Complete A-Z list

Thor: Love and Thunder (3D in some cinemas)


Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe, Jaimie Alexander, Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Kieron L Dyer, Simon Russell Beale, Idris Elba, Luke Hemsworth, Matt Damon, Melissa McCarthy, Sam Neill, Sean Gunn. Voices: Taika Waititi, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel

Director: Taika Waititi

A good two steps down from the admirable Thor: Ragnarok, this new adventure of the hammer-wielding Norse god (Hemsworth) substitutes goofy comedy for sly wit, the hammily light-hearted approach undermining what is actually quite a decent plot by Marvel standards.

The film begins with an alien, Gorr (Bale, unrecognisable), exhausted in an arid landscape and weeping over the death of his daughter, stumbling into a verdant forest, only to find that the god who rules there has feet of clay. Grasping the Necrosword, a god-killer, from a fallen foe, he slays the god and roams the Metaverse as 'the god butcher' with Thor firmly in his sights.

Meanwhile, back on earth, Thor's ex (Portman) - introduced by the unseen narrator (Waititi) as 'Jane Fonda, er, sorry, Jane Foster' - a gag well in keeping with script's idea of humour - a scientist, is dying of cancer, but transformed into a (still dying) god by the fragments of Thor's hammer.

Reunited with Thor and his rock-giant friend (also voiced by Waititi), and joined by Valkyrie (Thompson) and Sif (Alexander), they appeal to Zeus (Crowe), the king of gods (who seems to come from a different mythology) for help, but are rejected and left to fight alone, not helped when Gorr, like an evil Pied Piper, kidnaps the children of New Asgard, now a touristy fishing village, as a human shield.

Where to start with the minus factors here? Well, the acting is largely poor, and the script, like Hemsworth's superhero, is monosyllabic. I chuckled like crazy at Ragnarok, but the only laugh I got here was when Zeus - a full-camp Crowe joining in the spirit of the thing with a Greco-Roman accent that even Peter Sellers would have disowned - orders Thor to be stripped of his clothes, and four handmaidens and two fey boy attendants all pass out on the spot.

In the film's defence, it's not overlong and its stand-alone plot is welcome in the Marvel world. The last 20 minutes is good, too, as the action at last takes a serious turn. And you'll have to be sharp-eyed to identify all four 'guest stars' taking part in a Thor-inspired play in New Asgard.

David Quinlan

Australia/USA/New Zealand 2022. UK Distributor: Disney (Marvel). Colour by Company 3.
118 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 08 Jul 2022