Thor 4 Criticisms Highlight The MCU’s Impossible Challenge

The criticisms leveled at Thor: Love and Thunder actually highlight the biggest challenge that the MCU faces moving forward. After the character’s introduction in 2011’s Thor, the God of Thunder quickly became one of the MCU’s most important and powerful heroes. As well as being a key member of the Avengers and playing a significant role in the Infinity Saga, Thor proved to be a hugely popular addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly as the character has been used to incorporate levity into some of the franchise’s most serious moments while still acting as a major hero in the MCU.


Though Thor’s adventures in the MCU have seen him become one of the best-loved heroes in the franchise, his movies aren’t all considered MCU high points. Thor was a relatively shaky start, but was saved by its flashy visuals and an innovative story that broadened the scope of the MCU. However, the sequel Thor: The Dark World is widely considered one of the weakest entries in the entire franchise. Taika Waititi’s MCU debut, Thor: Ragnarok, redefined the character by injecting humor into his third solo outing and is broadly touted as the best Thor movie to date. Despite reuniting Waititi and Hemsworth, Thor: Love and Thunder was met with significant criticism, falling short of the praise heaped upon its predecessor.

The criticisms of Thor: Love and Thunder actually show the larger challenge faced by the MCU moving forward. Despite following up on the story of Thor: Ragnarok while making use of the same stars and director, Thor: Love and Thunder‘s reviews were mixed, with critics and audiences alike divided on Waititi’s second Thor movie. This seemingly evidences a shift in opinion towards the MCU – Love and Thunder hit practically all the same beats as Ragnarok, but it was far less successful, indicating that audiences are becoming less receptive to the franchise. It would seem that expectations for the movies of the MCU have reached an all-time high, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the franchise to effectively deliver content that does all the things it’s expected to.

Thor: Love And Thunder’s Criticisms Explained

The criticisms leveled at Thor: Love and Thunder are many, but the mixed critical reception hints that the issues some took with the film weren’t universally acknowledged. The biggest criticism is that Love and Thunder simply rehashed Thor: Ragnarok‘s most successful aspects, lending the follow-up an aspect of unoriginality. The problem with this criticism is clear: if the most prevalent issue is the way the film revisits the most popular elements of its predecessor, then it can’t be an inherently bad film (especially as Ragnarok is so well-loved).

Other criticisms of Thor: Love and Thunder cite lackluster CGI and an inconsistent tone. As Thor: Love and Thunder is predominantly a fantasy/sci-fi superhero movie, with multiple gods and magic powers, CGI was always going to be key, and Love and Thunder‘s abundance of visual effects was unavoidable. Its inconsistent tone mostly stems from Waititi’s mingling of serious story elements with more lighthearted comedy – again, something which worked well throughout Ragnarok.

Thor: Love And Thunder Actually Continued All Of Ragnarok’s Best Ideas

Interestingly, Love and Thunder beat Ragnarok‘s box office despite its mixed reviews, and that perhaps evidences the way that the sequel continues the best elements and ideas of its predecessor. Thor: Ragnarok introduced a greater depth to Thor’s character while simultaneously offsetting its more serious components with the persistent use of Waititi’s own brand of wacky humor. As Ragnarok saw Thor suffer greater losses than ever before, the film explored his grief and his drive for revenge – a trend that Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame continued.

Instead of simply retreading old ground, Love and Thunder had Thor confront his loneliness and his newfound fear of loss. By expanding upon the story of Thor and Jane Foster and adding multiple new layers to their previous dynamic, Love and Thunder built considerably upon its predecessors, and that’s the crux of what made Ragnarok so great. Though Love and Thunder may not have landed as well with critics, it did successfully continue the narrative ideas and trends established by Waititi’s previous film.

Love And Thunder Is Everything The MCU Needs To Be

In spite of the criticisms leveled at Thor: Love and Thunder, it’s actually everything that the MCU should be. Not only does it make consistent use of inoffensive humor, but it tells an accessible and emotional story that lends the franchise’s heroes a more human aspect. In this, and in a number of other ways, Love and Thunder is a perfect entry into the MCU – it’s a standalone story that still has a place within and links to the franchise’s wider narrative, and it captures the tone that has so far made the MCU such a resounding success.

The movies of the MCU are forced to walk an incredibly fine line: they need to balance action and superhero drama with light comedy and retain an air of gravity without ever becoming too dark or heavy. They also need to strike the right visual chord, balancing practical and computer-generated effects in a world that’s built around the fantastical. Despite the somewhat unfair criticisms of Love and Thunder, it arguably achieved all of those criteria, making its mixed reviews indicative of a larger problem for the MCU’s future.

Consensus On The MCU Is Swaying – That’s A Big Problem For Its Future

From its reviews, it’s clear that Love and Thunder proves a big MCU problem. Simply put, the overall opinion of the MCU is far less favorable than it once was, and though Marvel could once do no wrong, criticizing its releases has now become commonplace. Many Hollywood figures have taken aim at Marvel and the MCU, often citing the franchise’s somewhat formulaic approach to its movies as a major weakness. However, once upon a time, this formula formed the basis for the MCU’s success, so it seems that the real problem lies in audiences’ perceptions.

As Thor: Love and Thunder seems to prove that the MCU can no longer rely on its established formula for success, the franchise is faced with a major dilemma. Stepping outside its established parameters is risky, particularly as it could undermine the reliable nature of the MCU’s tone, but it may be the only way to move past the criticisms leveled at Love and Thunder. For the MCU to escape its biggest problems, it needs to avoid contradictory criticisms, and that makes the franchise’s future success more difficult than ever. The mixed response to Thor: Love and Thunder clearly shows that the MCU is facing the impossible task of maintaining all its best aspects while still needing to innovate, and that could well spell trouble for the franchise’s future.

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