I Saw ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ and ‘Flux Gourmet’ on the Same Weekend, and Somehow I Survived

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CREDIT: Marvel Entertainment/Screenshot; IFC Films

Thor: Love and Thunder

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson, Jaimie Alexander, Russell Crowe

Director: Taika Waititi

Running Time: 119 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: July 8, 2022

Flux Gourmet

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Gwendoline Christie, Ariane Labed, Fatima Mohamed, Makis Papaditriou, Leo Bill, Richard Bremer

Director: Peter Strickland

Running Time: 111 Minutes

Rating: Unrated

Release Date: June 24, 2022 (Theaters and On Demand)

Wow, here I am, a few days older and a few days wiser from having taken in a couple of the latest cinematic offerings. As Thor: Love and Thunder began, I felt invigorated by the current state of the MCU in which we’re not just building up to the latest chapter. Or, we are, but it’s not thuddingly obvious what direction we’re headed in. That felt freeing! But then after a while, I was worried that I had lost the plot – what was the deal with the kids again? At least we had a lot of fun with Russell Crowe’s Zeus. I wondered why he was doing an Italian accent, and then I realized it must be Greek, so that was a journey.

As for Flux Gourmet, the uncertainty was even more ever-present. Partly that was because I’ve never seen any other movie quite like this, but more pertinently it was because I kept nodding off. I guess I need to institute precautions when drinking vodka lemonades during a mid-afternoon show. Anyway, this flick ultimately struck me as most relevant in dramatizing what it’s like to be diagnosed with celiac disease. And any part not expressly about that was probably still metaphorically about it.

Grades:
Thor: Love and Thunder: More Love, Decent Thunder
Flux Gourmet: Straightforward Flatulence, Everything Else in Flux

This Is a Movie Review: The God of Thunder Gets Stranded in the Louche ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

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CREDIT: Disney/Marvel

This review was originally posted on News Cult in November 2017.

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins

Director: Taika Waititi

Running Time: 130 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Colorfully Stylized Action Violence and a Glimpse of Hulk Butt

Release Date: November 3, 2017

Even in its stronger outings, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has consistently exemplified the distressing 21st century trend of “franchise film as trailer for its upcoming sequels.” But putting at the helm Taika Waititi, the New Zealand director behind vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows and coming-of-age charmer Hunt for the Wilderpeople, would perhaps signal a willingness to kick back with an idiosyncratic one-off effort. And indeed, Thor: Ragnarok is not particularly burdened by setting up the next “phase” for all the other Marvel heroes, save for the mandatory post-credits scene as well as an early rendezvous with Doctor Strange that at least has the courtesy to be completely ridiculous. But as Waititi is not creating something out of whole cloth, it is still a bear of a job to wrap his sensibility around Thor’s personal history and Asgard’s extensive mythology.

One of the biggest disappointments of most MCU films, and what made Doctor Strange so satisfying when it bucked this trend, is their lack of imagination in design and music. Their craft is far from ugly, but it is no more than workmanlike. Ragnarok has plenty of personality, but it kind of gets in the way of itself. Mark Mothersbaugh’s prog-rock synth score is entirely fitting, but it never really fully rocks out until the end credits. All the new supporting characters make a convincing case to be the breakout star, but there is only room for so much of that in a busy 2 hours. I would never willingly sacrifice Cate Blanchett’s evil diva goddess Hela, or Jeff Goldblum’s eccentric sensualist Grand Master, or Tessa Thompson’s hard-drinking and unapologetic Valkyrie, or the most hedonistic version of the Hulk we have yet seen on screen. But this is a series of solo acts, not a supergroup. They play nice together, but they only intermittently gel as a unit greater than the sum of its parts.

The plot of Ragnarok is fairly straightforward, but a little overwhelming in its climax, due to the surfeit of moving parts. The titular end of Asgardian days is threatening to come to pass with the return of Hela, the long-imprisoned goddess of death and sister of Thor. Thor and Loki broker one of their many peaces to team up and save their home realm, but they are first waylaid onto the Grand Master’s home planet, where they get caught up in some gladiatorial combat.

By the end of it all, I found myself confused about who was defeated and who was victorious, and how much so on either count. Frankly, I am perfectly willing to forgo any prosaic interpretation for the sake of embracing a more expressionistic experience. This is not hard to do, as there are plenty of blasts of pure imagination (punneriffic reference perfectly intended). Trouble is, the story does matter to the people who made this movie, and even if it did not, it is too imposing to disregard. By the end of all these affairs, Ragnarok is the type of feast that overloads you with deliciousness but leaves you crashing instead of the kind that fills you up and floods you up with endorphins. It is adequately cromulent, but not very transcendent.

Thor: Ragnarok is Recommended If You Like: Doctor Strange, ’70s Glam Rock Stars, Kiwi accents

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Nonsense Circles

This Is A Movie Review: Thor: The Dark World

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Thor-The-Dark-World-Movie-2013-Review-Official-Trailer-Release-Date-1
While I surely enjoyed Thor: The Dark World, I also felt anxious for it to end for most of its running time, although that may have had to do with all the TV I was missing and would have to catch up on later.  But it may also have to do with the fact that at this point in the superheroic cinema game, the existence of each new movie like this feels so perfunctory.  In a weird way, The Dark World was one of the most encouraging and most discouraging entries in the genre.