That feeling you get from exploring a good story. A bookish podcast discussing and reviewing books and films as I journey through my ever growing TBR backlog and watchlist.

Thor : Love and Thunder

Will the latest installment in the MCU finally regain the enjoyment of the films PRE Endgame or will we see The God of Thunder added to the rapidly growing pile of misses from the once mighty Marvel Studios?

Thor : Love and Thunder

Directed by : Taika Waititi
Cinematography : Barry Idoine
Starring : Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale
Marvel Studios | Kevin Fiege Productions
PG-13
1h59m

First off, let me set the record straight. I’ve been a LONGTIME fan of ALL comic book movies because it’s just so cool to finally see our favorite characters and stories represented on the big screen. Even better is that for a solid decade, Marvel and the MCU had done it WELL.

I went into Thor : Love and Thunder feeling very hopeful. I loved Thor : Ragnarok and figured this next installment would be at least on par with that. That was the hope anyways.

But at the end of the day, I was left feeling as if I had just witnessed yet another swing and miss from the once mighty MCU. The potential was certainly there, the execution…well that’s where things fell apart for me.

Obviously, with this film being so new, I’m not going to be giving any spoilers here – so you can read on feeling safe in that regard. So disclosure out of the way – let’s talk about this film real quick.

When I left the theater all I could think was “Well, it didn’t TOTALLY suck.”.

And that’s certainly not praise we all hoped for. Frankly, I thought this film was one of the better films the MCU has put out since Endgame(the last Spider-Man film was pretty enjoyable IMO). But, that isn’t saying much.

While Thor : Love and Thunder DOES have some pretty fun fight/action sequences, a killer soundtrack, and overall looks pretty good in terms of the cinematography, the film suffers greatly from being a product of the MCU Money-Making machine.

The opening sequence when we are introduced to Gorr(Christian Bale) really had me hoping for the best. I loved that opening, it felt ominous, sinister, and like maybe… just maybe… we’d have a real threat for our heroes. That opening sequence left me wanting some sort of dark fantasy film featuring that vibe and feel.

But…

Then we jump into “standard” MCU-land in which everything becomes totally predictable and the potential for an actual threat from a villain is basically eliminated. That’s the biggest problem I have with the MCU films post-Endgame. They are terribly predictable, ultra vanilla in the sense that there is never any real threat from any of the bad guys(even though they have had incredible potential to MAKE there be a threat), and ultimately we end up sitting through a couple hours of action and explosions just to get to the same ending we expected to see from minute one.

I know so many are saying “Well, you have to remember. This is essentially like things were back in the very beginning of the MCU when we only had the first couple Iron Man films and things were just kicking off.”.

Yes. That is true.

The MCU is at a new starting point with Phase 4 and we haven’t yet been able to see just what it’s all leading to.

But at the beginning, those films were SUPER solid on their own.

Now, everything feels like we’re being told to just go with it because it will all pay off soon, yet the stand alone films are frankly pretty boring. Not to mention that in some ways, if Marvel and Disney have a goal in mind as they promise, then they better start letting viewers in on the secret through their films or they’ll find an empty room when it’s time for the big reveal.

I still don’t know if I’m just “MCU-fatigued” or burned out on what they are doing, or if(and this is what I’m thinking is more accurately the case) the MCU has finally gone all in on chasing the giant cash cow at the box office at the expense of actually telling good stories that comic book fans are excited to see on the big screen. After all, we as the audience should HAVE to love whatever garbage the MCU is putting out because THEY are the MCU and THEY know best.

Wow, no spoilers here but the MCU is represented tremendously by Thor’s hero in this film. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil anything. But if you’ve watched the film, you’ll know which electrifying individual I am referring to.

At the end of the day, Thor : Love and Thunder can be summed up as follows.

A killer soundtrack drives a film complete with a lot of pretty decent action sequences. However the forced comedy moments and total lack of chemistry between our main characters makes this film feel like a hollow shell of the promise we hoped to see. While there are a few fairly emotional moments, they aren’t enough to carry the poorly executed story and cover up the complete lack of any real connection between Hemsworth and Portman. While the film has a strong opening as we are introduced to Gorr, it quickly turns to the standard formula of being ultra predictable with zero feeling of threat for our heroes and in the end it felt like watching one long music video instead of what should have been another great story from the God of Thunder. In the end it was predictable and frankly, pretty boring despite all the action.

If you’re a long time fan of the MCU films, I know that like me, you’ll keep watching what they put out. If for no other reason than for the HOPE that their payoff will actually be as epic as we all expect. Sadly, the truth is that it feels like the MCU has embraced the idea of dumbing down their films to the lowest common denominator in order to maximize profits at the box office… all at the expense of actually telling a good story.

My hope is fading fast that they’ll get back on track.

Thor : Love and Thunder gets a 3 out of 5 stars.

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