Thor: Love and Thunder Review

PLOT: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds retirement is interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the Gods. To battle the threat, Thor enlists Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), only to discover his ex, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), now wields Mjolnir and now has powers similar to his. 

REVIEW: Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love & Thunder is finally here to bring some much-needed Marvel mayhem into the summer movie season, but how does Waititi’s movie stack up against the game-changing Spider-Man: No Way Home or the Sam Raimi-infused Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Is this Thor outing as good as Ragnarok, does Portman own as The Mighty Thor, and does Marvel finally have a great villain with Gorr the God Butcher? We’ll reveal all in our exclusive – and yes, SPOILER-FREE – review of Thor: Love and Thunder!

So one thing I should get off my chest – as much as I like Marvel movies, a bit of fatigue is starting to kick in. Shang-Chi was fun, but Eternals was a SLOG. Spider-Man: No Way Home was a blast, but Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was pretty hit and miss, despite zombie Dr. Strange. And what was with turning Mr. Fantastic into string cheese? It was okay, but I went into Thor: Love and Thunder expecting more of the same, despite being a Thor Ragnarok fan… well, mostly anyway, as it was 80% cool Waititi weirdness and 20% Marvel filler. All that to say, I loved Thor: Love and Thunder, and this might be my favourite Marvel movie since Avengers Endgame.

Thor: Love and Thunder, new trailer

Unlike Ragnarok, this is 100% Taika Waititi madness. Some hardcore MCU fans might not dig the vibe, and you can expect a little backlash, but for me, this was a total blast. Since we last saw him, Thor ditched his dad bod, and Hemsworth looks more jacked than ever here – he looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger when he made Conan the Destroyer. He’s larger than life and seems to relish playing the wackier side of Thor. He’s in a contemplative place when we first meet him, spending most of his days annoying the Guardians of the Galaxy, who’ve been stuck with him and Korg for a while now and seem eager to cut him loose. Meanwhile, on earth, Thor’s one-time lady love, Jane Foster, once again played by Natalie Portman, is fighting a losing battle against stage four cancer. Still, when Mjolnir calls to her from New Asgard, she finds herself the new Thor and in the middle of a crazy adventure that re-teams her with the real-deal Thor. She looks fantastic and, like Hemsworth, seems to be having the time of her life as she wields his mighty hammer.

As the title suggests, this Thor adventure is a love story and a thoroughly engaging, often bittersweet one. Thor and Jane’s break-up is brilliantly told via a montage set to Abba, and man, do these two play well off each other. Maybe that chemistry wasn’t in full effect in the first two Thor movies, but Waititi pulls something special out of them here. 

Thor: Love and Thunder, Natalie Portman, poster

Of course, everyone will be wondering how Christian Bale does as Gorr the God Butcher. Here’s the thing about Bale – he never phones it in, so he goes full-on here, looking like he got into fantastic shape for the part (the fittest he’s been since The Dark Knight Rises), and chews the scenery maniacally at times. There’s a scene with a quasi-sock puppet that’s so demented I’m shocked but delighted Marvel allowed Waititi to keep it in. But, you also have some empathy for him, with his plight expertly set up in the movie’s intro. Russell Crowe also hams it up in a fun part as a gluttonous Zeus, who’s down with orgies and human sacrifices, but not much work. Crowe has never been this funny. Finally, there’s Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in a role that, to my surprise, actually seemed more minor than you might think. She’s in it a lot – but I can’t say she gets a ton to do, but I’m sure she’ll get some kind of spin-off sooner or later, either on the big screen or on Disney Plus. This is Hemsworth and Portman’s film, and everyone else disappears into the background. Well, except Korg. Korg gets a lot to do here, with Waititi again voicing the character. 

The director also has a lot of fun with the film’s music, using no less than three Guns n’ Roses classics, some Abba and – even brings the movie in at just under two hours, which is pretty rare for a Marvel movie these days. There’s no fat on the bone here – it’s lean, mean, and so much fun. 

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.