Before it even hit theaters, Thor: Love and Thunder made history for Marvel Studios. The film represents the first time an individual Avenger has received a fourth entry into their franchise. Following the reinvigoration of Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, coupled with scene-stealing performances in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, running back the Thor franchise seemed like a no brainer. Getting Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, fresh off his 2020 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (Jojo Rabbit), back in the chair only upped anticipation levels to an Earth's Mightiest height.
Thor: Love and Thunder's world premiere took place two weeks ago, a tell-tale sign of a studio's extreme confidence in a film. With 280-character social reactions already out, in-depth reviews for the fourquel have begun to surface.
Unabashedly big-hearted and gleefully outrageous – even if it occasionally gets crushed by the execution of its own ambitions.
ComicBook's own Jenna Anderson stresses that Love and Thunder swings for the fences, but not every hit is a home run.
Love and Thunder wholeheartedly works to subvert those expectations at essentially every single turn, and it becomes a more compelling, if slightly more disheveled, film because of it. At its best, Thor: Love and Thunder is unabashedly big-hearted and gleefully outrageous – even if it occasionally gets crushed by the execution of its own ambitions.
Hemsworth here is at his peak when it comes to the God of Thunder.
Collider's Therese Lacson gives high praise to the film's leading man.
Hemsworth here is at his peak when it comes to the God of Thunder. Waititi offered him the chance to fully embrace the comedy that he is so good at and it flourishes even more in Love and Thunder. Not only does he have fantastic comedic timing, but he's been given more to work with.
The bad news: The wheel's tire-treads are looking worn.
NPR's Glen Weldon calls Love and Thunder a "Ragnarok remix," which serves as both a positive and a negative.
The good news, in re: Love and Thunder: Waititi is back, and he's determined not to reinvent the wheel. The bad news: The wheel's tire-treads are looking worn. Thor: Love and Thunder plays like a Ragnarok remix, for good and ill.
Portman finally gets a lot to do in a "Thor" movie.
USA Today's Brian Truitt applauds the dynamic between Hemsworth and co-star Natalie Portman.
He also allows Hemsworth and Portman to discover a fun chemistry not seen previously: For the first time, you understand why Thor and Jane fell in and out of love. Portman finally gets a lot to do in a "Thor" movie, as a buff woman who's good at saving the day but not hatching catchphrases and also as a person with very human struggles amid an epic trip.
Motor-powered by goofy self-awareness and childlike imagination.
Independent's Clarisse Loughrey admires Waititi's signature style.
A Waititi production is still distinctly a Waititi production – a patchwork quilt of primary colours, as outsider figures and disappointing fathers joke their way through trauma. Love and Thunder, a sequel born entirely out of the effusive reception for Ragnarok, is arguably the closest he's ever come to autopilot – and yet it's still such a delight, motor-powered by goofy self-awareness and childlike imagination.
An excellent example of Marvel still not being quite sure how to pick up ongoing narratives that get interrupted by massive crossover events.
The Verge's Charles Pulliam-Moore says Love and Thunder runs into an all-too-familiar Marvel problem.
Similar to Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness before it, Thor: Love and Thunder's an excellent example of Marvel still not being quite sure how to pick up ongoing narratives that get interrupted by massive crossover events. Love and Thunder clearly wants to keep its focus fixed on Thor, who hasn't headlined his own film since 2017. But so much has happened within the MCU since then that Love and Thunder's ability to create a cohesive and compelling sense of shared continuity with its predecessors is initially limited.
Bale brings the kind of energy seen in his past work in films.
The Direct's Richard Nebens highlights Christian Bale's Gorr the God-Butcher.
Bale's leading antagonist gets to work with a story that will make fans understand why he's on a warpath against the gods, allowing the Hollywood veteran to show an astounding amount of range with his work. Alongside that depth, Bale brings the kind of energy seen in his past work in films like American Psycho and delivers an understated yet truly scary character that threatens everything in his path throughout the story.
A crisis of imagination.
The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney says the film suffers from too much going on at once.
More than most recent MCU movies, the screenplay by Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson shows a crisis of imagination, too often relying on easy laughs from cross-cultural references.
Characters appear in ways that seem engineered to be funny rather than true.
Polygon's Joshua Rivera notes that the comedy is very much at the forefront, for better or worse.
Love and Thunder has nothing to offer that's as compelling or attentively crafted as its jokes. Characters appear in ways that seem engineered to be funny rather than true. It cannot be stressed enough how right Gorr is: The MCU's gods suck.
An urgent reminder that in order for the MCU to keep going, in an entertaining, soulful way, creativity and innovation is required.1comments
NY Post's Johnny Oleksinski says Love and Thunder is a wake-up call for the MCU.
"Love and Thunder" is an urgent reminder that in order for the MCU to keep going, in an entertaining, soulful way, creativity and innovation is required. You can't just say "multiverse" 1,000 times and call it a movie.
Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters this Friday, July 8.