Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) poster

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)


USA. 2022.


Director – Taika Waititi, Screenplay – Jennifer Katyn Robinson & Taika Waititi, Producers – Kevin Feige & Brad Winderbaum, Photography – Barry Idoine, Music – Michael Giacchino & Nami Melumad, Themes – Michael Giacchino, Visual Effects Supervisor – Jake Morrison, Visual Effects – Base FX (Supervisor – Dominc Drane), Cantina Creative, Cinesite (Supervisor – Artemis Oikonomopoulou), Edi Effetti Digitali Italiani, Fin Design+Effects (Supervisor – Stuart White), Framestore (Supervisor – Matthew Twyford), Industrial Light and Magic (Supervisors – Fazer Churchill & Hayden Landis), Lola VFX, Mammal Studios (Supervisor – Gregory D. Liegy), One of Us, Perception, Raynault VFX (Supervisor – Sylvain Theroux), Secret Lab, Soho VFX, SSVFX, Stereo D (Supervisor – Alex Guri) & Wylie Co., Visual Effects/Animation – Barnstorm VFX, Luma (Supervisor – Andrew Zink), Method Studios (Supervisor – Pete Donne), Outpost, Rising Sun Pictures (Supervisor – Dan Bethell), Sony Pictures Imageworks (Supervisor – Jason Greenblum) & Weta FX (Supervisor – Luke Millar, Animation Supervisor – Nick Craven), Special Effects Supervisor – Dan Oliver, Prosthetic/Makeup Effects – Odd Studios (Supervisor – Damian Martin), Production Design – Nigel Phelps. Production Company – Marvel Studios.


Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster/The Mighty Thor), Tessa Thompson (King Valkyrie), Taika Waititi (Korg), Christian Bale (Gorr), Russell Crowe (Zeus), Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star-Lord), Andrew Crawford (Flower God), Manny Spero (Chemo Ward Patient), Kat Dennings (Darcy Lewis), Jaime Alexander (Sil), Idris Elba (Heimdall)


Jane Foster is diagnosed with cancer and makes a trip to New Asgard. Thor meanwhile has been adventuring throughout the universe with the Guardians of the Galaxy. He makes a return to Earth to find New Asgard under attack. He is startled to find one of the defenders is Jane who is wearing her own Thor costume. After touching the broken pieces of Mjoelnir when she came to New Asgard, they reformed into a hammer that designated Jane as the wielder. The Asgardian children are snatched by a figure known as Gorr who wields the Necrosword and travels throughout the universe slaying other gods. Perceiving an urgent threat, Thor, along with Jane, Valkyrie and Korg sets out to recruit other gods to form an army to defeat Gorr.

This was the fourth of the MCU films based on Marvel Comics’ The Mighty Thor. The film series began with the Kenneth Branagh directed Thor (2011), which introduced Chris Hemsworth to the world. Thor then joined the rest of the MCU for The Avengers (2012). His solo adventures were continued in Thor: Dark World (2013) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017). Chris Hemsworth also returned as Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Tom Hiddleston’s Loki developed a surprise fan following and appeared in all of The Avengers films, before receiving his own tv series with Loki (2021- ).

Love and Thunder sees the return of Taika Waititi to the director’s chair. The New Zealand-born Waititi has made a strong emergence as a director since the late 2000s with NZ-made films such as Eagle vs Shark (2007), Boy (2010), Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) and the hilarious vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows (2014), which was later spun out into the popular tv series. All of which came before Waititi made Thor: Ragnarok, while returning to make the bizarre Jojo Rabbit (2019), which netted him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Waititi has become a new Hollywood golden boy, having been associated with a whole swathe of high-profile projects, including a live-action version of Akira (1988). a new Star Wars film, a Flash Gordon remake, and an adaptation of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Incal comic-strip.

Thor: Love and Thunder received some of the worst notices of any Marvel film of recent with commentary like “maybe Hollywood’s love affair with Taika Waititi is over.” To the contrary, I rather enjoyed it. I have always had mixed feelings about the Thor films – the first two never quite worked in varying ways, although Chris Hemsworth steadily grew into the role, perfecting a line of humour around about the point of his mergence into The Avengers ensemble. On the other hand, when it came to Thor: Ragnarok, which did receive a strong response from critics and audiences alike, I was in a minority and found Taika Waititi’s humour far too broad, while the assorted elements with the battle planet and Cate Blanchett’s villain were one-dimensional plots. To take a contrary position, I found that the mix and Waititi’s sense of humour worked far more satisfyingly when it came to Love and Thunder. That said, I am still of the opinion that Taika Waititi works best when making small, intimate relationship dramas.

Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as The Mighty Thor and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in Thor Love and Thunder (2022)
Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as The Mighty Thor and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in Thor Love and Thunder (2022)

A good deal of the first half of the film involves trying up continuity ends from the previous films – including bringing back Valkyrie and Korg from Ragnarok and expanding their characters; the aftermath of the relocation of Asgard to Earth and the destruction of Mjolnir; Thor becoming Fat Thor at the end of Avengers: Endgame; and his adventuring with the Guardians of the Galaxy. There is also the return of Natalie Portman to the franchise. Portman appeared in the first two Thor films but sought to quit from The Dark World over the removal of Patty Jenkins as director and did not return for the third. Her return is allowed to nicely segue into the adoption of the storyline from Marvel Comics continuity where Jane contracts cancer and becomes the female Thor.

After a very busy first third or so juggling all of these plot elements, as well as the introduction of Christian Bale’s Gorr, Love and Thunder finally gets to the meat of its plot. Taika Waititi is in his element with the humour and does, at least in my opinion, a much more confident and assured airing than he did in Thor: Ragnarok. Be it bantering with the Guardians of the Galaxy; his accidental demolition of an alien temple; and a reprise of the Asgardian play at the start of the film, which retells the events of the previous film with Melissa McCarthy cameoing as Hela. The highlight of the film is the journey to Omnipotence City and Thor’s encounter with Zeus (an entertainingly over-acting Russell Crowe). The film also gets a great deal of mileage out the idea of space goats – indeed, the image of Viking longship (still with the name of its tourist operator on the side) being drawn through space by giant goats that scream in a high pitch makes for one of the most eccentrically unique forms of space travel to appear on screen. There is also much more of an effort to treat Thor as a comically flawed superhero amid lines about him charging into action without thinking or any kind of plan.

Taika Waititi does okay with the superheroics, although you get the impression he is less interested in these than he is the humour. The highlight is a battle that takes place on an asteroid where everything has been shot in black-and-white – for no other reason, it would appear, than it looks cool. The science nerd in you might quibble with the idea of such a smallish astral body having earth-like gravity. But then in a film with the awesome cool of space-travelling goats, I am happy to give Taika Waititi a pass on that one. Christian Bale takes a surprisingly villainous turn where he becomes positively frightening in his demoniac threats.

Trailer here

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