Thor Ragnarok was a Marvel Studios movie that was mentioned when it was released. First blockbuster from the director of What We Do In The Shadows, he mixed – sometimes awkwardly – genres for a result we see here that is nothing but debated. Some view it as one of the best Marvels while others find it to have a lot of trouble seeing its qualities.
Like James Gunn bringing his universe to the Guardians of the Galaxy and pushing the knobs too far in the second half, Taika Waititi wants more with Love & Thunder. But he was no better.
After the events of Avengers Endgame, Thor leaves to live space adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy. In response to Sif’s call, he however drops his new friends to help New Asgard, threatened by Gorr (Christian Bale), a villain armed with a sword capable of killing the gods and determined to do so. . Arriving at the place, and while evil is kidnapping the children in the village he must seek out, the God of Thunder knows that he is no longer in power. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) now wears Mjolnir.
After a prologue revealing Gorr’s origins, Taika Waititi sets the tone: Korg (the rock character composed by the director) tells Thor’s story in the manner of a Viking tale. This allowed the director to push his sliders for a series of ultra colorful and ultra exaggerated scenes, a super pop and offbeat tone (like promo) that he could never hold. It’s less visible in Ragnarok because everyone is smarter there, but here the difference between Korg’s story and Gorr’s ultra-dramatic beginnings isn’t real.
But that’s not the only problem with Love & Thunder. It is plagued by serious technical errors, from shot / reverse shot errors to real CGI problems. Marvels are usually not to blame in this area, but here the flaws are very visible, from the shot scenes rushing through the cardboard paste sets to Natalie Portman’s failed digital helmet. And if Waititi can escape some beautiful scenes, he still doesn’t know how to film fights where there are multiple protagonists. The attack on New Asgard is as chaotic and unreadable as the scene of the bridge at the end of Ragnarok.
We can also focus on a completely failed scene, the encounter between Thor and Zeus (Russel Crowe). Nothing worked there, nor was the writing of the god next to the plate (it was Zeus, shit, effort) or the incarnation of Crowe who was never in his character. Sure, that scene where Hemsworth appears naked, but that’s not enough.
However, Love & Thunder is full of beautiful ideas starting with Jane Foster’s character. Natalie Portman had an explosion in the role and her arc was successful and almost moved (and even if it took time to develop). Here with Christian Bale as a villain, well playing the tortured bad guy. And amid all the sometimes pointless attempts at humor, one is very good: the fact that Thor lives with his weapon in a quasi-couple relationship, which produces some delicious exchanges, especially than Hemsworth is very good when he is about acting.
Finally, a word on two traditional post-credits scenes: the second reveals a great idea that we hope to take advantage of in the future, and the first is a great molding idea (as long as you see Ted Lasso). If that becomes something it remains to be seen.
One can summarize Thor Love & Thunder as beautiful ideas floating in a sea of moderation. Maybe Ragnorak fans can find their account there. Some will remain hungry.
Thor Love & Thunder, by Taika Waititi – Theatrical release July 13, 2022