Movie: Thor: Love and Thunder
Plot: Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, and Natalie Portman
Director: Taika Waititi
Release Date: July 8, 2022
Studio: Marvel Studios
HCA Overall Grade: B

Sophia Soto says, “Taika Waititi has done it again! Thor: Love and Thunder is pure heart and has a full circle moment at the end that I know will make so many who grew up watching Marvel films emotional— I certainly was. Naturally, there’s comedy, which Chris Hemsworth just thrives with. The story and villain are worth watching for alone, making the movie a total standout. Hemsworth only continues to make you love the character of Thor more and more, proving why he deserved to be the first in the MCU to get four solo films. Christian Bale and Natalie Portman are phenomenal while Tessa Thompson steals every scene she is in. Everyone in the film works so well together and there are a ton of fun cameos! Overall, it’s a fun time with messages that can resonate with fans of all ages. I’m looking forward to rewatching it!”

Grade: A-

James White says, “Thor: Love and Thunder is full-on Waititi, and that for me is a good thing. Amongst all the madness he doesn’t forget to deliver real emotion, and the soundtrack, like Ragnarok before it, will delight music fans (and yes, there’s more than just Guns ‘N Roses on the playlist). It also looks like few other Marvel entries, standing out with its palette and witty touches. If you get the vibe, you’re going to be delighted.”

Grade: A-

Caitlin Kennedy says, “Thor: Love and Thunder is absolutely branded by Waititi. The soundtrack is simultaneously on-the-nose to the cheesiest degree, yet epic and fist-pump-inducing. Love and Thunder is bold and brash and legitimately hilarious, if not a bit silly at times. Nothing is off-limits and every opportunity for a laugh is languished in. It’s the best time that families will have at the movies, this summer.”

Grade: A+

Aaron Neuwirth says, “The result is a film that’s perhaps not as well-rounded as it needs to be, but certainly lively, colorful, funny, and a proponent of the idea that love conquers all. Waititi’s oddball sensibilities are certainly in play, and Christian Bale gives great villain.”

Grade: B

David Gonzalez says, “Thor: Love and Thunder electrifies with laughs, love, and tragedy. Waititi takes the God of Thunder on his most personal and emotional journey that is both rich and sublime.”

Grade: B

Francisco Cangiano says, “Thor: Love and Thunder is pure rock ‘n roll adventure fun. Hilarious quite often, dark in some instances, and surprisingly emotional as well. Loved Portman’s Mighty Thor, while Hemsworth and Bale are great, and the soundtrack is rad. That said, the story and tone aren’t as sharp as Thor: Ragnarok. Taika Waititi’s execution of all the jokes and the emotional centerpiece isn’t as smooth this time around.”

Grade: B-

Rick Bentley says, “Taika Waititi, the director and co-writer of Thor: Love and Thunder, definitely slants his film toward the comical side. He started leaning that way with Thor: Ragnarok but embraces it fully with this effort. There is so much light-hearted humor – especially from a moony Thor (Chris Hemsworth) – Waititi’s tale of the God of Thunder ends up being one of the better rom-coms of the past few years.”

Grade: B-

Kit Bowen says, “Thor: Love and Thunder is a mixed bag. Coming off Thor: Ragnarok, Love and Thunder reunites director Taika Waititi with his star Chris Hemsworth, but this time they are trying too hard in recapturing that same hilarious and excellent lightning in a bottle — a familiar lament with a sequel. Still, Love and Thunder can be a lot fun at times, and Christian Bale as the newest villain is a tour de force, terrorizing the screen when he’s on it. Just don’t expect too much.”

Grade: B-

John Nguyen says, “Thor: Love and Thunder is electrifying! Chris Hemsworth is great as usual, Natalie Portman gets her time to shine, and Russell Crowe as Zeus is hilarious.”

Grade: B+

Zaki Hasan says, “Went in expecting to be bludgeoned by the Waititi of it all, but was genuinely surprised at the emotional avenues explored. The trademark Taika humor is there, like it or leave it, but Christian Bale and Natalie Portman both benefit from rich arcs, and as far as I’m concerned Chris Hemsworth can play Thor for as long as he darn well pleases.”

Grade: B+

Danielle Broadway says, “Thor: Love and Thunder is pure hilarity and heart. It’s my new favorite Thor movie, especially because it takes audiences back to the masterful way that Marvel often (but not always) balances a multiplicity of elements without getting lost in the sauce.”

Grade: B+

Ryan McQuade says, “This is what Waititi is known for, finding the right balance of heart and hilarity in melding them together into something special. And in doing it here, he has crafted the best installment in the “Phase 4” era of the MCU and one that should be the model going forward for the entire franchise; smaller one-off stories crafted by a comfortable filmmaker who is interested in real character development and emotion rather than where this film will fit into the grand plot of the MCU. Thor: Love and Thunder is a breath of fresh air from the MCU, providing hope that the Marvel machine can still surprise us going forward.”

Grade: B+

Maggie Lovitt says, “Overall, Thor: Love and Thunder is a refreshing venture back to what the Marvel Cinematic Universe is best at delivering: summer popcorn films. As much as I am desperate for the MCU to delve into some of the more complex topics that the comics have tackled in the past, they often fail to stick the landing. With Love and Thunder, you get exactly what you expect: two hours of laughs, colorful scenery, and the thunderous joy that comes with Waititi’s storytelling.”

Grade: B+

Vanessa Armstrong says, “Thor: Love and Thunder packs an unexpected emotional punch and is a worthy watch. It’s not every movie, after all, that can make me cry from its emotional impact while also featuring giant screaming goats. It’s the best MCU movie to come out in Phase 4 by far, and one that people will understand and inevitably compare to Ragnarok despite the clear attempt by Waititi here to bring something different to the screen.”

Grade: B+

Zoë Rose Bryant says, “Sure, Thor: Love and Thunder is essentially “Thor: Ragnarok-lite,” and it’s not ever quite as good as its predecessor (featuring more emotion but simultaneously more “hit-and-miss” humor), but after a shockingly fast first half, the film soars in the second half, with a stronger flow, funnier gags, and a monumentally moving finale. Chris Hemsworth is as hilarious as ever as the title character, Natalie Portman’s return was worth the wait, and Christian Bale makes for a ferociously frightening foe for our heroes to fight.”

Grade: B+

Dana Han-Klein says, “Taika continues to prove his brilliant understanding of the idiosyncrasies of friendships, envy, and of course hilarity. There’s a wealth of parental warmth to the film. He’s the GOAT. Be warned it can’t bring the novelty of reinvention that Ragnarok did.”

Grade: B+

Alexander Robinson says, “Thor: Love and Thunder doesn’t start out with the best first impression. Whether it’s some really bad green screen effects and the wildly inconsistent tone in the first act, it didn’t come out swinging the same way Taika Waititi’s last Thor movie did. However, it doesn’t take long for this film to find its footing. The two biggest strengths of this MCU entry are the more dramatic moments and the chemistry between Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. It’s the first time in the films where the relationship between both characters is believable and it carried the movie for me. Christian Bale’s Gorr is a very menacing villain who also is somewhat sympathetic with what he’s trying to accomplish. Phase 4 has proven to not be the most stellar era in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but this was one of the more enjoyable entries for me.”

Grade: B+

Sara Clements says, “Thor: Love and Thunder is a blast. While tonally a bit off in the first half, it’s surprisingly at its best when Taika isn’t relying on comedy. Still, the director’s style continues to bring something new to the MCU and a revamp to Thor’s story; however, there could come a time when audiences get tired of his schtick. If he sticks to really diving deep into emotional themes like love and death and their effects on people, as he does here, Thor could continue to be on the track to the top of the MCU catalog. Natalie Portman and Christian Bale are the highlights. The fights are exciting and the visuals are mesmerizing (especially that black and white sequence). It’s unfortunate that they didn’t write more to expand Valkyrie’s character, but Tessa Thompson gets right in the action. I hope this isn’t the last time we see Jane Foster wield the hammer.”

Grade: B+

Emmanuel Noisettez says, “Thor: Love and Thunder packs a lot of heart, exciting visuals, and quality acting but takes the whole “Marvel Fun” notion too far. The movie just kept getting in its own way with all the jokes. It was sad to see a villain with Gorr’s potential from the comics and Christian Bale’s acting ability both be minimized.”

Grade: C

Rosa Parra says, “Bale is the best part of this film. However, Thor: Love and Thunder is an overly vivid and tonally uneven comedy filled with unearned moments that comes nowhere near its predecessor.”

Grade: C

Don Shanahan says, “Sure, entertainment will always be the first objective and that’s front and center in Thor: Love and Thunder. However, the fickle and untamed inconsistencies are finally adding up with the new movie. Since more and more of this character and his journey have become a dunderheaded joke, any substantial peril has reached a point where it feels merely temporary or, worse, flaky and flimsy.”

Grade: C-

Josie Meléndez says, “Thor Love and Thunder did not meet my expectations, granted, they were really high. While the film does have the usual Taika Waititi flare we’ve come to adore as a collective society, a lot of the satisfying moments don’t feel earned, the humor outbalances the heart and seriousness of pivotal scenes, and much of the third act slips through the cracks of spectacle over narrative. Christian Bale as Gorr was promising and admirable to watch.”

Grade: C+

Scott Menzel says, “Thor: Love and Thunder is yet another Marvel movie that feels like two different movies in one. Sadly, just like Eternals and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it too struggles to balance its themes and characters. At times, Thor: Love and Thunder is an over-the-top quirky comedy and at others, it yearns to be this hard-hitting drama. The tonal shifts are incredibly jarring and the poor editing doesn’t help matters. I wouldn’t say that I disliked Thor: Love and Thunder as there are aspects that I liked about it but as a whole, the film doesn’t know what it wants to be and that is very apparent by the time the end credits begin to roll.”

Grade: C+

Clarence Moye says, “Sadly, Thor: Love and Thunder wants everything all at once but fails to confidently deliver anything. The jokes fall flat, Portman proves how little comic timing she has, and Hemsworth’s ponderous presence as Thor has finally worn thin. Some nice visuals can’t save this bloated and tedious mess. Marvel films need cohesion and unity of theme because they’re starting to feel like DC movies.”

Grade: D+

Dewey Singleton says, “Bright, bold, frivolity, and the best-written MCU movie was not the headline I anticipated having after seeing Thor: Love and Thunder, yet here we are. Taika Waititi’s 2nd crack at shaping the narrative of one of Marvel’s most popular characters is touching, thrilling, and purposeful. I can’t say the same thing about many of the movies which make up the MCU.”

Grade: B+

Thor: Love and Thunder is now playing exclusively in theaters