Mainstream Superhero Movies from a Different Angle: Is Thor: Love And Thunder worth watching?

This year we have a new reviewer, Gaëlle B. who has seen the latest movie about Thor.


Thor – Illustrator Laura V.

In July of this year, Marvel released another blockbuster film in theatres around the world, directed by acclaimed director Taika Waititi. The plot centres around the titular character, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who has since the last movies retired from the life of superheroism. A new enemy emerges as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), threatening to eradicate all gods in existence, so he must once again return to action with his allies Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Taika Waititi) and team up with old love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who is now capable of transforming into her own version of Thor.

A synopsis like this one is what most people read before watching, but I went into it blind solely for cinema air conditioning in the Netherlands. From the synopsis alone, the plot itself sounds horribly formulaic, even for a Marvel movie, but going into it without any real expectations gave me a more detailed experience without focusing on any one element.

Marvel films have built themselves a reputation as overly serious and generic, with some snarky quips thrown in for humour. I appreciate that this film took a different approach that toed the line between ridiculous comedy and more grounded drama. The characters build off of the generic plot fairly well with fun interactions, but they sober equally quickly when the tone gets appropriately serious and somewhat emotional.Even the romance, usually a tacked-on side plot to many superhero films, feels plausible in that the characters involved have chemistry and healthy conversations. Christian Bale plays a fantastic role as the villain of the movie, and he strikes a balance of intimidation and emotion that cements him as a relatively realistic and grounded character (despite the fantastical god-slaying). The action scenes are of course a plus as well, though not completely mind-blowing.

The reason that the serious moments come as a relief lies in the film’s biggest weakness: comedy overshadowing the plot. Waititi is known for sprinkling humorous elements into almost all of his works, which worked very well in the previous Thor film Thor: Ragnarok, which he also directed. Whereas much of the comedy from that film came from banter and characters’ realistic reactions to ridiculous situations (while still successfully serving impressive action and emotional scenes), this film leans too hard into the “wacky hijinks” aspect and has a tendency to pull the protagonist slightly out of character, making him act dense as a brick wall for the sake of comedy – in other words, some characters feel like caricatures of themselves at times, which sharply contrasts the serious moments in a way that makes the back-and-forth tonal shifts very jarring. Despite all this, a few solid jokes in the film do land well, and there is an interesting scene where actor Russell Crowe takes on the highly exaggerated, comedic and flamboyant role of Zeus, starkly contrasting his repertoire of gritty and serious films.

Overall, I found this movie overall much more enjoyable towards the end than the beginning, as the plot and groundedness begin to cement themselves. If you’re looking for a consistently serious or mellow tone to a superhero film, you will not find it in abundance in this movie. However, if you’re mostly looking for lighthearted fun while also appreciating emotional scenes, this one may be a good watch for you.