I love superhero movies. The characters are larger than life, the comic book stories on which they are based are iconic, and they usually offer the perfect vehicle for a little summer escapism. Usually. “Thor: Love and Thunder” is not only a disappointment, but it’s a bland, repetitive, and tedious action-adventure. I could sum up this review in just three little words: save your money.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is enjoying his semi-retirement. He’s called back into action when the murderous Gorr the Butcher (Christian Bale) is determined to exterminate every single god in the universe. The God of Thunder can’t do it alone, so Thor calls on his friends King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Taika Waititi) to aid him in battle. What gives Thor the biggest surprise is when his ex-girlfriend Jane (Natalie Portman) shows up — and she’s wielding his magical hammer, Mjölnir. The group of brave warriors travel into the shadow realm to save the village’s children and snuff out Gorr for good.
It’s a lame story that’s poorly executed. The one-liners meant to offer a bit of comic relief plummet with a crashing thud. Waititi is a distraction both as a voice actor and as a director. He penned the script along with co-writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, and it’s an absolute mess. First, their take on Thor is a god who is brawny and dumb, and it’s not amusing in the least. Second, the plot is virtually nonexistent and the storytelling is lazy. When you have to rely on the nostalgia of “Guns N’ Roses” songs (and subsequent hidden Easter Eggs) to keep folks interested, you’re doing something wrong.
The action sequences are fast-paced yet not at all exciting. The superhero fights are sapped of all energy and spark. Most feel pointless and tiresome, and it holds the movie back from being truly fun.
It’s sort of cool to see Jane as a “lady Thor,” as one character puts it, but there’s a scene where children are given the same powers. It’s like Oprah was visiting Asgard, screaming with the same enthusiasm as she had when giving away free cars to her audience: “you get godlike powers, and you get godlike powers, and even you get godlike powers!” When everyone can be as strong as Thor, it makes him less special.
The story goes into warm and fuzzy territory, with an awkward “she loves me, she loves me not” romantic tangle between Thor and Jane. The supporting characters discuss their relationships, too. Perhaps this was an attempt by Waititi to make them all seem more human, but I found these scenes to slow down an already plodding story.
It’s never a good sign when a highly anticipated, mega-budget summer movie is so dull that you’d rather take a nap, but that’s how I felt during “Thor Love and Thunder.” He’s one of my favorite Marvel characters of all time, but this is one of his worst outings in the MCU.