This review of the MCU movie Thor: Love and Thunder contains no spoilers.
Marvel’s Phase Four has been a tough sell lately. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had several hiccups in its filmography. Marvel movies are supposed to be fun. And I thought they had lost the fun since we lost Tony Stark – so much so that I thought he had taken most of it with him. Besides being the only one who seemed to like David Harbor’s heartbreaking turn as The Red Guardian, things were a murky mess with Eternals and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Of course, the latest incarnation of Spidey was really enjoyable. However, none have combined this sheer fun of a comic book movie and a story with real stakes. Fortunately, Taika Waititi brings a lot of fun and wonderful depth to Thor: Love and Thunder’final scenes. It’s the pure summer escapism from the big comic studios we’ve been waiting for.
The following quick synopsis setup doesn’t include anything you didn’t see in the trailer or find online. The final entry into Thor’s filmography takes place after he left with the Guardians of the Galaxy after Avengers: Endgame. Our hammerless hero has lost the weight of depression since he couldn’t find love. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a God, after all. So his grandiose, spotlight-hogging, thunder-stealing ways dwindle on Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). His narcissism blinds him to the fact that the group can’t stand him, even though he thinks they adore him. Nebula (Karen Gillan) can’t stand it. Mantis (Pom Lementieff) is troubled by him. Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Drax (Dave Bautista) want to kill him. Groot (Vin Diesel), well, I don’t know what he thinks about it.
After helping them save an alien civilization, Thor and Korg (Waititi) return to New Asgard when a mysterious threat attacks the city. That menace is Gorr the Butcher God (Christian Bale), a killer whose goal is to kill all the deities wherever they hide. He acquired the Necrosword after a golden god mocked his belief in it. (We won’t go into the details of what fuels this rematch). When Thor arrives to fight, he meets Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and the love of his life, Jane, who has taken on the mantle of Mighty Thor after gaining access to a rebuilt Mjölnir. It is then that Gorr takes all the Asgardian children and Thor swears to get them back.
Thor: Love and Thunder was written by Waititi and Jennifer Robinson (A good person), and I would consider this script to be equally funny and even surpasses Thor: Ragnarok. As expected, they attempt to capture the ’80s-style romance brought to you by Jason Aaron without ever being afraid to use Thor’s ever-welcome comic relief. Much of that comes down to Hemsworth. He’s a performer who never gets credit for the impeccable timing and comic relief he brings to Marvel’s filmography. There is a hysterical gag throughout the film. Here with Thor’s midlife crisis as he not only continues to desire Jane but Mjölnir. Of course, to the wrath of Stormbreaker, who feels underappreciated and possibly invisible.
Then there’s the serious side of Thor, which I’m not sure we’ve ever had until now. Bale is downright Shakespearean here as the grieving and vengeful Gorr. Its performance is so good that it can rival or surpass the best villains in the MCU. Yes, you can have your own Thanos, Killmonger, and even the lovable Loki – Bale’s Gorr is the best villain performance in Marvel movie history so far. He brings an evil poignancy to this film with an unusual depth. With Hemsworth finding that happy medium between silly and soulful closure, it’s his best Thor turn yet.
However, make no mistake about it. Thor Love and Thunder, for the most part has a light touch and is extremely funny. Waititi fills the experience with 80s punk rock attitude, great gags, incredible special effects, a killer soundtrack and prodigious cameos, and he has such a big heart. His movie is so much fun. It will be impossible not to laugh out loud, smile and be moved throughout the picture.
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