Chris Hemsworth as Thor in a still
  • Release Date: 08/07/2022
  • Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson
  • Director: Taika Waititi

Thor — too much love, too much comedy, and too many blunders

— Ambar Chatterjee

Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok changed Thor and the way his films were approached and made in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was a roaring hit and it ensured that anyone who watched it in theaters had a fun time with the characters and had just enough action to justify the character traits associated with the God of Thunder. Interestingly, Thor as a character in the infinity saga was a lot more complex, bruised, and constantly trying to redeem himself for having failed numerous times to do things that would ensure the survival of the world as it is. He was constantly at the receiving end of tragedies even though he had all the power in the world to annihilate planets.

This not only made him a much more relatable character but also allowed Chris Hemsworth to be someone more than just eye candy. I was hoping that Taika Waititi would carry the character forward in the same line and also infuse his wicked sense of comedy into the mix thereby ensuring that the audiences would have just as much fun as they had with Ragnarok. Unfortunately for me and other fans of Thor, that was not the case.

Since the events of Avengers: Endgame, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy and has shed his extra kilos to carve out a physic that is more in line with the image of the god of thunder. He has also made himself believe that the guardians love him when in reality they can’t wait to get rid of them. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Thor’s ex and a brilliant physicist is diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is then summoned by what remains of Mjölnir to the refuge of what remains of Asgard and bound to the weapon. Following this, she is granted the same power as Thor.

Gorr (Christian Bale), a devout god-fearing man is transformed into a sinister killer of gods when his daughter dies in his arms and the Gods don’t help him save her even after his repeated and earnest prayers. Gorr is chosen by a weapon known as the Necrosword that corrupts his mind against the Gods and gives him enough power to kill any God. Gorr sets out on a path of revenge and redemption and it is only a matter of time before he lands up in the tiny settlement where the remaining Asgardians live. It is now up to Thor and Jane to stop Gorr and save the ones they love and care for.

Natalie Portman as Jane in a still

There are many issues with this film that don’t allow it to be as good as it should have been.

Too much comedy that meddles with the inherent seriousness of important sequences 

While it is obvious that a film of this nature will have its share of comedy and it is this comedy that keeps the proceedings breezy and enjoyable but when you are dealing with a serious story and genuine emotional stakes that must have depth and seriousness to make some impact on the audiences, it is best to keep the situational comedy at bay and be in line with the spirit of what is required in the particular sequence. Taika Waititi should have known this all too well because he hit the perfect balance between comedy and tragedy in his film, Jojo Rabbit. Unfortunately, in this film, his unquenchable desire to be funny every five minutes and make his characters say or do something uproariously funny just as frequently, robs the film of any seriousness that it should have had. The result is almost every serious sequence turns out pointless and has no emotional weight. Most importantly, every punch that the director tries to land using serious emotional beats falls flat and doesn’t impact the audience in any way.

Christian Bale is wasted in a character that could have been great

The initial few minutes of the film feel impactful. These are the only moments that are not watered down by unnecessary comedy. The manner of Bale’s transformation into Gorr the God Butcher was wonderful but then he is sidelined and pushed back into being nothing more than a side attraction. Every time he appears on screen, the film lights up and you understand how wonderful the film could have been if it was about a clash between Thor and Gorr but that is not the case. Gorr is more like a reason to have Thor and Jane storm into each other and see if their romance has any sparks left. That is the biggest tragedy of the film. It is something that we often experience here in Bollywood when directors, whose forte is making romantic films, make historical – war films and we end up with films like Jodha AkbarBajirao Mastani, and even the more recent Prithviraj (that was directed by someone who has a lot of knowledge of history).  

Unremarkable action sequences 

A film like Thor: Love and Thunder should be brimming with innovative action sequences and laudable hero moments that the audiences can carry with them even after their screening is over. Unfortunately, the action sequences here will constantly remind you of all that you had experienced in Ragnarok and add nothing novel or remarkable to it. The forced comedy in these sequences adds to the problem and would alienate the ones who were expecting to enjoy the action and the spectacle. The result is predictable and boring action sequences that might impress someone new to this kind of film but will disappoint the lover of the genre.

The characters of Thor and Jane   

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Thor plays second fiddle to Jane who has a ticking clock running against her. She is constantly racing against time and her character is filled with a sense of urgency that forces her to push forward in almost every sequence. Thor, on the other hand, is a little laid back and has the time to not only get into awkward arguments about who left who with Jane but also has to deal with a fit of brewing jealousy that has cropped up between his two weapons. All this felt extremely childish and somewhat irritating to me and brought down the value and heroism of a character like Thor. Jane, on the other hand, felt a lot more real and heroic as she was dealing with a real-life-and-death situation and was still standing strong.

Natalie Portman is a fine actress and she puts her best foot forward as the character. Unfortunately, she cannot make up for the terrible writing that her character is stuck with and that leads to her essay ending up not as impressive as it should have been. Ditto can be said about Chris Hemsworth who is a victim of poor writing of the character and suffers throughout. I wish Waititi had taken the character forward in the same manner as the Russo Brothers envisioned him to be in the infinity war saga.   

Christian Bale as Gorr The God Butcher

Final Words 

There are some supporting characters too like Russel Crowe’s Zeus that serve no purpose and only pile on the runtime. The film’s logic goes for a toss now and then and unlike some of the other better Marvel films, the director doesn’t even try to justify certain things that happen. Suspension of disbelief is dependent on made-up reasons and this film lacks these reasons sorely in some of the most important sequences where justification was necessary. My expectation from the film was also a major reason for me not liking it as much as maybe a few forgiving souls and fans of the character might. This is strictly an average effort from a director as talented as Waititi. I don’t blame the stars or the technical people. This is all on Waititi. He should have known to choose a better story. He should have known better than to give enough time to his most important character. He should have known better to concentrate on what aroused the audience’s interest and sustained it. He should have known better to have given enough depth and character to his protagonist. He didn’t and so the film didn’t work for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.


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