In defense of Thor: Love and Thunder, one of Marvel's worst received films

It's hard to encounter a list of the worst Marvel films without seeing Thor: Love and Thunder showing up on it. Which is odd to me because it's one of the favorite MCU films of both me and my wife. That's right. It might actually be our favorite. Let's get into it.
"Thor: Love And Thunder" UK Gala Screening - Arrivals
"Thor: Love And Thunder" UK Gala Screening - Arrivals / Samir Hussein/GettyImages

Thor: Love and Thunder is an MCU film worth noting for many reasons. It's usually at the top of the list of Marvel's most disliked films. Despite that, it was also one of the highest-grossing films for 2022. It was nominated for 22 awards and won one of them. Regardless of the fact that it usually hovers around 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. Another interesting thing about this film though that catches many people by surprise is that if you ask me or my wife what our favorite MCU film is, we'll usually say Thor: Love and Thunder.

That's right, grab your popcorn (I'd say Mjolnir but haters aren't worthy enough to wield it), and let's look at why I love this film.

First and foremost, this film is absolutely gorgeous. There are so many different sets in this film, with a much wider variety than in any previous Thor film. Even space itself looks exciting with swirling nebulas and exceptional lighting choices. If you told me to send you a screenshot of this film suitable for framing you'd get an email from both me with hundreds of files and a message from your email provider recommending you upgrade to a pro account for bigger storage.

Secondly, and this seems to be a point of contention for some, but it's funny. Like, REALLY funny. People seem to think an action film can't be funny all the way through, acting like they never saw Die Hard or something. But it's funny and that's a good thing. The MCU has had so many films about a character buckling down, getting serious, and getting things done. We've had a million montages and dramatic effects. So many serious monologues and tear-soaked faces. For Heavan's sake, just give me a high-budget action comedy once in a while.

And Thor is perfect for this. He's quite possibly the least educated superhero in a universe of super-geniuses. Coming from Asgard he literally doesn't know how the world works and it's given him this unique level of earned ignorance that works in almost any situation he gets into. His overwhelming confidence allows him to both face down gods and happily accept giant screaming goats not with the air of someone who feels they can tackle the situation, but with the careless confidence of my 8-year-old.

Third, the villain was actually pretty good. Yeah, sure, the only real butchering that happened with Gorr the God Butcher was with his origin story, but let's not act like they didn't completely do that with *clears throat* Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, The Collector, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and so many more.

Sure, sometimes it's really good to see a Marvel villain earn a whooping and get absolutely trounced. Hell, try to remember a scene from Endgame that wasn't the entire Marvel budget hemorrhaging out of a million portals and right into Thanos's face.

But sometimes it's good to see a villain learn, even if slightly. Like, sure it was neat watching Captain America beat up Red Skull, but the Red Skull we saw guarding the Soul Stone that learned the error of his ways is the story I wanted to see. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, the most interesting parts of that film, to me, were the parts in the apartment where Peter actually seemed to convince some of the villains to use their powers for good. That is such a powerful change of pace than just Marvel playing two of their cards and seeing who wins on the strength roll.

They made Gorr more powerful looking than I've ever seen him and it was really interesting to just watch him throw the other characters around like toys and having them try to explain to him the truth he was missing instead of just mercing the guy was the road less paved with a better journey.

People want to dog on the Gorr moments of this film saying he was some sort of disappointment and doesn't deserve to be on a list of such beloved villains like the Destroyer Armor, Whiplash, Aldrich Killian, Crossbones, Dar-Benn, Kaecilius, Yon-Rogg, the Ancients of Mu Mu, Malekith, Dreykov, Obadiah Stane, the Dweller in the Darkness, Ayesha, and all the other super beloved MCU villains I'm sure you're looking up. And yes, I made one up and it's an old KLF reference. You're welcome.

I have zero qualms with this film. For real. I've been reading comics for almost 40 years at this point and this is what I've always wanted to see from a comic film. I like bumbling heroes that clash in personality and intelligence. It felt less like a by-the-book superhero story like the other films and gave me something more akin to a perfect D&D party dealing with a clever dungeon master.

Finding out that the one planet they were supposed to encounter Gorr on was just a tiny rock that the goats slammed into? Perfect sight gag that I've never seen before. Zeus getting literally and figuratively dethroned? Loved it. Val taking every opportunity to give flirty looks to almost every woman she encounters? Go for it.

The first MCU film came out 15 years ago. And since then we've been shoveled so many action films with the structure of a romantic drama. Heroes meet, heroes get along, some misunderstanding causes the heroes to break up, they then reconcile and realize they're stronger together. That was cool for the first 10 or so films but damn. Let me have fun for once you guys.

I let you broody kids have the entire DC universe to completely mess up. But in the Marvel Universe, I'm just asking to occasionally have a good time when I see the film instead of an hour and a half will-they-won't-they lead into the big title match and honestly, I'd love to see more of it.