Thor: Love and Thunder (2022, Taika Waititi)

The fourth Thor film isn’t as good as the third but is still better than the first two.

Ragnarok is, in my opinion, one of the very best MCU movies and the shortlist of the best Marvel movies. So it’s a (relatively) high bar. And Love and Thunder doesn’t meet that bar, though it does try for much of the film to strike a similar tone. Much of the time, it works, though not always.

After the serious opener, to introduce the bad guy, the film gets off to a good, silly start with a recap of what’s been happening in Thor’s life. This might annoy me normally, but it’s handled well. I am of the opinion that films featuring Thor need to be silly because the character is silly. And much of the film has a similar silly tone that works more often than it doesn’t.

Where the film struggles to match the previous movie is in two ways: first, the tone isn’t consistent and the film just isn’t as consistently funny as the previous film; second, there are some weird choices.

At times, the film feels like a mashup of Ragnarok with the first two films – the stuff with with Natalie Portman often feels like it belongs in the first two movies and is out of touch with the tone of the film. And when those scenes are played for laughs…well, they just don’t work as well.

There are some weird choices, and the weirdest is Russell Crowe. Crowe is playing Zeus, doing what I can only suppose is a bad Greek accent (which breaks into his native Australian once or twice), and absolutely mugging. When Goldblum did his mid-movie antagonist thing, it worked in part because we weren’t expecting it and because he was just doing his thing. But this thing doesn’t work. For the entire time he was on screen I was wondering about the meetings that resulted in this decision.

But I laughed more than I do in most Marvel films, and I mostly wasn’t annoyed. (I was annoyed by the endless expansion of the mythology.) Which is a victory for any Marvel film.


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