MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Thor – Love and Thunder’

Published July 6, 2022, 7:18 AM

by AJ Siytangco

Thor Facebook

Let’s be honest here, the biggest hook of the trailer of Thor: Love and Thunder when it first came out wasn’t the lasers, or Thor wearing a leather vest reminiscent of his fellow comic book hammer-wielder, Thunderstrike. It wasn’t even the shot of Jane Foster’s Thor wielding Mjolnir. (Ok, maybe. That was cool) The biggest hook that got the heart’s of everyone over a certain age racing, were the opening chords of Gun’s and Roses’ Sweet Child o’ Mine ringing through.

James Gunn was the first to so intertwine a Marvel movie’s soundtrack to the film itself, weaving 70’s tunes from the likes of Blue Swede, and Redbone into a story of a mismatched group of social outcasts who end up saving the galaxy.

After that, Taika Waititi amped it up with Led Zepplin’s The Immigarnt Song for Thor: Ragnarok. And now, another notch higher, Sweet Child. Not since Hooked on a Feeling had a song been so associated with an MCU movie.

The soundtrack, heavy with Guns and Roses music, compliments the colorful visuals amazingly well. The palette is unrestrained, for the most part, with in your face saturated hues, and the movie on a whole pulls from an 80’s and heavy rock band aesthetic.

If the Adam Project captured the whimsical nature of childhood sci-fi like ET or Flight of the Navigator, Love and Thunder rips into the present day the noisy, unapologetically energetic kind of sci-fi/fantasy. All in all the vibe is very Flash Gordon, or perhaps a Heavy Metal magazine come to life, complete with amazing sunset silhouette shots, but minus the scantily clad warrior women.

Chris Hemsworth is his usual Thor self here. After having helped save the universe again back in Avenger’s Endgame, we find that Thor has been hanging with the Guardians of The Galaxy (Who all delightfully make an appearance in this film), trying to find purpose again.

It is fun and fitting that the two most musically driven movie series intersect, and the interaction
between the cast is hilarious.

Natalie Portman reprises her role as Dr. Jane Foster but this time, also gets a chance to play the hero as Lady Thor. Tessa Thompson also returns to rule over Asgardia, as does Waititi himself as the voice of Korg. Joining them in a special appearance is Russell Crowe, taking a humorous turn as the mighty Zeus himself, Odin’s Olympian counterpart.

From left: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Christian Bale (Thor Facebook)

But the breakaway performance has to be by Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher. Well known for his dedication and body transformations, dropping and gaining weight for roles seemingly at will, Bale has done it again to play the gaunt but menacing villain of the story.

As his name may have hinted, Gorr wants all the gods dead, and the film takes its time to set up why. There’s a lot of sympathy for him, thanks in no small measure to Bale’s acting. Gorr has been called by some the best Marvel villain on screen. And while that’s arguable, he is one of the more terrifying and creepy ones in a while.

He stands in dark contrast to the rest of the film. The scenes with Gorr are devoid of oversaturated color and levity. Instead they are dim, the sudden lack of saturated colors pressing down like a weight on your shoulders, driving home the seriousness of his mission and the gravity of the threat that he poses.

Thor has come a long way from his initial introduction as the spoiled Odinson, next in line to the throne of Asgard. Many have expressed dislike for the way his story has unfolded, citing his destiny was to rule in Odin’s place. (Everyone’s got an opinion, of course, especially fans). But by the end of this film, I think the creative team has brought Thor’s story forward and to a point in his millennium-spanning life where even the disgruntled fans will be appeased.

The biggest complaint there could most likely be of Love and Thunder is that there wasn’t enough of it. At just shy of two hours, it is one of the shortest MCU films. Many more moments, whether epic, colorful, dismal or comical, certainly ended up on the cutting room floor.

There were even reports of Peter Dinklage reprising his role as Eitri the Dwarf, among other cameos and goodies we will never see. Or will we? Thor Love and Thunder possibly holds the distinction of being the only film wherein the fans are now demanding an extended director’s cut even before the theatrical version has even been released. There are, after all, scenes in the trailer that did not survive till the final cut. There may yet be a chance. Perhaps Disney Plus will carry the mythical four-hour original version. Or perhaps a special Blu-Ray release. We must wait therefore for the gods at Disney and Marvel to hear the prayers of their faithful, and grant them their wish.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s theatrical version is out July 6. Grab your popcorn and be ready to stomp your feet and headbang in your seat. It’s going to be epic.