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'Thor: Love and Thunder' takes forward spirit and soul of 'Ragnarok'

Film releases to tremendous buzz — with plexes in Kolkata lining up shows as early as 6 am

Priyanka Roy  | Published 09.07.22, 12:58 AM
Still from the film

Still from the film

Sourced by the Correspondent

Five years ago, the Thor franchise got Taika Waititi-fied. Ragnarok, in what was a wacky, weird and altogether wonderful departure from the Thor ethos, came in with an unexpected, exhilarating burst of energy, infused with joy, lightness of being and candy-coloured delight, all trademarks of the film-maker who is known to tinge everything he does with a certain kind of aesthetic and humour.

For many, including die-hard fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Ragnarok — from the vibrant colours of Sakaar to the rocking ’80s synth score — quickly became the most fun they had had at a superhero movie in a long time.Thor: Love and Thunder takes forward the spirit and soul of Ragnarok.

Released to tremendous buzz — with plexes in Kolkata lining up shows as early as 6 am — the latest Thor film packs in big spectacle and big stars — Natalie Portman makes a comeback as Thor’s ladylove Jane Foster while Christian Bale, in a very Christian Bale way, becomes virtually unrecognisable as the film’s antagonist Gorr.

Like Ragnarok, Love and Thunder delivers goofiness, hijinks and ironic laughs in spadefuls, and a collection of nice moments which will (almost) give you bang for your buck. But beyond that, the film feels strangely incohesive, often coming off as a MCU parody of Thor than a Thor adventure in itself. What worked for Ragnarok doesn’t necessarily come through for Love and Thunder. At less than two hours — a shocker for any Marvel film — Love and Thunder seems to be too preoccupied with jumping from one joke to the next without giving much thought to story graph and character development. What we have finally is a film that’s, without a doubt, massive fun in parts, but the whole definitely leaves you wanting more.

Unlike Ragnarok which was a full-throttle action comedy, Love and Thunder is rooted in grief and pain, looks at life and death from different perspectives and fleshes out the romantic relationship between Thor and Jane.Kicking off the film in quite a bleak manner is Christian Bale’s Gorr, a suffering father on a desert planet whose sorrows lend him a worthy motive to strike out against the source of his misery. Regaining his strength, he resolves to kill all Gods across the universe. The only God he seems to care much about, though, is Thor, whom he spends most of the movie pursuing with feverish dedication.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth), meanwhile is, perhaps after a long time, getting comfortable in his superhero skin. Shedding off the dad bod of the last Avengers film, Thor — Hemsworth is a sight for sore eyes — heads out on a few adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy gang, but that’s just a minor distraction, with the film fully focused on the return of the love of his life and Gorr’s quest for vengeance.Out of retirement and itching to get back in the game, Thor is called upon to protect earth’s new Asgard, a sleepy little fishing village.

Fighting alongside him is King Valkyrie (a smashing Tessa Thompson) and Korg, with Gorr — who seems to be a Marvel version of Lord Voldemort — rushing in to butcher the Gods. Cue for Thor’s ex Jane Foster to make an entry, brandishing Thor’s beloved Mjolnir. Turns out, Jane now goes by the name of Mighty Thor, shifting from raging superhero one moment to terminal cancer patient the next.

And that’s just one example of how tonally inconsistent Love and Thunder is. Steadily uneven, the film often seems like a Ragnarok redux but unlike that film, it doesn’t get seared into one’s consciousness. It hits the spot in the moment but fades from memory immediately and has the feel of an uneven sketch comedy.

There is no faulting its comedy though, with the ‘laughing goats’ and a pudgy Russell Crowe in a skirt as Zeus, bringing on the laughs thick and fast. However, it under-utilises nearly every actor and character at its disposal and is quite often — despite Waititi’s signature stamp — a glaring visual and narrative mess. Through many parts of the film, you get the feeling that the successful elements of Ragnarok have been copy-pasted ad nauseum, making this more of a lazy pastiche than an inspired piece of cinema. Love and Thunder, ultimately, gets weighed down by its own ambition, but if you are looking at sporadic moments of fun, then this a good way to spend the weekend. That is, if you are okay with the sum of its parts being greater than the whole rather than vice-versa.

Thor: Love And Thunder (U/A)

  • Director: Taika Waititi
  • Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Natalie Portman.Tessa Thompson, Jaimie Alexander, Taika Waititi
  • Running time: 159 minutes
Last updated on 09.07.22, 11:07 PM
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