A review by Isaiah Ridley -- 'Thor: Love and Thunder' entertains


With the exception of the last couple of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, I am not afraid to admit that I've been experiencing a bit of a burnout from the franchise in general. The trailer for "Thor: Love and Thunder" didn't accomplish much in creating anticipation nor excitement. I found myself believing that perhaps Marvel truly did end after "Avengers: Endgame."

July 8 was the opening night of the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film "Thor: Love and Thunder." Director Taika Waititi returns to the helm, injecting a unique array of quirky, slapstick, cathartic humor and at the same time embracing the comic book mythology that's required for a superhero film of this scope.

The film sees Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as the God of Thunder Thor Odinson, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, the return of Natalie Portman portraying Jane Foster/The Mighty Thor and Christian Bale returning to the comic book realm as the villain Gor The God Butcher, after his successful Batman trilogy.

The film explores the familiar theme of a god - based off Norse mythology infused with comic book elements - seeking to understand and find his place in the world. During this journey of self-discovery, he is confronted with an old flame wielding unexpected power and comes face to face with a being who has the ability to vanquish gods. For the first time in cinematic franchise history, Marvel also brought in the concept of introducing other gods based off other mythology into the mix in order to continue expanding the story of exploring the cosmic realms.

Reviews for the film have ventured into the territory of massively harsh or stating how underwhelmed they were with the story. Unrealistic expectations often create the most disappointment for those who are of the mind of wishing for one outcome and receiving a completely different scenario in the end. I've made it no secret that a lot of my issues with Marvel films has been relying too much on the humor dynamic that often takes away from intense serious and emotional moments. Humor, in his purest and sincerest form, always works as long as there is a specific balance that complements the tone of the story.

I was massively entertained by "Thor: Love and Thunder" in an unexpected way. Granted, there were elements of humor that I felt were way too much and were simply placed in for unspecified reasons. However, I believe what I enjoyed the most about this film is how much it resembled an actual comic book on screen. For many years, I never understood why fans - and even the general audience - complained about color themes. Upon watching this film, I finally understood why having colorful visuals is of absolute importance. Taika Waititi accomplished the very concept that I found myself embracing in this film. He literally brought color on to the screen where viewers can see the red, yellow, blue, green, silver, black, etc. I don't know how else to explain it except to say how refreshing it was to actually see bright colors in a superhero film for a change.

I view this film more as a standalone Thor feature rather than continuing the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since they're exploring other stories with more obscure characters, it is not completely necessary to focus solely on the main prospects in my opinion. "Thor: Love and Thunder" reminded me of the classic over-the-top, cheesy and adventurous action films I grew up watching in the '80s and '90s. When I watch a film, depending on the themes presented, I want to be entertained, and this film delivers all of that in spades.

A comic book film should be fun, exciting and colorful and provide the necessary action that resembles an actual comic book come to life. Do not walk inside this film expecting an "Infinity War," "Endgame," or even "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Simply purchase a ticket knowing what you're going to watch is a film that is not going to be on the caliber as those highly anticipated stories. From my personal perspective, I believe this is what certain Marvel films should resemble in the end. There's nothing wrong with a darker, serious, emotional and intense theme where it's appropriate. However, there should be a film where you want to have fun, be entertained and laugh, and that's what "Thor: Love and Thunder" brought for me.

I highly recommend this unique, quirky, innovative visual, exciting and colorful adventure that has me giving this a 10/10 stars for giving me as a viewer what I wanted out of a comic book film for a change. I didn't necessarily feel it contained anything deeply traumatic, offensive, profane or lewd for children except for a scene of nudity for comedic effect. Again, it is for the parents to decide as to if this film/story is appropriate for their children. Other than that, I didn't particularly see anything that would make parents or families wince, cringe or recoil with disgust. It is a highly recommended comic book adventure for family and friends.

Be on the lookout for my next review of "Where the Crawdads Sing," which is being released today.

Isaiah Ridley works at Beacon Cinemas in Sumter. To watch his movie reviews online, find him @Izzy's Cinematic Escape on YouTube.