It’s been five years since the God of Thunder had his own film and while he’s made appearances in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game, fans have been anxiously anticipating the return of one of “Earth’s” mightiest heroes in his very own film.
Thor: Love and Thunder finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced: a quest for inner peace. But his retirement is interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the gods.
To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who, to Thor’s surprise, inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late. Directed by Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit) and produced by Kevin Feige and Brad Winderbaum, Thor: Love and Thunder opens in theaters July 8, 2022.
While the rest of Marvel fans have to wait until July 8, a very select few have been granted access to the film and the reviews are pouring in. The critics seem to be loving The Dark Knight’s Christian Bale in his MCU debut.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, Thor: Love and Thunder currently has a fresh rating with the Tomatometer ranking the movie with a 72% rating based on 128 critic reviews on the site. Of course, this rating may change once the film is seen by a larger audience. Here’s what critics are saying:
Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly said, “Even in Valhalla or Paradise City, though, there is still love and loss; Thor dutifully delivers both, and catharsis in a climax that inevitably doubles as a setup for the next installment. More and more, this cinematic universe feels simultaneously too big to fail and too wide to support the weight of its own endless machinations. None of it necessarily makes any more sense in Waititi’s hands, but at least somebody’s having fun.”
Nick Allen from RogerEbert.com also enjoyed it, “Thor: Love and Thunder flirts with when a call-back story beat or joke is just playing the hits, the same way that there are a million Guns N’ Roses nods and needle drops in this movie just because, and you’re expected to head-bang each time. All of its pop-culture ad-libs, or punched-up superhero stuff about coming up with catchphrases—when those jokes feel safe instead of left-field, they fall particularly flat. Thor: Love and Thunder is a blockbuster comedy sequel at its core, and its weaker material reminds you of that even when it’s still good for a sporadic laugh or two.”
Mark Kennedy from Associated Press agrees, “The whipsaw from death and suffering to idiocy is staggering, with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson credited alongside Waititi for a script that seems like it was pasted together after gerbils ripped up a bag of words. You go from a hospital room on Earth dealing with a terminal illness to Thor dressed as a hot dog to a shadow realm in low gravity where the film goes completely black and white. There is very little logic and the connections between scenes are tenuous, giving the film a feeling of not building to anything clear.”
Brian Truitt from USA Today said, “Raise your tankards of mead: Director Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder is a superhero romantic comedy with plenty of rippling biceps, an unshakable love for 1980s action movies and heavy metal, and most importantly, a big goofy heart.”
David Ehrlich from indieWire had this to say, “It’s the kind of movie that ends on such an emotionally satisfying note that I was willing to forgive — and all too able to forget — the awkward path it traveled to get there, or how clumsily it gathered its cast together for the grand finale. If Love and Thunder is more of the same, it’s also never less than that. The MCU may still be looking for new purpose by the time this movie ends, but the mega-franchise can take solace in the sense that Thor has found some for himself.”
Johnny Oleksinski from New York Post raves, “The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best shot at Oscar glory has arrived in the form of Christian Bale’s ferocious Gorr the God Butcher in “Thor: Love and Thunder.”
He’s as fantastic a Marvel villain as you’ll ever see. More threatening than Thanos and richer than Hela from Thor: Ragnarok. He has the complex motivations of Erik Killmonger of Black Panther, but with the mesmeric physical transformation we’ve come to expect from Bale.”
Owen Gleiberman from Variety said, “The climactic battle, with its shadow monsters, its children caught in the cross-hairs, and its all-for-one exuberance, has a tingly grandeur, and by the end I felt something unusual enough to feel at a Marvel movie that it seemed almost otherworldly: I was moved. Moved by how two Thors could come together to love each other and to save the universe. I like plenty of Marvel movies just fine, but they are what they are, and what they are is products. This one has enough wide-eyed boldness and shimmer to earn the designation of a fairy tale.”
Ben Travis from Empire Magazine seems to have loved it, “Weirder than Ragnarok, but incredibly sincere in its outlook, Taika’s Thor-quel is a big, beautiful blast. You’ll love it, and probably thunder it too. What a classic Thor adventure!”
Watch the trailer below:
Of course, many top critics vehemently disagreed and some were pretty brutal with their negative reviews:
David Fear from Rolling Stone jeered, “A collision of competing tones, subplots, conceptual big swings and chaos masquerading as pathos, this new addition to the Asgardian-gods-and-monsters corner of Marvel Cinematic Universe is a holy mess.”
Alonso Duralde from TheWrap contends, “For his latest venture into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, director and co-writer Taika Waititi brings back the zippy quippiness that made Thor: Ragnarok such a pleasant surprise and jolt of adrenaline to the ongoing superhero series.
In Thor: Love & Thunder, however, he and co-writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Someone Great) attempt to balance that jokey tone with themes and plot points that would feel more at home in an Ingmar Bergman film, and the results cancel each other out, leaving many of the surface pleasures of an MCU movie but also a nagging sensation that none of this quite works.”
Stephanie Zacharek from TIME Magazine said, “Thor: Love and Thunder is packed with gags and jokes, advertising itself so loudly as “Fun!” that it ceases to actually be fun. This is the way with Waititi, a gifted director who, now that he’s no longer required to wield a light touch, seems to have forgotten how to do so. (He also appears, in spirit at least, as the voice of Thor’s right-hand pal Korg.) The effects are broad and flat and colorful, and like most modern computer-generated visuals, do little to inspire wonder: when you can create anything you want with manufactured images, these highly manipulated moving pictures end up being a big yawn.”
Justin Chang from Los Angeles Times didn’t hold back, “Still, the best thing about the movie, as far as I can tell, is its running time. To the 60-plus-hours of theatrical content that have so far rolled off the Disney/Marvel assembly line, this fourth Thor-centric caper adds a mostly painless if largely pointless 120 minutes. And that happily includes the closing credits, which fans will of course sit through in their entirety, dutifully enduring the names of visual-effects artists and crane operators in exchange for a glimpse of future Marvel superheroics.”
David Rooney from Hollywood Reporter agrees, “the movie feels weightless, flippant, instantly forgettable, sparking neither love nor thunder.”
Jake Cole from Slant Magazine shares, “More than any other MCU movie, Love and Thunder epitomizes the trap that much of modern comic book culture finds itself ensnared in: demanding to be taken seriously while also relentlessly making self-deprecating jokes about how ridiculous it is because it’s aware that it’s derived from children’s entertainment.”
While the critics’ reviews seem to be mixed, Love and Thunder still seems like it will be another fun movie to share with the kids and worth braving a trip to the theaters. Once again, Disney/Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder officially hits theaters on July 8, 2022.