“Kids, get your popcorn out. Let me tell you the story of the Space Viking, Thor Odinson.”Korg
Thor: Ragnarok was a vibrant breath of fresh air in the stiffly solemn world of Thor movies. With Taika Waititi returning to direct, Love and Thunder maintains this approach to colourful, fast-paced storytelling (with entire planets apparently ending up on the cutting-room floor). Its themes hew closely to its title, Thor grappling with the idea of Jane taking up the mantle of Mighty Thor serving as a metaphor for navigating friendship with exes (and axes). Natalie Portman was vocal about the misuse of Jane Foster in the early Thor films, but this script provides the character with agency, as well as emotional and comedic range. By contrast the Guardians of the Galaxy play a surprisingly perfunctory role at the start of the film, primarily for Quill to nudge Thor toward finding a family of his own. Like Multiverse of Madness, the film suffers from another single-minded villain, despite the God Butcher’s moving introduction showing the root of his Kratos-like rage. At its strongest, Love and Thunder‘s visual effects take us to some fantastic locations, from the gilded opulence of Omnipotence City to the desaturated Shadow Realm with Sin City splashes of colour, whilst the action is set to a couple of suitably electrifying Guns n’ Roses songs. The result is lightweight family entertainment that underscores the MCU Phase 4’s lack of direction with a half dozen standalone movies and countless hours of Disney+ TV shows not building toward any visible greater purpose.
MCU Phase 4: Black Widow | Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings | Eternals | Spider-man: No Way Home | Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness | Thor: Love and Thunder | Black Panther: Wakanda Forever