Review: Taika Waititi’s ‘Thor: Love & Thunder’ travels on its own humor
by Manuel Sao Bento
July 8, 2022
Landing in theaters worldwide in July is the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Love and Thunder. This is the second MCU film this year, with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever still due in November. It is also the fourth solo Thor movie, sequel Ragnarok from 2017. love and thunder is again led by Taika Waititiwhich brings its comedic style back to the story of Thor Odinson as he contemplates his place among the gods. by Natalie Portman comeback sparked a lot of curiosity, mostly due to his surprising reveal as The Mighty Thor, but Christian Bale joining as an antagonist also raised a lot of expectations. With Waititi again at the helm, Will Chris Hemsworth and the company to be able to deliver a better film than Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? [A spoiler free review.]
Binary answer: yes. Fuller answer: Yes, too, but like much of the MCU’s recent content, it fails to reach its full potential. Thor: Love and Thunder reduced comedy bits that, for example, took complete control of the screen in Thor: Ragnarokfocusing instead on heavier, complex and sensitive themes such as health/illness, loneliness, love and grief – the latter of which was brilliantly tackled throughout the post-Avengers: Endgame Marvel content so far, clearly being the main emotional line of Phase Four. Taika Waititi and co-writer Jennifer KaytinRobinson the script is wrapped up in these questions, and the film works best when it allows itself to be more intimate and personal.
Perhaps due to the multiple scenarios within Thor: Love and Thunder, not all character arcs get the in-depth development they deserve. A positive example is the similarities between how hero Thor (Hemsworth) and villain Gorr (Bale) deal with the loss of loved ones in starkly opposite ways, but with remarkably similar small details. Gorr ends up in a place identical to where Thor was after Avengers: Infinity War, where feelings of anger and revenge outweigh any other feelings. Much like Thor wanted to kill Thanos to try and right past wrongs, Gorr wants all gods gone after realizing how his religious devotion has done him no good.
In Thor: Love and Thunder, the eponymous character faces an antagonist with naturally traumatic motivations, invulnerable to any form of influence or deterrence. Basically a version of Thor himself who couldn’t escape the emotionally dark spiral. As far as any actor in a single Marvel movie goes, Bale delivers one of the best performances within the MCU, embodying the madness that grips Gorr, becoming the absolute highlight above even Hemsworth. and Portman. Literally, every scene with the ex-Batman is worthy of being the best moment of the entire film due to his compelling, chilling, and menacing presence, yet still capable of unmistakably human feelings.
As for Hemsworth, Thor has become such a natural role for him that “perfect” is the perfect word to describe his performance. In my humble opinion, he is one of Hollywood’s most underrated actors, blessed with phenomenal talent and an impressive lineup that I hope will be put to good use in his post-Marvel future. . In Thor: Love and Thunder, Thor finds himself at a more advanced stage regarding the grief that led him to gain weight and pretend that “everything is fine”. Nevertheless, the character continues to struggle to let someone close to him in order to escape the unbearable pain of the past. Its arc of inner peace, finding love, and coming to terms with life’s events is as captivating as it is fun, but…
His relationship with Jane Foster could and should have been explored better, especially on the side of Portman’s character. The actress delivers an excellent performance, showing that she sincerely wanted to return, portraying a character who always deserved more screen time. Although I appreciate the fact that Thor: Love and Thunder does not try to solve serious real problems with simple magic or make jokes about the respective problem, the general tone remains too nonchalant and the comedy is still present in practically all other plot points. The tonal balance between the various storylines renders the third act unable to achieve even a fraction of the emotion it was meant to emanate powerfully.
Based on the explanation of Mighty Thor powers granted to Jane during the film’s climax, Portman’s character arc contains many bold but divisive creative decisions. Jane’s absence — it’s been over a decade since she was last in a movie — also ends up contributing negatively to an eventual disconnect with viewers. In comparison, even King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Waititi) manage to have a more significant impact. Talking about that, Thor: Love and Thunder couldn’t have had funnier side mates. Thompson remains one of my favorite supporting actresses in the MCU, while Korg never loses her humorous aura, despite not being a novelty anymore.
Technically, the visuals stray from the generic MCU palette, including an absolutely stunning black-and-white sequence. It’s here that Thor: Love and Thunder delivers one of the best action sequences in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe with an exhilarating fight scene enhanced by the choice of colors (or lack thereof). It’s hard to ignore the unique soundtrack that doesn’t hesitate to favor rock ‘n roll to give a special touch to the action moments, despite the repetition of too many songs already heard. The first act is by far the most coherent. It establishes all the characters, as well as the main plot and the individual arcs, all efficiently, maintaining an excellent balance with the humor which, during this act, works exceptionally well.
Unfortunately, Thor: Love and Thunder fails to reach its full potential in the end. The comedy that made me cry with laughter in the previous film not only lost its impact in this one, but severely affects the character arcs described above. In a packed house, I was only able to hear collective laughter twice, which is oddly unusual with this type of film, especially in the MCU. My enjoyment may have been influenced by my audience’s awkward silence, but the truth is that the vast majority of jokes fall flat, especially after the start of the second act, where the humor takes a less imaginative turn.
One particular joke involving a well-known meme is repeated multiple times throughout the runtime, quickly becoming boring – it only worked well twice. The balance of humor is better mastered at Waititi Thor: Ragnarok, although the latter contains more comedy overall. The emotional aspects are stronger than in the previous episode, so the endless jokes take away that heartfelt emotional value – a feature that has been increasingly criticized by viewers in recent years. The problem is not with the comedy itself but in the fact that this film contains a more dramatic narrative that deserved more attention than jokes.
On the story side, love and thunder does not innovate, following the usual structure and formula of the studio. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, there is one plot point that turns out to be unnecessary and irrelevant to the overall narrative, being merely a marketing ploy to sell the upcoming movie. The protagonist’s objective is not fulfilled in this detour, and something that was meant to be essential becomes a variation of a third-act MacGuffin. The action piece is easily forgettable, and by Russell Crowe The interpretation of Zeus is nothing but an excruciating caricature, employing such an absurd accent that it ends up stripping his character of all seriousness, detracting from a possible menacing presence in future works.
Finally, the action of Thor: Love and Thunder meets the minimum requirements for an MCU movie. The B&W sequence wins the trophy, the first act featuring the guardians of the galaxy – as expected, they leave the movie soon after that – brings good levels of entertainment. But everything else involving generic CGI monsters born from the shadows… I understand the intention of trying to save time and money with “leftover VFX”, hiding imperfections in the dark of night – a well-known workaround for many other Hollywood films – but, unfortunately, most of these scenes devolve into a sometimes incomprehensible jumble of CGI elements, where it becomes a real challenge to figure out what’s really going on.
That said, if you enjoyed Thor: Ragnarokyou will hardly leave disappointed with Thor: Love and Thunder. Depending on each viewer’s expectations and preferences for certain characters, opinions may vary, but I anticipate an overall positive reaction.
Thor: Love and Thunder boasts a bittersweet story about finding peace and love through suffering and pain, not to mention the necessary thunderous action that reaches its best in a long sequence surrounded by a black and white color palette. breathtaking white. Christian Bale stands out with a terrifying performance as one of the MCU’s best villains in recent years, while Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman share great chemistry. Visually distinct and with a unique soundtrack, the formula storyline benefits immensely when it focuses on each character’s intricate arcs. Yet the continuing comedy bits – a far cry from the hilarious creativity of the past – deny further exploration, stripping away the emotional value of the third act. The action with generic CGI ghost monsters presents predictable problems, and an irrelevant plot deviation only serves as a teaser for future content. All in all, Taika Waititi succeeds once again, but this time he falls short of his full potential.
Manual note: B+
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