I’m late to the game on this one, mostly because I wasn’t really impressed by Thor Ragnarok. But, how does Love and Thunder hold up?
What’s Love and Thunder about?
At the end of Avengers End Game, Thor leaves his fellow Asgardians on Earth, with Valkyrie in charge, then heads off into space with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
His father, mother, and brother are dead, and he’s broken up with and/or was dumped by the love of his life, Jane Foster.
So, he tries to find himself, much to the chagrin of the Guardians because he mostly gets them in trouble but doesn’t contribute. When Thor learns about a new villain killing gods, he decides to act, alone. The Guardians are fine with that.
Thor goes after this shadowy bad guy, and he ends up back on Earth. Surprisingly, a female Thor is waiting for him: Jane Foster…
The previous movie, Thor Ragnarok, had a somewhat clashing mix of humor and dark serious matters. The Asgardians faced genocide by an evil tyrant Goddess while Thor jokes around with the Hulk.
Love and Thunder leans into the humor even further but manages to avoid the disconnect of the previous movie. That’s not to say the movie doesn’t tackle some serious issues. It does, and it brings up the serious issue of how to face your death and the deaths of your loved ones. But the humor is actually integral to that issue, which is good.
That said, at times the humor goes too far. The beginning of the movie leans hard on satire and veers into absurdism. Thor is not just oblivious, he’s painted as a caricature of himself, who ignorantly walks over his friends’ feelings.
That can work, as it did for George Oscar Bluth in Arrested Development. But Thor is not Gob Bluth. He isn’t a clueless narcissist; he’s a hero who had a character arc through which he learned to care about those around him.
It’s good that super hero movies don’t take themselves too seriously, but Love and Thunder takes it a bit too far. The movie is almost a lampoon of itself, which is awkward. Especially given the wider and more serious Marvel Cinematic Universe the movie is a part of, and the legacy of the other movies with Thor that preceded it.
I liked Thor Love and Thunder. It wasn’t a great movie, but it was good fun. As was Thor Ragnarok. I’d say I like Love and Thunder more than I did Ragnarok. I feel the writers did a better job with the villain than in Ragnarok. His motivations are clear from the outset, and relatable.
And even though Love and Thunder leans into absurdism and satire, as a whole it more or less works.
If you want an movie that is almost a lampoon of the superhero genre, but with a serious undertone, then Love and Thunder is the movie for you. If you want pure comedy, or pure seriousness, this movie might not work for you.
And, more in general, my Marvel fatigue continues to lead to diminishing returns on movies like this. It’s fun, but it is also more of the same.