ATTENTION: spoilers for the films “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “Miss Marvel”.
The positive reception of Ms. Marvel, including a record 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes, makes the negative reaction of Thor: Love and Thunder even worse. One of the direct consequences of Marvel’s new release strategy for Phase 4 of the MCU is that, thanks to the Disney+ platform, two parts of the MCU can now be released simultaneously — a movie on the big screen and a TV show broadcast on Disney+. That was the case in the finale of “Moon Knight” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” and now it’s happened again with the latest episodes of “Miss Marvel,” which aired around “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and appeared in theaters.
While this release strategy allows the MCU to advance its story much faster (to the point that the MCU’s Phase 4 execution time by the end of the year will be almost the same as the full Infinity Saga), it also highlights the differences between each of them. Marvel’s release is for better and for worse. Marvel’s fourth phase is drawing far more criticism than other eras of the franchise, for reasons that include, among other things, the number of releases. However, there are Phase 4 films and shows that, despite the current criticism of the MCU, are doing very well both in terms of box office and critical reception. The billion-dollar box office receipts of “Spider—Man: No Home” and the soundtrack to the movie “Miss Marvel” on rotten tomatoes are a few examples.
After the highly acclaimed Thor: Ragnarok, a film that redefined Thor as a character and set the franchise on a new, exciting path, expectations for Thor: Love and Thunder couldn’t be higher. Not only did Taika Waititi return to the director’s chair to continue developing the character of Thor, but it also turned out that Thor: Love and Thunder will bring back Jane Foster from Natalie Portman, who will return to the MCU as the Mighty Thor. With other celebrities like Christian Bale as Gorr and Russell Crowe as Zeus, the audience set the bar high. However, currently “Thor: Love and Thunder” has an amazing 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is much less than Ragnarok (93%), less than Thor (77%), and almost as much as the disappointing Thor: Kingdom of Darkness (66%). While an argument can be made that there is simply MCU fatigue, Ms. Marvel just scored 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, the highest score for any MCU show, proving that Thor: Love and Thunder’s problems go far beyond just the exhaustion of the franchise.
Why “Thor: Love and Thunder” was Smashed by Miss Marvel on Rotten Tomatoes
“Thor: Love and Thunder” includes many elements that have recently been criticized in the MCU. For example, the controversial computer graphics of “Thor: Love and Thunder” are a reminder of how varied the quality of visual effects was in Marvel properties, an issue that became much more prominent during Phase 4 of the MCU. The complex balance of humor, personality-awareness, and emotional stakes that many MCU films struggle with is also a problem of “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Even exciting new additions like Christian Bale’s “Gorr the Butcher God” and Natalie Portman’s “Mighty Thor” ultimately didn’t show their full potential on screen due to this inconsistency of tone. Such a long list of problems combined with high hopes for a sequel to “Thor: Ragnarok” helps explain why the rating of “Thor: Love and Thunder” on Rotten Tomatoes is so low — at least by MCU standards.
Compared to “Thor 4,” “Miss Marvel” had the advantage of being a new property with no previous appearances in movies or TV shows to live up to expectations. Obviously, Kamala Khan’s MCU debut was long-awaited in itself, but there were fewer preconceived opinions about what Ms. Marvel should show. Thus, the coming—of-age story, the funny montage, and even the change in Ms. Marvel’s background and abilities all seemed like a breath of fresh air in a franchise in which so much had already been done. A sequel like “Thor: Love and Thunder” will always be perceived from a different perspective than an origin story like “Miss Marvel,” and it helps to start explaining why reviews of the first one were so much worse.
In addition, in “Thor: Love and Thunder” it was felt that he was trying to reproduce Ragnarok, while at the same time trying to do something else. The result was a film with a confusing tone, in which emotional moments were often undermined by humor. Ms. Marvel, on the other hand, had a more consistent path. Even the oft-criticized six-part structure of the Disney+ Marvel series worked, as Ms. Marvel’s pace matched what was required for Kamala’s origin story. In other words, “Miss Marvel” knew what she wanted and realized it, whereas “Thor: Love and Thunder” did not copy Ragnarok and did not bring something else.
“Thor: Love and Thunder” tried to convey many elements in one 120-minute film.