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Thor: Love and Thunder ••1/2

Movie Greg Scott
Thor: Love and Thunder

SPOILERS WITHIN

Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor_Love_and_Thunder_poster

Scott, I hate to bring up a “THOR” subject, but it’s time to review the latest offering from the MCU.

scott
(Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond)

Gad Zeus! You’re right. Let’s get to it:

We’re introduced to Gorr: a poor father trekking the desert trying to save his daughter. She dies in his arms. He then confronts his god who laughs at him. He then kills the god with a special sword and decides to kill all gods (ahem… like Thor). Oh, and take Thor’s new axe (Stormbreaker) to open a portal that gives him “one wish” which he will use to kill all gods.

And Gorr’s killing spree of the gods begins. Thor, meanwhile, is sent a distress signal that his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Jane Foster, is dying from an untreatable stage four cancer. Thor is then dispatched to Asgard where a Gorr versus Thor confrontation appears inevitable. Gorr flees and Thor recruits an army of gods to vanquish Gorr.

“Thor: Love and Thunder” comes hot on the heels of “Thor: Ragnarok” (which I called “Thor: Fragglerock”). It’s directed by the same person (Taika Waititi) with the same visual aesthetic. An aesthetic I liken to someone eating a bag of Skittles and throwing up on the big screen. Like it’s predecessor, “Thor: L&T” doesn’t care much about logic or plot. It’s a true comic book treatment with plot holes, magic that is convenient to the plot, and slapstick humor (Thor being disrobed in public and slave women fainting at his prowess). It is, arguably, more nonsensical than “Thor: Ragnarok” and just as disposable.

It appears to be an opportunity to extend the franchise and could be called “Thor: The Next Generation.” It allows Thor to take on a daughter without all the messiness of sex with a human. And it introduces a female successor to the Thor name.

Natilie Portman’s character inexplicably takes on the power of Thor with his broken hammer (Mjolnir). This appears to either slow or stop her cancer. This allows a Thor-like woman character to take the screen. But for some reason she has to give it up to save the universe and she dies in Thor’s arms. So Jane Foster gets a nice send-off instead of fading into MCU history.

Valkyrie is there too. She’s left over from the previous film and doesn’t do much but is good at grimacing and flexing. And director Taika Waititi takes a turn at being on-screen as Korg, albeit in CGI make-up.

Scott, you often have said that you have to “turn your brain off” to enjoy some movies. In this case I turned my brain off in self-defense. Because trying to make any sense of this incomprehensible plot would have caused a subdural hematoma. What a terrible, terrible $200M waste of time and money.

Greg, there is good news and bad news. First the good news: Thor: Love and Thunder is a comedy film cut from the assembly line cloth of Marvel Comics. Now the bad news: Thor: Love and Thunder is another comedy film cut from the assembly line cloth of Marvel Comics.

If you’ve followed my reviews of previous Marvel films, you’ll notice what an ambivalent hypocrite I am. In nearly every review, I lament how predictable and bland these movies are, yet it’s inevitable that I give each film a rating of 4 or 5 Reels. What gives? (Besides my integrity, of course)

I think film critic Richard Brody at The New Yorker says it best in his review of this latest Thor: “The film passes through the nervous system without delivering any sustenance or even leaving a residue.” To this I say a big yes. This movie is a big ball of colorful cotton candy fluff – it tastes good but leaves you wanting something real to eat.

Greg, you’re right about this movie’s visual aesthetic. Skittles vomit pretty much sums it up. The vivid splashes of color are a throwback to shows and films from the late 1960s (think “Laugh-In”). We’re treated to great visuals ranging from Chris Hemsworth’s muscles to Russell Crowe’s flab. And I’m grateful for that flab, as it makes me feel better about myself while at the same time serving as a nice metaphor for the flabbiness of this film.

So let’s talk about male body image. Did you know… Chris Hemsworth abstains from water for three days before a film shoot? Not completely of course. But he purposely dehydrates himself so that his skin pulls taught over his rippling muscles. This is (IMHO) worse than photoshopping. This is a dangerous physical activity that mere mortals should not attempt to get the “Thor” look. And the scene where Thor is disrobed and women faint could not be attempted in a gender role-reversal. It is a scene that belongs in another decade – or even century.

I don’t have much more to add to this review. Aside from the original “Thor” movie, these one-off films are pretty disposable. There’s nothing of substance and are largely forgettable. Chris Hemsworth is a good sport about it all, but I think even he may be thinking he’s getting too old for this role. And with the roll-out of the next phases of the MCU at the latest ComicCon, it looks like the old guard is on its way out. All I can say is I hope you had the time of your life – and good riddance (that’s a Green Day reference for you, Scott). I give “Thor: Love and Thunder” 2 Reels out of 5 for all the excellent albeit gaudy visuals. And a reasonable 3 Heroes out of 5 because Natalie Portman’s character is at least worthy of note.

You make some good points as always, Greg. But what’s wrong with women swooning over a dehydrated man’s pumped up body? It’s about time women get a chance to debase themselves in the way that men have been doing for millennia. Personally I was hoping they’d swoon over Russell Crowe’s flab, but that’s my issue.

And thank you for giving this movie lower ratings than any MCU movie we’ve ever reviewed. It’s getting to the point that I’m longing for a DC universe movie to come out – at least DC comics incorporates some gravitas into their stories. Love and Thunder isn’t a bad film; it’s just lazy in its approach by assuming all we want is brainless superhero comedy instead of a real story that we can sink our teeth into. So 3 Reels out of 5 from me, and 3 Hero points out of 5, which is as high as 3 because of the Crowe-man’s flab.

Movie Greg Scott
Thor: Love and Thunder