Thor: Love and Thunder brings all the fun in this long overdue reunion between Thor Odinson and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster.
After a gazillion Marvel films, you should probably know to stay for the credits. There are two scenes during the credits: mid-credits and post-credits.
After Thor: Ragnarok set a high bar, Thor: Love and Thunder has a challenge of living up to expectations. Unlike the other MCU stars, Thor is the only character to get a fourth solo film but the film meets the expectations. Meanwhile, Taika Waititi can keep on making Thor films as long as he wants to do so. Of course, Chris Hemsworth can’t keep playing the character forever even if he does embody Thor much like Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. as Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. The day is going to come when he’ll probably walk away from the role but that’s because he’s not getting any younger and these films mean having to stay fit. Cherish every moment because the day is coming even if we don’t know when it will be. But as long as Hemsworth is playing Thor, I’ll keep coming back for more fun.
With that said, I’ll dive into my review as only one can during a Marvel Studios review.
No offense to Kenneth Branagh but Taika Waititi is the best filmmaker for a Thor film. He really seems to know the character and brings the right amount of comedy and emotion to the franchise. In a perfect world, he would have found a way to bring back astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in Ragnarok. The lack of her presence is the only thing that is wrong with the third film. Anyway, Jane is back now and this time around, she is the Mighty Thor. I’m not going to dive into the backstory of how she gets into this position but I will say that it brings a certain emotional depth to the film. What I will say is that I absolutely love the chemistry this time around between Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane. Again, I’ve got to give credit to co-writers Taika Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson.
When Avengers: Endgame came to an end in 2019, Thor found himself going on a new journey. He handed over his throne to Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), who then ascended as King. What’s happened since then? New Asgard has become quite the tourist destination with plays and Infinity Conez. Meanwhile, Thor has been answering the call with the Guardians of the Galaxy. This tour was never bound to be permanent and they eventually split up. Don’t worry because the Guardians will soon return in the third volume of the franchise. Getting together with the Guardians allows Thor to get back in shape. But even at that, he just sits off the side and meditates while they take care of business. At least until they realize that they can’t win without him. But enough about the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Business takes Thor back to New Asgard where he is caught off-guard by the sight of Jane as the Mighty Thor. It plays out even more beautiful and humorous than the trailer. Beyond this there are so many humorous moments because Thor misses Mjolnir. He has a serious attachment to the hammer! Because of his feelings for the hammer, just wait and see how Stormbreaker responds. As this reunion happens, there’s a new threat in town: Gorr the G-d Butcher (Christian Bale). Gorr means serious business. Thor, Jane, Valkyrie, and Korg (Taika Waititi) head off to find help so as to stop Gorr. Otherwise, it could bring damaging ramifications for the entire galaxy.
Omnipotence City brings about a fun set piece and the introduction of Zeus (Russell Crowe) to the MCU. If you’ve seen the trailer, you already know that he flicks Thor’s disguise off just a bit too much. Russell Crowe brings the right amount of energy to this role and has some fun with it.
Korg gets some new competition when it comes to scene stealers. Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder are goats that were presented as presents during a mission. They absolutely steal the show. You might make the argument that the goats are the real stars of the film. Okay, I kid, I kid but still, they are so much fun to watch. Their introduction to the MCU is long-overdue but again, we needed Taika to take the helm first.
Christian Bale is always going to be Batman to me. He’s one of the best actors of his generation and it’s a surprise that he doesn’t have more than one Oscar in his career. Bale is the type to transform himself into a role and this film is no exception. This character thinks he’s a vigilante but he’s just a messed up villain that took a wrong turn from where I sit. After meeting Gorr early on, his journey takes him to Asgard and a meeting with Thor. Hela is a piece of cake compared to what Gorr has to offer. Hell, even Thanos looks weak next to Gorr. Taking on this role was a family affair for Bale–when you have the chance to work with Taika on a Thor film, you do not turn it down!
Oscar is not the first thing that one thinks about when it comes to watching acting performances in a Marvel or DC film. Visual effects, sound design, and score are usually the no-brainers when it comes to Oscar nominations. I think Christian Bale approaches the role in a way that could possibly see Oscar come calling once again. It’s no lie that he transforms himself for every role that he takes. There’s just something in his performance that takes his acting to the next level.
Behind the camera, there’s so much to enjoy about this film: costumes, set design, and of course, the score. Michael Giacchino and Nami Melumad handle composing duties and they do not disappoint. It’s a score that you’re going to want to listen to again and again. Their work really elevates the film and is a character in and of itself with themes for both Thor and Jane. On top of this, the song selection plays to the heavy metal side of things.
Love is a serious theme in this film. Whether its the love that Thor has for Jane or Mjolnir or the love that other characters have, it’s something that drives every choice being made in this film. At the same time, Thor is getting placed in all these situations and they can turn to the same solution so many times. That’s the thing about watching this film and seeing Thor going on this journey of self-discovery. No matter how far he gets in outer space, the Space Viking will always return to New Asgard. That’s where his people are and they’re making the best of it. Speaking of love, the film makes sure to show that Valkyrie is bisexual.
I do have my issues with the film but it’s mostly in terms of decisions I would make differently. I can understand why the filmmakers go with the choices they make. It doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. There’s good rewatch value in the film and given the past two years and change, I’m going to be revisiting this one in the years to come. Hell, look at the amount of Oscar winners are on screen!
Thor: Love and Thunder might have some absurd things going on with everything happening but of all Marvel films, this one has earned it.
DIRECTOR: Taika Waititi
SCREENWRITERS: Taika Waititi & Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
CAST: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, Taika Waititi, with Russell Crowe and Natalie Portman, featuring Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper
Marvel Studios will release Thor: Love and Thunder in theaters on July 8, 2022. Grade: 4.5/5
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