Having managed to leave its massive global fandom in wonderment through a slew of magnum opuses like Avengers Endgame, Thor Ragnarök, Captain America: Civil War and many more, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is seemingly undergoing a dull run presently, had all its hopes pinned on the return of the Asgardians as even the might of the Sorcerer Supreme failed in casting his charm on the plight of the production house.
Taika Waititi directorial Thor: Love and Thunder had a lot of promises on paper, however, succumbed to the woes the universe confronts in its fourth phase -- as little does it guarantee anything to viewers to make them throng to theatres.
Coming as a successor to 2017 mega-blockbuster, Thor: Ragnarok, Thor: Love and Thunder picks up from where Avengers: Endgame left the erstwhile Asgardian prince at. As Thor Odinson relinquished his responsibilities as the King of the elite Asgardian race and handed them over to his fellow Valkyrie warrior, he moved on to a path of self-discovery, pondering over his life decisions while helping out the Guardians of the Galaxy in their pursuits to preserve outer space.
Parallelly, a new nemesis going by the name Gorr that is on a vengeful voyage to eliminate all Gods is putting up a new headache for the God of Thunder. And meanwhile, the return of his old sweetheart, Jane Foster, who apparently harnessed the power of Thor’s mighty Mjolnir brings out new twists to the superhero actioner.
But will Thor emerge victorious in his conflict with Gorr: The God Butcher? That constitutes the remainder of the film.
Christ Hemsworth as Thor is in massive form. His transition from the mighty God to a person in search of his true self served a purpose to the character arc and he easily constitutes himself as the key propelling force that carries the film ahead. Supporting Chris Hemsworth are the occasional cameos of Chris Pratt, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Russel Crowe and some surprising guest appearances who leave their mark behind.
The USP of the film is, however, the antagonist, Gorr portrayed by Christian Bale, who easily outshone almost the entire remainder of the cast. Although the film is set in a light-hearted tone, there are certain moments by Bale which has the tendency to leave the viewers emotional and at certain moments, even rooting for him.
Performance-wise, Christian Bale’s Gorr can be placed among the top 5 marvel antagonists of all time, hands down.
The second factor that captivates the film can be credited to the visualization. Whether it be the grandeur and the raving colours in the Omnipotent City or the greyish creepiness in the Shadow Realm, one can never fail to get their eyes off the screen.
Thirdly, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster aka the Mighty Thor contributed her fullest to her part in the film. At certain crucial junctures, the entire onus of carrying the plot ahead fell on Portman’s shoulders but she manages to get her part right and perfect.
However, the screenplay not focusing strongly on Foster’s character arc might dampen the viewers’ feelings to root for Lady Thor.
Perhaps it is because the benchmark set by its predecessor, Thor: Ragnarok, was stupendously high, Love and Thunder might come across to many as failing to deliver up to the expectations. Thrill and Goosebumps take a backseat as romance and fun are the driving force when Thor returns to the big screens for a fourth outing. The screenplay juggles between fun and romance so much that it fails eventually to gain a proper footing, thereby leaving the audience with mixed feelings.
Secondly, the characterisation is where Thor: Love and Thunder falters in delivering. The movie kicks off with some stellar action scenes with Thor and the Guardians at the helm, however, after the first couple of scenes, there is little to no mention of the Guardians of the Galaxy, though, at certain critical junctures, one will expect a crashing entrance from them, however, seldom does it happen.
Continuing on the characterisation part, both Christian Bale and Natalie Portman put forth praiseworthy performances, however, their character arc was a tad bit weak that when the end credits roll, one would hardly feel to regard Gorr as a formidable foe to the God of Thunder or as if Jane got the closure she deserved. A stronger plot would have served both these iconic performances the justice they deserved.
Thirdly, the music department failed to replicate the spell cast by Ragnarok as the background scores during high-octane action sequences or romance scenes can be considered subpar.
All in all, Thor: Love and Thunder had the potential to be an elixir to revive a crumbling cinematic universe back to its erstwhile glory, however, by oscillating between two contrasting narrative techniques, Thor 4 fails to guarantee rewatchable vibes to viewers.