Thor 5 Is Now The MCU’s Most Difficult Movie To Pull Off

Following the innovative Thor: Ragnarok and the mostly repetitive Thor: Love and Thunder, Thor 5 now represents a huge challenge to the MCU in terms of the sequel’s tone. Marvel Studios’ second theatrical release of 2022, Thor: Love and Thunder received mixed reviews and currently holds a 64% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Chris Hemsworth, who plays the titular God of Thunder, has become one of the most important names in the MCU, especially now that most of the original Avengers have exited the franchise, but following the disappointment of Thor: Love and Thunder, nailing Thor 5 will not be an easy task.


After Thor: Love and Thunder, Thor became the first MCU character to receive four solo movies. That was only possible because Thor: Ragnarok gave the character a fresh start following Thor’s underwhelming quest during MCU Phase 2. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame also played a huge part in Thor’s boost in popularity, as Chris Hemsworth’s character was one of the most powerful names involved in the Infinity Saga finale, along with Wanda Maximoff, Captain Marvel, and Thanos. The fact that Thor was a scene-stealer in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame set the bar high for Thor: Love and Thunder, not to mention how the fourth Thor movie was bound to be compared with Thor: Ragnarok.

Taika Waititi, who directed Thor: Ragnarok, returned for Thor: Love and Thunder – making it the first time a director helmed two MCU Thormovies in a row. Considering the positive momentum the character had acquired since 2017, plus the return of Taika Waititi as director, it seemed Thor: Love and Thunder had everything it needed for both critical and commercial success. However, it was far from being as universally praised as Thor: Ragnarok, with reviews pointing out that it was actually a lesser version of its predecessor. Thor: Love and Thunder’s Rotten Tomatoes score, one of the lowest for a recent MCU film, plus the fact that it made less than Thor: Ragnarok at the box office indicates that Thor 5 will have to do something different. Yet, Thor: Ragnarok already changed things up with the franchise five years ago. That puts Thor 5 in a difficult position, as it will have to pick between doubling down on Thor: Love and Thunder’s tone or reverting back to the more serious, Shakespearian approach used in Thor and Thor: The Dark World.

Thor: Ragnarok Reivented Thor In The MCU

While his first solo movie was a promising start for Thor in the MCU, his subsequent appearances in the franchise did not do the character justice. Despite his personal connection to its villain, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor did not have many moments to shine in The Avengers – neither as a character nor as a fighter. The first sequel, Thor:The Dark World, had the potential to expand the God of Thunder and the world around him by visiting other realms and tackling villains like Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), but the result was one of the worst-received MCU films to date.

As if the problems of his second solomovie were not enough, the God of Thunder’s next appearance in the MCU was in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which repeated a lot of the issues of Thor:The Dark World. Avengers: Age of Ultron did not know what it wanted to be, mostly wasted a perfectly cast villain, and also did not improve Thor as a character. After two disappointing MCU movies, Chris Hemsworth reportedly considered not returning to the role. Fortunately, Hemsworth wound up being on board with taking Thor in a whole new direction. Taika Waititi brought his unique sense of humor not only to Thor but also to the entire world around the character. The result was an unpredictable movie that offered a fun journey all the way through. Thor: Ragnarok made Thor compelling, perhaps for the first time in the MCU, and it set up the character for a better future. Had it not been for Thor: Ragnarok, Thor’s moments in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgamewould have never worked.

Thor: Love & Thunder Tried To Emulate What Worked For Ragnarok

As the most financially successful and well-reviewed Thor movie, it was clear that Thor: Ragnarok would cast a large shadow over Thor: Love and Thunder. Continuing the tone and the aesthetic used in Thor: Ragnarok seemed like an obvious choice, especially for a character who had initially struggled to find his place in the MCU. But what made Thor: Ragnarok truly special was that it was doing something new with Thor. Unlike its predecessor, Thor: Love and Thunder played too safe. Instead of finding new ways to evolve the character, Thor:Love and Thunder tried to repeat the same tricks that had worked for Thor: Ragnarok, which explains why the movie falls short.

Thor: Love and Thunder doubled down on all of Marvel’s creative choices regarding Thor: Ragnarok’s changes to the character, but some of them did not work a second time. Between its jokes and playful moments, Thor: Love and Thunder tried to tell the tragic tale of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), and the emotional journey of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) – a combination that didn’t do either character justice. Essentially, Thor: Love and Thunder left a lot to be desired, both for those who didn’t like Thor: Ragnarok and wanted something different and for those who liked Thor: Ragnarok but were expecting something bigger and better than the previous movie.

Thor 5 Now Has A Tone Problem

Thor: Love and Thunder was a natural progression from Thor: Ragnarok in terms of tone, which is why its mixed reception poses a challenge for Thor’s future in and for the MCU. Doubling down on the comedy and the silliness again in Thor 5 could restore what made Thor: Ragnarok so good, but it could also lead to even bigger problems with tone than Thor: Love and Thunder had. There’s a fine line between a lighter tone and what could be interpreted as parody, something that Thor: Ragnarok nailed but Thor: Love and Thunder did not. Simply restoring Thor back to how the character was in the first Thor and Thor:The Dark World would not work either. The same applies to the tone and aesthetic of the movie, as switching back to the Shakespearean approach for Thor 5 after Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder would feel abrupt.

Thor 5 Will Have To Reinvent Thor Again (With Or Without Taika Waititi)

Thor: Love and Thunder set up Hercules (Brett Goldstein) to fight Thor, but other than that, there’s no clear indication as to where Thor 5 can go. In order not to repeat Thor: Love and Thunder’s problems, Thor 5 will have to reinvent the MCU’s God of Thunder – again. Repeating the same tone and tricks from Thor: Ragnarok will not work, as Thor:Love and Thunder already proved, but that is not to say Thor 5 needs a new director. Quite the contrary, Taika Waititi is more than capable of subverting the expectations that his own Thor movies created. Having Waititi try to course-correct the Thor franchise could be the key for Thor 5 to be better than Thor: Love and Thunder.

A new name to direct Thor 5 could also work, although starting something from scratch would be risky. What will be of Thor as a character in the MCU likely depends on the rest of the Multiverse Saga, more specifically if Thor 5 will happen before or after Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. If Thor 5 happens after Avengers: Secret Wars, then the movie would have the perfect set-up to be a second fresh start for the God of Thunder in the MCU. It’s unlikely, but if somehow Thor 5 happens before Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, then the movie could wrap up Thor’s story in the MCU leading up to the ultimate finale of Avengers: Secret Wars.

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