Thor: Love and Thunder ★★★
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe
Director Taika Waititi continues to break the mould of Marvel’s cookie-cutter franchise with his unique comedic perspective in Thor’s 4th outing: Love and Thunder.
Whilst Thors first couple of adventures served only to push the character along the path of his fellow Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok injected the MCU with a bottle of bubblegum flavoured rocket fuel labelled: WAITITI. With this, Thor became a god with a personality and a sense of humour - for better or for worse.
Now with Love and Thunder, Marvel doubles down on this recipe for success with a second shot in each arm - pitting the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) against a terrifying new villain in Gorr The God-Butcher (Christian Bale). To prevent his self-evident quest, Thor must team up with ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who now wields the mighty Mjolnir, to save the day and find his long awaited inner peace.
Whilst that second shot serves as a booster for those Ragnarok-ing good times, it does come with several side effects - most commonly an unrelenting barrage of jokes and an over-reliance on 80s music.
If you’re into that, great. If you’re not then your only saving Grace is the incredible portrayal by Christian Bale. No stranger to the superhero genre, Bale gives Gorr a demonically corrupted human quality that is equal parts terrifying and entertaining. Ironically it’s a quality that hasn’t properly been achieved since Heath Ledger’s Joker and a first for Marvel, it’s just a shame he’s not on screen for longer.
Hemsworth always proves himself worthy, here playing the character for the 8th time, but what is refreshing is seeing the return of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. After 9 years, she is now written out of the generic love interest box and truly acts as the heart of the movie.
It is for this reason Love and Thunder suffers from a tonal imbalance that pushes her character’s harsh real world tragedy amongst an endless sea of jokes - ultimately making you feel guilty for laughing either side of the subject.
But as always, originality should be commended when a director is allowed to express himself through any medium and Waititi is definitely cooking from a different recipe book. Only time will tell if it’s initial taste will last but for now, Thor: Love and Thunder will appeal to the majority, you may just have to explain what an orgy is to your kids.
Thor: Love and Thunder available in cinemas now