Thor: Love and Thunder receives mixed reviews as many critics consider it to be a ‘step back’


The wait is finally over for Thor: Love and Thunder but critics have given the highly-anticipated Marvel epic mixed reviews, describing it as a ‘step back’ from 2017’s wildly-beloved Thor: Ragnarok.

There has been a lot of excitement surrounding the latest instalment in the Thor franchise after the success of 2017’s Ragnarok, which combined action and comedy in a sensational production that left fans wanting more.

And fans were left on the edge of their seats after learning that Natalie Portman was returning to Love and Thunder, with the action-packed trailer building more excitement as Thor’s hammer was seen hurtling into the hands of Jane.

Reviews: The first wave of reviews are in for Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder, and while they’re largely positive… it’s clear many critics thought it was a step back from 2017’s wildly-beloved Thor: Ragnarok

Although critics have generally awarded director Taika Waititi’s latest film with positive reviews, many considered it to be a ‘step backwards’ when compared to the success of Ragnarok.

The Sun’s Grant Rollings described the esteemed director’s movies as ‘jaw droppingly unconventional’ but said Love and Thunder didn’t quite live up to these expectations but instead tried to use Ragnarok’s ‘successful formula’.

‘By putting comedy into the comic book, Waititi makes Love and Thunder a likeable rumble,’ he said, giving it a three-star review.

Speaking about Christian Bale’s role as the villain Gorr the God Butcher – who is attempting to eliminate all Gods in the film – the critic said his performance fell flat when compared to Cate Blanchett’s incredible role as Hela in Ragnarok.

Lukewarm: Box office projections have been strong for Thor: Love and Thunder - with analysts predicting anywhere from $150 million to $200 million, though those expectations may be tempered with lukewarm reviews, with a 72% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

Lukewarm: Box office projections have been strong for Thor: Love and Thunder – with analysts predicting anywhere from $150 million to $200 million, though those expectations may be tempered with lukewarm reviews, with a 72% rating on Rotten Tomatoes 

‘A superhero movie is only as good as its super villain and on that front Thor Four is more drizzle than Thunder,’ he concluded.

But Variety’s Owen Gleiberman was much more gushing in his praise and was among the critic community’s biggest fans, branding the epic the ‘critic’s pick’ for the week.

‘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,’ Gleiberman said.

He gushed over Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth’s uniting roles in the film, for the first time since 2013, and described Love and Thunder as a ‘fairytale’ when compared to other Marvel movies.

‘I like plenty of Marvel movies just fine, but they are what they are, and what they are is products,’ he said. ‘This one has enough wide-eyed boldness and shimmer to earn the designation of fairy tale.’

Rating: While the RT rating will certainly fluctuate between now and the July 8 opening, the 72% mark represents quite a downturn compared to Thor: Ragnarok's 93% rating

Rating: While the RT rating will certainly fluctuate between now and the July 8 opening, the 72% mark represents quite a downturn compared to Thor: Ragnarok’s 93% rating

However, the Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney was not nearly as impressed, claiming that director Taika Waititi is now ‘dipping less rewardingly from the same well’.

‘Chris Hemsworth continues to give great musclebound himbo, but the stakes never acquire much urgency in a movie too busy being jokey and juvenile to tell a gripping story,’ he said, adding later in the review, ‘But is it too much to ask for something that doesn’t just feel like a strained rehash of the last installment?’

The New York Post awarded Love and Thunder with three-and-a-half out of four stars, with Johnny Oleksinski praising Bale’s ‘ferocious’ Gorr the God Butcher.

There have only been three Oscars won in the MCU, all for 2018’s Black Panther for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Original Score, though Oleksinski seems to think Bale could win the MCU’s first acting Oscar. 

‘The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best shot at Oscar glory has arrived in the form of Christian Bale’s ferocious Gorr the God Butcher,’ he gushed.

Box office: Regardless of the critical reception, Thor: Love & Thunder will most certainly top the box office, with no other movies opening against the Marvel sequel in wide release

Box office: Regardless of the critical reception, Thor: Love & Thunder will most certainly top the box office, with no other movies opening against the Marvel sequel in wide release

As well as gushing over Bale’s performance, Oleksinski praised Hemsworth for making the God seem ‘human’ as viewers care for his personal turmoil as well as his action-packed battles.

He added: ‘And, as much praise as Bale deserves, Hemsworth’s Thor still manages to take a regal, impenetrable figure and make him, for lack of a better word, human. 

‘We worry as much about the God of Thunder saving all the universe’s gods as we do about him getting dumped via a note left in the kitchen.’

And Digital Spy described Thor in the fourth film as ‘a world away’ from his character in the original Thor movie, which came to screens back in 2011.

Critic Ian Sandwell said Waititi’s goal to ‘entertain’ viewers is both a ‘blessing and a curse’ in Love and Thunder, saying: ‘Its irreverent touch means that when it aims for the heart, it never quite hits a bullseye.’

Fresh: As for Thor: Love and Thunder, 125 reviews have been submitted to Rotten Tomatoes since the review embargo broke on Tuesday, with 90 Fresh and 35 Rotten

Fresh: As for Thor: Love and Thunder, 125 reviews have been submitted to Rotten Tomatoes since the review embargo broke on Tuesday, with 90 Fresh and 35 Rotten

He did praise the latest Thor epic for working as a standalone film, with few references to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But he said that the romantic touches of the film are not quite pulled off as ‘Jane and Valkyrie share a stronger chemistry’ than Jane and Thor. 

Meanwhile, NME’s James Mottram said Love and Thunder is ‘not quite as fresh as Ragnarok’ but heaped praise on the film for using an array of Guns N’ Roses music to amp up the drama.

Giving the film a generous four-star review, he praised the ‘entertaining’ movie and gushed over the reunion between Thor and Jane. 

Painless but pointless: The Los Angeles Times' Justin Chang compared the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an assembly line, calling this new Thor sequel, 'painless but pointless'

Painless but pointless: The Los Angeles Times’ Justin Chang compared the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an assembly line, calling this new Thor sequel, ‘painless but pointless’

He said: ‘Parenthood, relationships, responsibility, and mortality all come into play as Thor, well, grows up. 

‘Best of all, like Ragnarok before it, it’s tremendously entertaining. Welcome to the jungle, indeed.’

The Independent’s critic Clarisse Loughrey said it was clear that the cast of Love and Thunder appeared thrilled to be involved in the project, saying they were ‘beaming like they’re kids’.

Speaking about director Waititi, she said he has once again painted in ‘in bold and colourful strokes’ as she described the mystical universe. 

She noted the distinctive humour that has now become associated with Thor was once again carried over, but said it was the ‘heart’ of the film that brought its success.

Two Thors: '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 fairy tale,' he added

Two Thors: ‘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 fairy tale,’ he added

‘Love and Thunder’s characters are all running towards the same conclusion: that, no matter how long or short our time on Earth (or any planet) may be, we’re all inevitably living for the benefit of others. We love, then we love again,’ she said.

‘It’s nice for Marvel, always caught up in its own chaos, to remind us of something so simple.’

The Los Angeles Times’ Justin Chang compared the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an assembly line, calling this new Thor sequel, ‘painless but pointless’.

Marvel has typically given their major characters three stand-alone movies, but that changed after Thor: Ragnarok ($853 million worldwide, 93% on Rotten Tomatoes) vastly out-performed its predecessors, 2011’s Thor ($449 million worldwide, 77% on RT) and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World ($644.7 million worldwide, 66% on RT).

Less rewarding: The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney was not nearly as impressed, claiming that director Taika Waititi (returning from Thor: Ragnarok) is now, 'dipping less rewardingly from the same well'

Less rewarding: The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney was not nearly as impressed, claiming that director Taika Waititi (returning from Thor: Ragnarok) is now, ‘dipping less rewardingly from the same well’

Box office projections have been strong for Love and Thunder – with analysts predicting anywhere from $150 million to $200 million, though those expectations may be tempered with lukewarm reviews, with a 72 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

While the RT rating will certainly fluctuate between now and the July 8 opening, the 72 per cent mark represents quite a downturn compared to Thor: Ragnarok’s 93 per cent rating.

The original Thor earned a 77 per cent rating in 2011 while 2013’s Thor: The Dark World – which many fans think is one of the MCU’s worst – earned a 66 per cent rating, which for years was the worst RT rating until 2021’s Eternals became the MCU’s first ‘rotten’ movie on RT.

As for Thor: Love and Thunder, 125 reviews have been submitted to Rotten Tomatoes since the review embargo broke on Tuesday, with 90 Fresh and 35 Rotten.

Regardless of the critical reception, Thor: Love & Thunder will most certainly top the box office, with no other movies opening against the Marvel sequel in wide release. 

THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER – WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING 

The Sun

Rating:

Grant Rollings described Taika Waititi’s movies as ‘jaw droppingly unconventional’ but said Thor: Love and Thunder was a ‘step back’ from his usual standards.

He said Christian Bale’s role as the villain fell flat compared to Cate Blanchett’s incredible performance as Hela in Thor: Ragnarok.

‘A superhero movie is only as good as its super villain and on that front Thor Four is more drizzle than Thunder,’ he concluded.

NME

Rating:

James Mottram said Love and Thunder is ‘not quite as fresh as Ragnarok’ but heaped praise on the film for using an array of Guns N’ Roses music to amp up the drama.

He said: ‘Parenthood, relationships, responsibility, and mortality all come into play as Thor, well, grows up. 

‘Best of all, like Ragnarok before it, it’s tremendously entertaining. Welcome to the jungle, indeed.’

The Independent

Rating:

Critic Clarisse Loughrey said it was clear that the cast of Love and Thunder appeared thrilled to be involved in the project, saying they were ‘beaming like they’re kids’.

She noted the distinctive humour that has now become associated with Thor was once again carried over, but said it was the ‘heart’ of the film that brought its success.

‘Love and Thunder’s characters are all running towards the same conclusion: that, no matter how long or short our time on Earth (or any planet) may be, we’re all inevitably living for the benefit of others. We love,’ she said.

Variety  

Owen Gleiberman was among the critic community’s biggest fans, branding the sequel the ‘critic’s pick’ for the week.

‘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,’ Gleiberman said.

The Hollywood Reporter

David Rooney was not nearly as impressed, claiming that director Taika Waititi (returning from Thor: Ragnarok) is now, ‘dipping less rewardingly from the same well’.

‘Chris Hemsworth continues to give great musclebound himbo, but the stakes never acquire much urgency in a movie too busy being jokey and juvenile to tell a gripping story,’ Rooney said, adding later in the review, ‘But is it too much to ask for something that doesn’t just feel like a strained rehash of the last installment?’

New York Post 

Rating:

Critic Johnny Oleksinski thinks the movie represents: ‘The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best shot at Oscar glory has arrived in the form of Christian Bale’s ferocious Gorr the God Butcher.’

Digital Spy

Ian Sandwell described Thor in the fourth film as ‘a world away’ from his character in the original Thor movie, which came to screens back in 2011.

He said Waititi’s goal to ‘entertain’ viewers is both a ‘blessing and a curse’ in Love and Thunder, saying: ‘Its irreverent touch means that when it aims for the heart, it never quite hits a bullseye.’

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