Thor: Love and Thunder shows Marvel might have lost their Spark
Marvel's Thor: Love and Thunder released on July 8 globally as the only Marvel solo superhero project to receive a fourth instalment. Featuring one of the most beloved heroes of the franchise, the film was presumed to be pivotal in establishing Thor's presence in the buildup of MCU's Phase Four plan. However, the movie falls short on many fronts, providing the fans an empty and disappointing interpretation of some of Marvel's most exciting comic runs in the cheesiest way possible, and making the movie feel like a parody rather than a romantic comedy.
The newest Thor movie picks up from after the events of Avengers: Endgame where Thor joins the Guardians of the Galaxy. On a mission to find himself, Thor confronts Gorr the God Butcher, an unnerving villain on a god killing spree, and also reunites with his previous love interest Jane Foster, now the worthy mighty Thor.
Structured identically to its predecessor, very little separates Love and Thunder from Ragnarok in terms of plot composition and progression. The exact tropes play out in parts of the opening and final acts, and in the majority of the seemingly unnecessary second act.
However, while Ragnarok succeeded in entertaining the viewers by presenting Thor in a new light as a more relaxed character who can switch between being humorous and serious based on the situation, Love and Thunder shows him as a goofball incapable of reading the room.
The storytelling by director Taika Waititi's own admission is very childish in nature. Some plot points are barely touched upon, some are oversimplified to the point of lacking any coherence, and some are just left to the viewer's interpretation, making a lot of occurrences seem either too convenient or too meaningless.
Action scenes are few and far between with meagre close combat and mostly focusing on special effects. Similarly, a lack of exposition is evident which makes the acts flow much faster and therefore, lacking impact.
Comedy was undoubtedly the Achilles' heel of the movie. Jokes were thrown all over the runtime with only a few sticking. Repetitive forced humour made even the chuckle-worthy gags irksome. The writers did not omit their cringy one-liners even during the gravest situations, making them feel weightless and difficult to take seriously.
Even with all its shortcomings, the movie manages to keep the characters compelling. It is certainly sad to see Thor being reduced to such an ignorant individual, but Chris Hemsworth manages to brilliantly make his superhero persona entertaining. Natalie Portman's Jane Foster gets some well deserved screen time and she makes her role as a newly established hero very much relatable.
Meanwhile Tessa Thompson performs sufficiently without bringing anything exceptional to the table, and Taika Waititi often overstays his role as Korg with recurring narrations. The best performance has to be of Christian Bale though, who excels in selling Gorr as a creepy and fearsome entity with depth to his motivation. Sadly a lack of prior development makes his character feel one dimensional.
Thor: Ragnarok may not have been flawless, but it was endearing to the fans for its fresh take on the character of Thor and his paradigm shift towards his responsibilities. Love and Thunder on the other hand does very little to differentiate itself from its prequel and fails to narrate a riveting story that would leave a lasting impression on the viewer. It is a mediocre attempt at baiting viewers with fanservice, having one of the weakest stories from Marvel derived from a combination of otherwise much better written comic runs.
With Phase four in full swing, Love and Thunder has very little to contribute in Marvel's arsenal with its lacklustre storytelling, but again the same can be said for most of their other newer projects.