Love And Thunder And Bald Caps, Oh My!

Spoilers Ahead!

After watching Thor: Ragnarok (2017), my husband decided he did not like Taika Waititi’s films. He’s seen a few others, he’s given the director a chance, but he just doesn’t like Waititi’s style or sense of humour. And that’s fine. The MCU is now a large enough entity that they can make each movie and show appeal to a different target audience. Not everything has to be for everyone.

Although the Thor films haven’t always been the strongest in the MUC, I do enjoy them. And this one was no exception. Although I wouldn’t call this Waititi’s best work, it was still enjoyable, and something I would watch again. However, I am extremely glad I did not take my husband to see this film. If you, like him, did not enjoy Ragnarok, you might want to think about skipping this one.

From screaming goats to jealous battle axes, this film was packed to the brim with the kind of comedy that Mark does not always like. Personally, I enjoy Waititi’s sense of humour, but I did have a harder time with the scenes that felt like they came out of a romcom. And if I’m being perfectly honest, throwing a romcom into the middle of a space-Viking action/adventure film felt chaotic. But the title does prepare us for this. We get multiple love stories (about multiple types of love) presented between thunderous action sequences. Maybe it’s just more uncomfortable for me personally to sit through those kinds of scenes because I am not a romcom person AT ALL.

Adding to the chaos were the elements of horror that were also incorporated into the film. Scenes with Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) had the potential to be truly terrifying, especially when his shadow monsters came into play. As I said with Multiverse of Madness (2022), I would LOVE to see more horror in the MCU. And it should come as no surprise to anyone that the battle in the Shadow Realm was my favourite scene in the film. It was stylistic and clever with it’s use of colour within the black and white. Between the action and the creatures in the shadows, this battle reminded me of films like Eraserhead (1977) and Sin City (2005). Personally, I would sit through an entire film done in that style.

But there were some less than stellar moments in the film which distracted me from the things I enjoyed. Yup, you guessed it – it’s time for another rant about how much I dislike CG. Something Mark and I have noticed is that the CG and special effects in MCU productions are getting sloppy. I get the feeling that the MCU is so big now it’s resting on it’s laurels rather than pushing boundaries. They’ve got everyone watching, and they’re going to keep pulling in fans with every new hero and villain they add to the roster. Unfortunately, this puts the production value at risk of plateauing.

This was especially obvious when it came to the prosthetics on Christian Bale. In a number of scenes, wrinkling in a few unfortunate areas made it painfully obvious to me that he was wearing a bald cap. And this was especially frustrating as his prosthetics add a layer to his story. After forsaking the Gods, he is seen with scratches over the markings that were on his face. This suggests that those markings had religious significance since he felt the need to rid himself of them. Yet for the rest of his costume, he looked like a monk – or at least a reference to one. Between his brilliantly understated look and the brightly coloured attire of the gods, the costume design in this film was phenomenal. Which makes it all that much more frustrating that I kept noticing the bald cap.

Thematically, that bald cap also ties into the other reason why I’m glad I didn’t take Mark to see this film. This is a story about dying from cancer, something Mark finds triggering. Thanks to brilliant makeup, we watch as Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) slowly deteriorates when she is not the Mighty Thor. But as she struggles in this personal battle while battling gods and monsters, Gorr is dying of cancer too. Once he bonds with the Necrosword, he becomes cursed. But that curse is seen as an infection that takes over his body. And with his bald head, pale complexion, and dark, sunken eyes, his condition mirrors that of Jane Foster.

There are so many elements to this film that are so well thought out in terms of theme and story telling, that it really is frustrating that this is not a stronger film overall. After Multiverse of Madness, I find myself wondering how much Disney and the MCU are restricting directors. For both the recent Doctor Strange and Thor films, I wanted more what those unique directors can offer. Is being attached to a larger cinematic universe restraining? The decline in the quality of special effects is starting to show, so maybe other elements are being impacted as well.

But this is all just a theory. Of course, I’ll need to watch more movies to confirm my hypothesis. You know, for science.

Related Posts

Don't Miss Out!

Free Stories, updates on my writing, as well as sales and promotions