Even though the four Marvel Cinematic Universe Thor movies have drastically differed in quality, with some being called the best MCU projects and others the worst, the God of Thunder is still undeniably one of the most important superheroes in the long-running franchise.
After all, Chris Hemsworth has played the Asgardian since Phase One of the MCU. Since the franchise has greatly changed in recent years, his portrayal of Thor is one of the aspects of the MCU that longtime fans hold near and dear. If Hemsworth ever chose to retire from the role, he would surely leave a gaping hole in the MCU, much like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans did before him.
Even though Hemsworth played a superhero for about as long as the two previously mentioned actors, he never seemed to share the same fatigue for his role as Downey Jr. and Evans did… at least until recently. Taika Waitit’s critically panned Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) was the first time it seemed possible that Hemsworth could step down from the role.
However, rumors constantly suggest that Marvel Studios is indeed developing a Thor 5. Additionally, new details have emerged about Waititi’s vision for another Thor movie, which has caused many to debate whether the director should return to direct the potential Thor 5.
Ragnarok: The End Marked a New Beginning
In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is a cataclysmic event that leads to the end of the world of gods and men. Therefore, when “Ragnarok” was revealed as the subtitle for the third Thor movie, many believed it might be the last. They couldn’t have been more wrong, however, as Waititi breathed new life into the character with his acclaimed 2017 film.
After the disappointing Thor: The Dark World (2013), the God of Thunder was almost unanimously viewed as the most boring character in the MCU, which is why it was a genius move to hire Waititi to direct Thor: Ragnarok.
Much like James Gunn before him, Waititi brought his distinctive sense of humor to the MCU. While the first two Thor films aspired to be Shakespearean-esque family dramas, Ragnarok was not afraid to lean into the goofiness of the superhero genre. However, amidst all the jokes, Waititi wrote a film that was rooted in character and had undeniably high stakes for all Asgardians.
At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, Asgard was destroyed, but Thor did not die with his world. Instead, he found a second life in the MCU. Fans around the world cheered when he arrived in Wakanda to face Thanos, and after the events of Infinity War and Endgame, they remained excited and optimistic about his future… then Love and Thunder was released.
Love and Thunder: Too Silly?
After the undeniable success of Thor: Ragnarok, MCU fans were ecstatic to learn that Waititi was returning to direct the fourth Thor film. Even after the Love and Thunder trailer was released, which showcased an 80s-inspired training montage for the God of Thunder, people continued to praise the director’s humorous approach to the franchise that was once viewed as dull.
However, once Love and Thunder actually came out in theaters, fans’ opinions of Waititi quickly changed. The MCU has always had its fair share of what some would call dumb comedy, but many believe Waititi took it way too far with his second Thor movie. While Ragnarok’s humorous moments were almost unanimously praised, fans rallied to express their belief that Love and Thunder is far too silly to be taken seriously.
Several comedic moments in Love and Thunder, such as Thor’s new screaming goats and Jane (Natalie Portman) desperately trying to develop a catchphrase, simply didn’t land for audiences. Additionally, even though Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) is meant to be one of the most powerful villains in the entire MCU, Waititi’s insistence on thrusting comedy into every scene led many to feel that the movie had no stakes.
Currently, Love and Thunder holds a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the lowest-rated MCU entries ever and the worst-reviewed Thor movie. It is not a good sign that Love and Thunder couldn’t even top Thor: The Dark World, which sits at 66%.
Thor 5: A New Direction
Therefore, it is clear that debating whether Waititi should return to direct Thor 5 is valid. On the one hand, perhaps it is unfair to condemn a director for one less-than-satisfying film. After all, Waititi does boast an impressive filmography, which includes critically acclaimed movies such as Jojo Rabbit, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and What We Do in the Shadows.
On the other hand, maybe the smartest move for Marvel would be to bring in a completely different kind of filmmaker to revitalize the Thor franchise once again, just like they did between The Dark World and Ragnarok. It has already been proven that the Thor series works within many different genres, so audiences wouldn’t be shocked or thrown off if the next film had a completely different tone.
On this note, it is also important to consider the wishes of the franchise’s leading man. About a year after the release of the fourth Thor film, Hemsworth made it clear that he too believes that Love and Thunder relied on comedy too much. The actor said,
“I think we just had too much fun. It just became too silly. It’s always hard being in the centre of it and having any real perspective… I love the process, it’s always a ride. But you just don’t know how people are going to respond.”
Hemsworth has also previously claimed that Thor 5 would have to have a drastically different tone. This may be necessary, as he has even noted that the next Thor movie could be the last one.
If this is the case, Marvel needs a grand slam for one of their most popular characters. Therefore, is it better for them to go with Waititi, an MCU veteran who, despite one misfire, is still a talented and proven filmmaker, or a completely different director who is capable of telling a truly unpredictable final entry for the Thor franchise?
Taika Waititi has directed two Thor movies: one a smashing success and the other viewed as a disappointment. Therefore, should he return for Thor 5? Read More