The entire Polygon team struggled with the new MCU film Thor: Love and Thunder, from his flippant character undercutting to his genuinely weird running gag about Thor’s magic ax Stormbreaker acting more like an ex – a creepy, jealous one. Many of the film’s larger themes plummet rather than soar, but we found plenty to like around the edges. Here’s a rundown of some of the smaller things about the film that we appreciated the most.
[Ed. note: Scattered spoilers ahead for Thor: Love and Thunder.]
Tasha Robinson, Film/Streaming Editor: Y’all, this movie let me down in so many ways, but the benefit of a movie that can’t take anything seriously for more than 20 seconds at a time without veering towards a visual or verbal gag is that it’s an absolute There are tons of visual and verbal fire-and-forget gags out there, and some of them need to land. One of my favorites is the split-second shot of Thor’s RIP LOKI memorial tattoos when Zeus with a weird accent (Russell Crowe) rips Thor’s clothes off in Omnipotence City. In a movie that focuses so heavily on the cheesiest, cheesiest aspects of metal culture, the idea of Thor having a really over-the-top, “sorrow until I come to you”-style metal tattoo is to commemorate a loss to remember, pretty well. especially for a split-second joke where the camera doesn’t linger.
Speaking of Loki, I found Korg’s synopsis of Thor’s adventures kind of pointless and intrusive at the beginning of the film, but I really appreciated the honest recognition that Loki has died three times now. That tells us not to take his death too seriously (or any of it, really), while poking fun at how many times the MCU has done so well in Thor stories and what a cute prat Thor is for constantly falls for it and takes Loki’s death personally every time.
Petrana Radulovic, entertainment reporter: Overall, I’m not sure what I think of the dozens of little kids running into battle in the film’s climax. That said, the little girl who decides not to use a traditional weapon and instead uses her stuffed bunny as a channel for Thor’s lightning abilities has absolutely made up her mind. As a little girl, I absolutely believed that my stuffed animals had magical powers, so this moment really spoke to me.
I also know we’re all very into how Jane Foster looks as Mighty Thor, especially her sculpted arms, but I just gotta stress it how great She looks like. Whenever I do bicep curls these days, I mutter to myself, “This is for you, Natalie Portman.”
Joshua Rivera, entertainment writer: I know Tasha strong disagrees with me here, but i love the goats. Goats screaming like humans kill me every time, and while Toothgrinder and Toothgnasher are CGI creations, the fact that this comes from real goat behavior makes them work for me. I only hear them scream as they crash into a scene killed me every time and probably still will when I watch it again.
I also loved Christian Bales Gorr and wish he was a bigger part in the film – the guy just enjoys being a boogeyman and I think it would be the start of something really good if that were the case love and thunder had no other plans.
Tasha: Yes, I really hated those goats! But I’m with Christian Bale, who has done interesting and varied acting work since he was a child, and still manages to find notes here that I don’t think he’s ever met before. I have no idea what the heck is going on in the scene where he tells his jailed child prisoners a creepy story and rips the head off of a random CG cattle for no reason – this sequence totally undermines what maybe meant to be a creepy villain, by turning him into the Cryptkeeper, all giggles and gags. But Bale is enjoying it so much that I really enjoyed this sequence, even though I thought it belonged in a completely different film.
Susana Polo, Entertainment Editor: I agree with Tasha that there are a lot of little bright spots in the film – like those biker bird aliens in the opening sequence with their big Jim Henson’s Creature Shop energy. And I enjoy Bale’s delight in scaring adorable children with severed heads. It’s nothing like the Gorr comic book, but the Gorr comic book resists adaptation from the start, so I didn’t have my heart set on seeing this version of the character on screen.
For all jokes Thor: Love and Thunder about Asgardian tourism, I think the way that Asgardian refugees had to flatten and commercialize their own culture in order to survive is one of the more real parts of the film. There’s an edge in this goofiness that reflects Waititi’s own New Zealand background, and the sense of disgust that underpins New Asgard’s tourist traps comes through strongly, even when the characters grin and put up with it.
Tasha: Speaking of Asgardian tourism, cheers for the return of Matt Damon and Luke Hemsworth as Asgardian Players, now with Melissa McCarthy as Hela. The idea of Asgard/New Asgard/Future Asgard being over-invested Waiting for Guffman-style community-theatrical dopes may be taken a hair too far here, but the cheesy tourist recreation of some of them Thor: RagnarokThe grimmer moments of are a hoot.
Austen Goslin, Task Editor, Entertainment: Just like Tasha, I couldn’t help but be rather disappointed that so few ended up for me in a movie that has nothing but jokes in it. However, the fact that Korg’s Kronan god sits on a throne made of all the pincers he’s crushed is pretty good. It’s a nice callback to Korg’s introduction to Thor: Ragnarok, where he says to Thor, “I’m made of rocks as you can see, but don’t let that intimidate you. You don’t need to be scared unless you’re made of scissors.” Korg then explains that it’s just a bit of rock-paper-scissors humor, which I now take as a reference to his god. It’s basically the Kronan version of “Have a lucky day”.
Peter: It was pretty fun seeing all the versatile gods in Omnipotence City – but a very special shout out to Bao, the god of dumplings, who was just so darn cute. I also found it quite funny that the Zeus fan girls are called “Zeusettes” in the credits.
Zeus was meh overall, but I appreciated the Zeusette fainting at the sight of Thor’s torn, naked body. Same, girl, same.
Tasha: I enjoyed connecting Valkyrie and Jane throughout the film. Val doesn’t have much to do here, but she and Jane calmly agreed to just eat grapes and appreciate the unwillingly naked Thor, which was a beautiful moment of sisterhood.
And finally – I still really enjoy Chris Hemsworth as Thor. I have a lot of concerns about whether he’s a character who can really sustain an arc since his whole gimmick is essentially unsuppressable and able to recover from any disaster. But the character wouldn’t work on screen at all without Hemsworth’s rakish grin and his sense of bluff, amiable boastfulness. A great deal of the Thor movies’ material rests on his amazingly broad shoulders and his ability to make really goofy material believable by pretending to take it seriously, and really inconsistent material charming by consistently responding to it. He’s such an asset to the MCU as a whole.
Joshua: As we keep saying Thor: Love and Thunder has everything we were excited about before we saw it: funny jokes, a wonderful cast, colorful locations, a sweet soundtrack. But none of that fits into a movie that’s as good as all those bits. It’s really confusing to see all this good stuff hiding between sofa cushions and under floorboards, like the movie needs a makeover as we watch. But maybe if you find enough of these things you can have a good time in the movie.
Likewise? “November Rain” is a sick fucking song.