Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Taika Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, Natalie Portman
Music: Danny Elfman
Cinematography: John Mathieson
Rating: 2.5/5

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is spoiling fans with choices. Just when the Doctor Strange hangover subsided, MCU brought Thor: Love and Thunder on screen. The film was in the making for quite some time, and with all the leaks, trailer, and theories, MCU fanatics waited with bated breath. Personally, I have always liked Thor, not only because of Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of the titular role, but also because of it comes with an interesting back story. Plus, the crazy world of Gods always fascinated me. The third part of the film was mind-bogglingly good, and a similar expectation was there from the fourth one, too. The question now remains, if it has been able to have the same impact on fans. Is it worth the hype? Let’s find out. 

Screenplay

Taika Waititi is possibly is the most adorable character in Thor: Love and Thunder. The story picks up from the aftermath of Thor: Ragnarok, with Korg [Waititi] narrating the story of Mighty Thor to Asgardian kids. Chris Hemsworth’s character has lost everything by now, from his home that was destroyed during the Ragnarok battle to the love of his life, Jane Foster. He, just like anyone else, did not take the loss well. Thankfully, not for long. 

His transformation from dad bod to a sad bod is swift, and goes by in a few frames at the beginning of the film. You see a calm Thor, who has decided to meditate and fight only when someone asks for his help. The moment comes soon, when The Guardian of The Galaxy’s Chris Pratt asks for his aid. Thor leaves his meditation promptly to help his friends, but this time, with the Stormbreaker and not Mjolnir (which was destroyed by Hela).

From here on, it’s a laughter riot — a tone that was already set in the trailer — with the superhero embarking on a “classic Thor adventure”. Soon, Christian Bale’s Gorr – The God Butcher takes over. He is on a revenge spree with a promise to kill every God. Why he does do that? The movie explains that to you in the very beginning. Thor is set to stop Gorr to attain his ultimate goal, and gets help from Jane Forster aka Lady Thor (Natalie Portman) and King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). Will he succeed? Well, even if you may know the answer, we are not going to give you spoilers. 

The film has its highs and lows, but it is nothing compared to the previous parts. The plot seems bleak and you may feel that many scenes could have been better. Some of the performances are wasted including Bale’s, and even though Waititi was catering to kids with this film, it may leave the older MCU fans a little disappointed. 

Performances

Nothing new can be said about Hemsworth and Portman. It’s their world and we are living in it, quite literally. Thompson has never missed a chance to showcase her full potential and Love and Thunder is no exception to that. She looks flawless and fierce as ever. The highlight for me, however, is Waititi. He may not be on the screen as anything more than rocks, but his character is sure to carve a special place in your heart.

The cameos and supporting cast included Russell Crowe, Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, with Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri, Matt Damon, Sam Neill, and Luke Hemsworth reprising their roles as Asgardian actors, respectively playing Loki, Odin, and Thor, and Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone joining them as an actress playing Hela and the director of the Asgardian play. All are a treat to watch in their small but impactful roles. 

Last but not the least, marking his MCU debut, Bale  is gruesome, evil and convincing as the God Butcher. You may not see him a lot on the screen, but he manages to make you hate him and love him at the same time. 

Direction and Music

Waititi knows what tickles his fans’ fancy and how to wrap it all up visually. He has made the film so appealing that you are bound to immerse yourself in the universe of the Asgardians. From little pockets of comic relief to some of the darker aspects — Waititi has made the transition effortlessly smooth. He has given the women of the film all the fuel they needed. Thompson and Portman’s scenes together are jovial and powerful, and the two together manage to energise the plot. Waititi’s imagination and satire are on full display, too. 

As the title of the film suggests, Thor: Love and Thunder glides on the sombre tones of “love” being the centre of everything including the script. 

There’s not much to write home about Barry Idoine’s cinematography — as a whole, the film appears directionless. The music scored by Michael Giacchino makes sense at some points and then leaves you questioning his vision in the rest.

What I Liked

Credit where credit is due, the film might not be an unforgettable one for fans, but it has bits and pieces to offer to everyone. What I liked the most were the comic elements that Waititi has smartly incorporated into the storyline. Set aside Foster and Thor’s love story, there’s a love triangle between Mjolnir, Thor and his axe Stormbreaker to keep you amused. It’s packed with laughs, thanks to Korg (yes I’m mentioning him again), who helps add a cute quotient to the film. 

What I Did Not Like

Christian Bale’s calibre is wasted and I am not able to make my peace with it, especially because we know what he is capable of. Not only does he have limited screen time, but the build-up that was created around his character seems unnecessary at last. I would have liked to see him slip into a more evil, gory and strong character for sure. 

Even in their most heart-wrenching scenes, the film lacks emotional depth, including in the scenes around the climax. There is no build-up to it or anything really to keep you on the edge of your seat. Simply put, if you have watched the trailer, you have watched the film. 

Final Verdict

MCU’s Phase 4 has been full of hits and misses, and Thor: Love and Thunder might stand somewhere in between. I’d go for the movie only because of my love for Thor, and of course to see Bale. At the moment, the only real reason to watch the fourth edition of this franchise, would be to stay apprised of what’s coming next. This goes without saying, but sit till the end of the film to see the two exciting post-credits that will make you feel hopeful about the future of MCU. 

(Featured Image Credits: Instagram @marveluniverse)