Thor: Love and Thunder Reviews Agree That It’s No Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok was one of those exceedingly rare threequels far more beloved than the previous two installments. It’s generally thought of as a perfect mix of directorial vision and franchise demand fulfilment. Plus it nailed a successful tonal change that redefined the lead character. Following it was never going to be easy. And judging by the reviews so far for director Taika Waititi‘s follow-up, Thor: Love and Thunder shows the struggle. But even if it’s no Ragnarok, most of the critics in our unscientific sample still manage to find some joy.

Echoing most critical sentiments, Alonso Duralde at The Wrap writes that, “If this latest one was aiming to mix it up by giving equal weight to the masks of comedy and tragedy, it’s an effort that falls short.” However, he doesn’t write the whole thing off, allowing, “Waititi and Team Marvel are too shrewd as showpeople not to keep the pace lively and the scope massive.”

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Tom Jorgensen at IGN falls more on the positive side, singling out Chris Hemsworth in particular for praise “as enthusiastic an Asgardian as ever.” But he also finds some disappointment with the story, calling it “less deft — and a lot safer than you’d expect — in pushing the greater MCU story forward.” The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney backs up this take, adding that 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.”

The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw, who calls Ragnarok his favorite MCU movie, is also a fan of Hemsworth, “the most utterly unembarrassed, most visibly enjoying himself, most utterly relaxed in his own skin and in front of his own greenscreen.” As for the larger movie, though, “however adroitly Waititi plays it, Marvel’s comedy mode has become a bit of a reflex, a set mode which could almost be enabled in the ‘settings’ menu of Marvel software.”

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Josh Spiegel at Slashfilm writes, “There’s a fine line between sincerity and glibness, and Thor: Love and Thunder has a very difficult time straddling that line.” He praise Christian Bale’s dark turn as villain Gorr, but then adds, “by making a good chunk of this new Thor movie fairly dark, Waititi and [cowriter Jennifer Kaytin] Robinson end up stumbling when it comes to bringing back — or trying to bring back — the flippant comedy that made Ragnarok stand out.”

Scott Mendelson at Forbes goes further negative than many. Though he does call it, “as colorful and visually inventive as you’d hope,” he also calls it “an unnecessary sequel, existing only because its predecessor was unusually well-received even by those who weren’t all-in MCU fans…Bale, [Tessa] Thompson and ‘Guns and Roses’ [sic] tunes aside, this fourth Thor is a real chore.”

Our own review should land later today, and all we’ll say for now is it falls somewhere on this spectrum.

What do you make of the reviews so far? Let us know in comments.

Recommended Reading: Thor by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

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