This weekend sees the release of the next installment in the Thor franchise within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Love and Thunder, the follow-up to the hugely successful Thor: Ragnarok, once again written and directed by Taika Waititi and starring Chris Hemsworth and a returning Natalie Portman.
The film begins with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) trying to find his path as he spends time going on adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy. When multiple distress calls reach the Guardians, Thor realizes that [SPOILER], an old friend and ally of his, was one of them. Thor splits with the Guardians to go help [SPOILER].
This was when Thor discovered that Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) existed and that he was killing all of the gods. Gorr had been a man and was praying to the gods to help him save his daughter. The gods did not respond and she died. When Gorr found the dangerous Necrosword, he started on his path to murder all of the gods.
When Thor ;earned that Gorr was on his way to New Asgard, he returned in an attempt to stop him. He arrived in a fight with the shadowy creatures that Gorr created when he saw Mjolnir back in one piece. Thor was excited to see his old “friend” Mjolnir, but was shocked to find out that Mjolnir went to the hand of the Mighty Thor, who turned out to be his old flame, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).
I am not sure how much of this storyline has been revealed in the trailers or interviews, so I am going to keep how and why Jane became the Mighty Thor under wraps for now. It does follow the Jane Foster Mighty Thor arc from the Thor comics by Jason Aaron. I also loved the little adaption to reveal how Mjolnir was able to be wielded by Jane.
Let me start off with Christian Bale. He is completely brilliant as Gorr the God Butcher. His performance was chilling and vicious, yet you could absolutely relate to him. He is one of the best MCU villains that we have gotten so far.
Chris Hemsworth absolutely slays as Thor once again. You can tell how comfortable he is in this character and that comfort allows Taika Waititi to take Thor into areas that we have not seen him yet. Natalie Portman also delivers a tremendous performance and the chemistry between Thor and Jane was off the charts. The chemistry between them never worked in Thor and Thor: The Dark World as it felt forced and out of line for the two characters. Everything with that is 100% fixed as the film has you rooting for them and that chemistry is put to a major test in the amazing third act of this film.
That third act was as emotional as I have been since No Way Home and Endgame. I was crying from excitement and from all manner of emotions that was striking me all at once. Obviously, I am not going to spoil the third act, but this was my favorite part of the entire film. Not to mention that we saw a character here that I would NEVER believe that we would ever see and it was completely comic accurate.
There was a lot of humor in the movie and much of it hit with me. I would say that I wish there were some times that the film did not take it as silly as it did. I didn’t mind the silliness that much, but I felt like I could have dialed it back a bit.
Oh, and the screaming goats were GOLD!!!! Loved every scene with them.
I have seen some complaints about Russell Crowe’s performance as Zeus. This did not bother me at all since this is truly the type of character that Zeus from the myths would be. I also found that Zeus’s bombastic nature was meant to be a façade to hide what he was truly feeling.
Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) had a good secondary story, and she does well with every second that she is on screen. We did wind up with less time than we got with her in Ragnarok and some more with her might have been welcomed. And, the Guardians of the Galaxy were not in the film much at all, basically a cameo in the first act.
Thor: Love and Thunder was a gorgeous film to watch. The shots in black and white that you see in the trailers are just astoundingly beautiful in the actual movie and created such a tone of dread fitting of the situation.
Both post credit scenes are great and offer up surprises.
I can understand why some people may not be a fan of Thor: Love and Thunder. There are moments in the film where the satire is too overpowering and threatens to send the film into parody and fans of the character may not be happy about that. However, I do not believe that the film ever takes that full step and I enjoyed most of the humor. Would I tone some of the humor/silliness back? Yes, but what is blended with the silliness is some of the best MCU action, heart and emotional stakes that we have had in a long while. The third act is one of my personal favorites of any MCU film and Gorr the God Butcher has to be included on any list of the best MCU villains to date.
Thor has been perhaps the MCU character that has taken the greatest character path since his first appearance of all of them and the direction of Taika Waititi and the performance of Chris Hemsworth has to be considered the reason why.