Directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Lover and Thunder was eagerly anticipated by MCU fans who longed for some long term progression in the overarching MCU storylines. Memories of Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy were prevalent and the combination of the two created excitement across this MCU multiverse.
As the movie opens, we meet a struggling father and daughter making their way through a desert wasteland. Quickly identified as Gorr (Christian Bale) and his daughter Love (India Hemsworth – yep!) we witness first hand, Gorr plight to save his daughter. Calls to his God Rapu (Jonny Brugh) go unanswered and soon Love is laid to rest in the desert. Leaving Gorr alone and upset his God ignored him.
Feeling his anger, the Necrosword calls out to Gorr and leads him to Rapu’s location. Gorr is shocked at Rapu’s arrogance and realises the time he has worshipped this god has been for nothing. Gorr uses the necrosword to slay Rapu. They develop a symbiotic like relationship with the sword giving Gorr the power to manipulate shadows and produce monsters, at a cost. Each uses curses him with impending death. Gorr does not fear death though as he will be reunited with his daughter – so he sets out to kill all Gods before he dies, thus becoming Gorr the God Butcher!
Meanwhile, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is working with the Guardians of the Galaxy. We are brought up to speed on Thor by Korg (Waititi) who is telling some children the legend of the space Viking in a manner not to different from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome! Korg lists all of Thor’s accomplishments. Suddenly the Guardians receive a distress signal from Sif (Jaimie Alexander). Thor leaves the Guardians and goes to help Sif where she warns him New Asgard is Gorr’s next target. They set off immediately to warn New Asgard.
Back on Earth, Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has been diagnoses with terminal cancer and with no treatments working she decides to head to New Asgard in the hope that Mjolnir will heal her. As it turns out, Thor accidently told Mjolner to protect Jane many years ago so the hammer reforms in order to keep that promise. This bonding with Mjolner proves interesting when Gorr attacks and Thor and Jane reunite and team up!
Thor: Lover and Thunder has a lot of pieces but somehow they do not all flow together as well as they should. Talk of a four-hour director’s cut which includes cut scenes from Jeff Goldblum as the Collector, Peter Dinklage as Eitri, and Lena Headey as an undisclosed character could explain this. Waititi is negative about a director’s cut stating “if it was any good it would be in the movie” so it appears we will never see it, but it leaves us to wonder if even the smallest parts of it could add more to the movie?
To be clear though, there is nothing wrong with what we have, although a bit more Guardians of the Galaxy would not have gone amiss. Acting wise, Hemsworth looks huge as Thor this time around and Portman has clearly put in the gym time herself, and Bale delivers big time as Gorr, it just seems it is the plot area that weakens the movie. Whilst the introductions of other God’s works fine, it is more Jane’s storyline that deserves more emphasis. I get not wanting to dwell on things, but her illness is a big part of her relationship with Mjolner and seems rushed along slightly apart from a few key plotmarking scenes.
Verdict: 7/10. For a franchise that set such a high standard for itself Thor: Love and Thunder disappoints. There is still lots to enjoy, including a mid and after-credits scene that set up for the future. It just feels like something is missing. Perhaps expectations were set too high? The action is good, the villain is scary and lots of old and new characters pop up for your enjoyment but somehow it does not seem enough. Also, it seems Guns ‘n’ Roses may have made more money from the movie than Disney! This is super space Viking madness for all the family to enjoy that just needs to think about how much it wants to fit in and let breathe.