Monday, July 11, 2022

Love and Thunder, signifying nothing

Is it just me, or are more and more movies nowadays feeling like they could use another draft or two before shooting? I've got the benefit of hindsight, obviously, but the last few films I've seen definitely felt like they had at least one subplot underbaked.

Thor: Love and Thunder is definitely one of them.

There's no real connection between the hero and villain's arcs, which is what would really make the finale work. Gorr's whole deal is just disjointed as a whole; he's so torn up about his daughter's death that he…kidnaps a bunch of other people's kids? I don't understand his behaviour. I feel like the film is trying to make his crusade feel morally grey, but he's just a bit too cartoonishly ghoulish.

Jane has been so notably absent from the recent movies that the attempts to flesh out her and Thor's relationship in flashback just feels cheesy. Is this a common MCU narrative problem caused by the franchise's insistence on only telling tentpole, world-shaking blockbuster stories? Not entirely, in this case -- politics around The Dark World's director is an undoubted contributor -- but the lack of any room to breathe has definitely hurt the emotional core of an MCU relationship before.

(You also feel this with the opening Guardians scenes — the film wants us to believe that there's been history made here, but we're not allowed to see any of it )

Likewise Valkyrie, whose dissatisfaction at being a mostly bureaucratic monarch is mostly told, not shown, and who doesn't seem to get any resolution in the end. Sif is here too, with little explanation or fanfare.

And as with the Doctor Strange sequel, it's hard to tell what the point of it all is. I'm wondering if Feige's insistence that there is a plan for Phase 4 is desperate ass-covering, because as it stands right now, I'm feeling absolutely no momentum for what comes next. And with a full slate of announced projects in both TV and films for the next few years, that feels like the Marvel machine night finally be running out of steam.

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