Only in the high-pressure world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would a movie earning upwards of $730 million at the box office be viewed as a disappointment, but that’s exactly the boat we find ourselves in as the pre-emptive autopsy begins on Thor: Love and Thunder.
Phase Four has proven to be the most divisive stage of the shared superhero saga yet, matters that haven’t been helped by Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Love and Thunder landing some of the weakest reviews and lowest CinemaScores in the franchise’s 29-film history.
Not only that, but Chris Hemsworth’s landmark fourth solo outing has seen the standalone Thor series become just the second individual property to see its box office takings drop between sequels, with the dip between The Avengers and Age of Ultron the sole other outlier. While it’s easy enough to pile on and beat a dead horse, Redditors have been trying to extract the positives from a theatrical run that’s been underwhelming by the high standards of the MCU.
Thanks to the widespread popularity of Ragnarok, Love and Thunder was predicted to be in with a shot at joining the billion-dollar club, but that’s obviously not going to happen. While the absence of a Chinese release definitely stings, Taika Waititi’s sequel will still fall $200 million short of Doctor Strange’s second stab at the big screen, even though it’s not as if the film isn’t going to turn a tidy profit when all is said and done.
Of course, not every MCU blockbuster needs to hit 10 figures to be deemed as an unqualified win, but that doesn’t mean it can be viewed as anything even remotely approaching a failure.