Without a shadow of a doubt, Thor: Love and Thunder is a very funny film. Everyone knew this was going to be the case with a hilarious writer, actor and director involved in the form of Taika Waititi. His characters are brought to life with a youthful vigour that the MCU desperately needs at this moment in time. His punchy writing that rarely lets up and tonally he creates a film that is easy for everyone to enjoy.
The actors own it too. It’s clear that all parties involved were having a fantastic time, and to see Hemsworth don the axe, hammer and cape again is always a pleasure. After all, Thor and the Guardian’s of the Galaxy are the MCU’s hottest properties right now. So it’s a shame that this time felt wasted as the credits rolled…
The issues with Thor: Love and Thunder lie in how the film feels shackled by the MCU formula. You’ll be left with a feeling that Waititi wanted to really push the boat out, but couldn’t quite bring it all together in a satisfying way.
Sure, the film is really funny. But it’s a tragic story about Jodie Foster… Jane Fonda… no… Jane Foster! Thor’s ex. She’s battling a life-threatening illness. Thor has to grapple with that and come to terms with his past. At the same time, Christian Bale is grappling the loss of his daughter as a totally believable villain who seeks nothing but revenge. The content is tantamount to what could be the MCUs most effecting and powerful films sprinkled with light-hearted fun.
Instead, much like the rest of MCU’s Phase 4, Love and Thunder feels a little rudderless. It presents lots of cool, whacky ideas that don’t quite work together to further the story efficiently and effectively. Instead, they’re thrown together for comic effect and the meaning behind it is often lost. This unfortunately results in a finale that doesn’t quite hit the mark, even if it’s ‘fun’.
But there is a simplicity to the plot which can be forgiven because of how funny it actually is. Waititi has made another awesome Thor movie, but it fails to ever hit the emotional JoJo Rabbit heights that I think he’d have liked to.
It’s not his fault. The MCU formula demands more levity from him and ultimately weighs it down. This results in a wild ride that feels tonally scattergun for its own good. The MCU needs to learn from both its successes and the success from a certain DC-shaped company across the street.