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Thor: Love and Thunder
Review by Rich Cline |
dir Taika Waititi
scr Taika Waititi, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
prd Kevin Feige, Brad Winderbaum
with Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Jaimie Alexander, Taika Waititi, Simon Russell Beale, Chris Pratt, Luke Hemsworth, Matt Damon, Melissa McCarthy
release US/UK 7.Jun.22
22/Australia Marvel 2h05
Is it streaming?
In Marvel's first full-on slapstick adventure, Thor has a wildly ridiculous series of adventures as he takes on a foe who is fuelled by grief. There isn't much more to the story, so the weight of the film is carried by the charismatic cast, each of whom is adept at comedy, drama and action. If only filmmaker Taika Waititi had added an edgy bite to raise stakes and deepen themes.
After swaggering around with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor (Hemsworth) has an identity crisis when he returns to Agard, where Valkyrie (Thompson) is now king and Jane (Portman) now wields his hammer Mjolnir as "Mighty Thor". But the bitter Gorr (Bale) is bumping off gods using the Necrosword, and he has just kidnapped a group of Asgardian children. So Thor springs into action alongside Jane, Valkyrie and his stone sidekick Korg (Waititi). But their appeal to Zeus (Crowe) for help doesn't go as planned, and their face-off with Gorr reveals his nefarious master plan.
As depicted in a prologue, the plot hinges on Gorr's feeling that the gods abandoned him. So he yearns for revenge while setting out to revive his dead daughter, even if he destroys the universe in the process. Meanwhile, Jane is facing a terminal cancer diagnosis, finding strength in Mjolnir. These are the only resonant elements in the script, while Waititi finds the strongest relationship on-screen between Thor and his new hammer Stormbreaker, which gets amusingly jealous when he pines for the equally attention-seeking Mjolnir.
Even with witty sight gags in every shot, the actors find hilarious ways to steal focus. An extra-beefy Hemsworth is terrific as a god with a wounded ego who rises to the occasion, finding terrific chemistry with both Portman and Thompson in fierce roles as women who certainly don't need him. Bale brings some intriguingly wrenching angles to Gorr that transcend his rather simplistic narrative. And the flurry of smaller roles and cameos add continually colourful touches, with Crowe especially memorable as the mincing, petulant Zeus.
Adding witty touches to the expected impressive visuals, Waititi's irreverent approach refreshingly punctures Marvel's usual over-serious tone. But even with such lively and engagingly messy characters, it's still a problem that huge action set-pieces drive the film. This leaves more interesting relationships and thematic issues badly under-explored. So while there's a lot of superficial fun to be had watching this movie (and no doubt rewatching it as well), there's very little to take away with you.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2022 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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