Thor: Love and Thunder reviews are mostly for the folks who (unlike yours truly) didn’t buy advance tickets early. Big movies like this are arguably as strong and durable as Thor himself.
These first reviews, though, may only serve to push fans to wait for the Thor: Love and Thunder’s Disney Plus release. And, no, these reviews aren’t a big bucket of cold water (I’m seeing it on Thursday night, and I’m still excited), but they do quite a good job of tempering your expectations.
Many critics seem to be framing Thor: Love and Thunder as “more of the same” when compared to Thor: Ragnarok. And while we still think that’s probably good, it does feel like everyone may be on auto-pilot.
Currently, Thor: Love and Thunder has a 71% score on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) with 78 reviews counted and more coming in. So it seems the critical reaction is very mixed (though our enthusiasm is up following the leak of a secret Thor: Love and Thunder cast member so great we wish it hadn’t been spoiled).
Andrew J. Salazar for Discussing Film (opens in new tab) was the first to raise our concern. He warns that you might have to wait a bit to feel the love for the flick, writing “It’s not until the second half that Thor: Love and Thunder truly comes into its own journey worth telling.”
And unfortunately, it seems as if they squandered one of the biggest new MCU additions, as Salazar notes “it can’t be understated how much of a missed opportunity Christian Bale’s Gorr feels. The character certainly doesn’t fall in the lower half of Marvel’s underutilized villains, but he definitely doesn’t reach the top either.”
Salazar’s most damning complaint, though, came when he wrote “Whereas Thor: Ragnarok almost feels like a magic trick, Waititi proving what can be done with a Thor story in his own unique way, Thor: Love and Thunder feels like a tired act.”
CNN (opens in new tab)‘s Brian Lowry is another of the critics we saw that compared Thor: Love and Thunder to the previous chapter in an unfavorable light. Lowry states “The impressive mix of tones and styles that director Taika Waititi pulled off in Thor: Ragnarok largely fizzles in Thor: Love and Thunder, which isn’t as funny as it wants to be, as stirring as it needs to be or romantic as it ought to be.”
More frustratingly, Valeries Complex at Deadline (opens in new tab) writes that Thor is done wrong by the film, as “Instead of being the misguided superhero who learned from his mistakes, he is reduced to a goofy, himbo, Hulk Hogan lookalike.”
But that’s not the only failure to support a character: “In Ragnarok, Valkyrie served a purpose. She was a reminder of the old, oppressive ways of Asgard. In Thor and Thor: The Dark World, Lady Sif is a powerful fighter and defender of Asgard. But in this film, while good to see both characters in action, they serve no purpose. If neither were in this movie, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the story. In other words, they are wasted.”