matt ovolteen’s review published on Letterboxd:
Chris Hemsworth has said multiple times now that he’ll continue to play Thor until the end of time, or until fans grow tired of him. Well I hate to break it to ya Chris, but a lot of people are upset with your newest film. I certainly didn’t find it as atrocious as many others did, but I can understand where the frustration is coming from. Thor is now the first MCU character to get his own 4th standalone entry, but it rarely, if ever, makes a case for why it’s deserved.
After the total revamp of the character in Ragnarok, Taika Waititi has doubled down on his previous films humor and style. The previous Thor was such a smashing success because the character was in dire need of a makeover and Taika proved to be the right man for the job. However, with Thor: Love and Thunder, he may have just gone a little too far.
If anyone at Marvel fielded any complaints about their movies becoming too saturated with humor, they took them and threw them right out the window because Love and Thunder tries it’s hardest to be the funniest MCU film. It also comes down to Taika’s style, but there’s just way way too much of it in here. Don’t get me wrong, some of the bits were actually hilarious, but when you’re batting a 50/50 with jokes landing, maybe you got a little too much in there. Taika’s style may rub people the wrong way with the heavy-handed nature of the humor, but I didn’t find it to be unbearable. Plus, the guy still has an extremely creative mind, and that certainly shines through plenty of times. The shift to black and white and subsequent Mario Galaxy-esque battle was pretty dope not gonna lie.
Very much a superhero movie disguised as a buddy comedy, the latest Thor film derives its story from the same plot lines we’ve seen in all three of his previous stories. It’s a little bewildering that the first character to get a fourth movie would feel the most underdeveloped and consistently lost within his own story. Thor has had to discover who he truly is and find his purpose in so many of these movies it’s wild that we’re still treading this ground in Phase 4.
Although the core of the story may feel pretty stale, there’s still plenty to enjoy here. Chris Hemsworth continues to be the most charismatic Avenger there ever was, and his chemistry with Natalie Portman picks up right where it left off. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie is still a great presence whenever she’s in a scene, and Christian Bale definitely gives it his all as Gorr the God Butcher. There’s some investigative work to be done, because the fact that this movie is only 2 hours, and feels extremely rushed is pretty odd. I read that they cut entire sequences and planets out of the film, and that there was over 30-40 minutes of footage left on the cutting room floor. It makes you wonder: Marvel is not shy about dropping monster-length films, so why did this one get chopped up so much? It absolutely would have benefited from more fleshed out characters, considering The Mighty Thor and Gorr get crammed in so quickly.
I still firmly believe this should’ve been titled Thor 4: More Thor, because that’s really all this boils down to. Aside from the painfully derivative character introduction at the end, these characters end up in the same place they were at the beginning of the story. I’ll never be one to complain about more Thor because I do still think he’s a super fun and hilarious dude. It may just be time to hand the reins to another director because Taika has done all he can, for better and worse, for this character.
Previous MCU: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Next MCU: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever