence, for telling stories that remind us of the preciousness and impermanence of youth. He is a filmmaker who sees the wonder in the world, and in previous features Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Jojo Rabbit, he demonstrated an uncanny knack for casting child actors who personify his own wide-eyed, whimsical sensibilities.

The biggest surprise in Love and Thunder is how it wastes its pint-sized supporting cast; the plucky youngsters whose fate rests in Thor’s hands remain on the periphery throughout, and save for a short but very sweet scene late on, Hemsworth is given little opportunity to meaningfully interact with them. Instead, Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson’s screenplay ramps up the romantic stakes, switching from swashbuckling space romp to teary cancer drama while faintly blurring the line between mythology, fantasy, and science (in this way the film resembles a West End panto version of Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain).

Where Thor: Ragnarok was unpredictable and unruly in the most thrilling way, Love and Thunder by contrast feels safe and formulaic. Waititi is too preoccupied with trying to land the same jokes, and he burdens the film with a wishy-washy love story which even by the MCU’s low standards feels shallow and perfunctory. Russell Crowe’s cameo as Zeus, in which he appears to be channelling, bizarrely, Harry Enfield’s crude Greek caricature Stavros, is fun while it lasts. But this is an otherwise flat and uninspired entry to a sub-franchise that seems to have lost its magic touch.

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Published 6 Jul 2022

Tags: Chris Hemsworth Christian Bale Natalie Portman Taika Waititi Thor: Love And Thunder


Ragnarok was a blast. Hoping for more of the same.


Knocked a point off for every Guns N’ Roses song used.

In Retrospect.

Plenty of love, but where was the thunder?

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