Tripwire Reviews Thor: Love And Thunder

Twilight Of The Gods

Tripwire’s senior editor Andrew Colman takes a look at Thor: Love And Thunder out in cinemas now…

Thor: Love And Thunder
Director: Taika Waititi
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale

Taika Waititi’s previous Thor blockbuster, Ragnarok, was perhaps the best example of Marvel abandoning any pretence towards middlebrow drama, focusing almost entirely on knockabout fun, underpinned as it was by the contract it quickly registered with its audience – that there’s no point in taking any of this seriously, you know. Apart from the obligatory Cruella De Ville big bad, played on that occasion by Cate Blanchett, it was all about entertainment, capturing as it did the spirit of the source material without resorting to condescending formula. And it was excellent.

So now there’s Thor: Love and Thunder, replete with a metal / hard rock soundtrack for the Boomers. Hemsworth is back as the big, rather dense lug, as is Natalie Portman, playing Jane Foster and Thor as well, and Tessa Thompson as the King of New Asgard. And there’s Christian Bale playing Gorr the Butcher, hell bent on destroying al the gods in the cosmos due to being let down by one at the beginning of the film. Jane Foster has cancer, so she goes to Asgard and bonds, as you do, with Mjolnir, Hemsworth Thor’s hammer, in order to stem the disease. Meanwhile Thor and his chums have to stop Gorr before he unleashes more gore, so they try and enlist other gods in their quest. And that’s the plot, folks.

Apart from a rather throwaway opener between Thor and the Guardians’ Starlord which features some witty, Altman-esque dialogue, and Gorr’s origin scene, the movie does struggle with a truly below par script, with most lines, and indeed characters, merely there as plot devices. This wouldn’t bother me particularly, but for the most part it leads to an adventure of such vacuity it is staggering that anyone over the age of 12 would like it. Thompson’s Valkyrie and Portman’s Thor basically are the earnest, one-note adults whose mission is to force Hemsworth’s man-child to pay attention to whatever the hell is going on, and considering the amount of plotholes, you do lose interest.

The movie’s attempt to splice broad, dumbed-down comedy with the weightier themes of lost love, vengeance, and so forth is just too unwieldy. This is most noticeable whenever Gorr is onscreen, as he does seem to have wandered in from another movie. Bale, a first class actor needless to say, is a leering ghoul from a German Expressionist movie, and to be fair he inhabits the role extremely well, but having him scare the hell out of a bunch of Asgardian kids for his own amusement does seem reminiscent of Scooby Doo, or an 80s episode of Doctor Who. Which is a shame as if the character had been given more respect there was a decent subplot lurking in there regarding attitudes to deities.

But such a concept could never be examined in any depth in an MCU movie, so we have Bale’s bleak and virtuoso turn (in atmospheric black and white, natch) coming up against the clumsy but good natured oaf that is the title character, so it all dissolves into the usual chaotic mass brawls, ludicrous and muddy CGI, tiresome logistical endgames and a bunch of kids on this occasion defeating the shadow monsters (yes, you’ve seen this all before) cause Waititi figured that no-one would care that Thor can’t imbue his power on others like that.

The movie looks rushed and half-finished in places – Russell Crowe’s campy, dated cameo as Zeus is pointless and self-indulgent (and reminiscent of Harry Enfield’s 1980s character Stavros) as is the scene in which he features, which is ambitious, to an extent, but is ruined by some poor CGI. The film does look good in places, and there are one or two brilliant visual gags, but that is the extent of Waititi’s footprint on this messy, overblown and rather self-satisfied effort.

What is disappointing is that after Ragnarok more of the same would’ve been welcome, but the producers of this film didn’t really know where to take the franchise, or Thor himself, who jumps from being himbo lightweight to solemn demigod from one scene to the next, which undermines both the drama and the comedy. He’s just not that multifaceted a character, and indeed neither are any of the other players. Even worse are all the vapid pop culture references and catchphrases churned out by the cast and Waititi’s celebrity mates, which again remind me of a Saturday morning cartoon. Whither Loki? His presence was sorely missed.

There does seem to be an unwritten edict regarding MCU movies (but not DC ones!) that one must like them, even if they’re aimed at a pre-teen demographic. It is practically heresy to claim that such movies are too often lazy, lack inspiration and forget their remit, which is to beguile and entertain kids of all ages. There’s a lot of money on that screen, so don’t complain, as, after all, you know what you’re getting. And that is the key point – it’d be nice not to know, for once. Waititi has taken chances before, but this, as another critic correctly averred, felt like a victory lap for the previous movie.

The post Tripwire Reviews Thor: Love And Thunder appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.

Twilight Of The Gods Tripwire’s senior editor Andrew Colman takes a look at Thor: Love And Thunder out in cinemas now… Thor: Love And Thunder Director: Taika Waititi Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale Taika Waititi’s previous Thor blockbuster, Ragnarok, was perhaps the best example of Marvel abandoning any pretence towards middlebrow
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