The first reactions to Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love And Thunder are here following its Hollywood world premiere on June 23. After the soaring critical success of Waititi’s last Marvel offering, Thor: Ragnarok, expectations for the new film were substantially high. And, overall, critics’ first responses have widely offered Waititi his flowers.
Calling it a “subversive, irreverent spectacle,” critic Courtney Howard praises the film for its “story, stakes, and character building.” Erik Davis lauds the film’s “big, colorful, weird Guns N’ Roses-fueled battles.”
Thor: Love and Thunder welcomes Christian Bale as the newest Marvel villain, the menacingly sallow Gorr the God Butcher. That addition clearly paid off, with critics across the board raving over Bale’s embodiment of the character.
“Christian Bale is phenomenally menacing as #ThorLoveandThunder’s villain, Gorr the God Butcher,” Insider correspondent Kirsten Acuna writes. “One of the creepiest Marvel villains we’ve ever seen on screen. Gave me some Dark Knight Ledger Joker vibes at one point.”
Many critics also highlighted Chris Hemsworth’s leading performance, with Howard calling him “superb” and film critic Simon Thompson calling Hemsworth “a jewel in Marvel’s crown.”
However, some critics had gripes with the overall tone of the Marvel universe less so than with Waititi’s film. Critic Eric Italiano calls Thor: Love And Thunder “the funniest film in the MCU,” but criticizes the plot for being “bland and stakeless,” partially due to a missing “big-bad.” And although Inverse’s Jacob Kleinman shares the film “can’t quite match the visual or comedy bombast of Ragnarok,” he praises Thor: Love And Thunder for being both “emotionally mature” and “funny.”
Other takeaways include rumors of an “epic” post-credits scene per Clayton Davis, and another sequence Kleinman calls “one of the most stunning visual sequences in MCU history.”
Thor: Love And Thunder will arrive in theaters nationwide on July 8.