Thor: Love and Thunder is marvelously entertaining.
This review of the MCU film Thor: Love and Thunder does not contain spoilers.
Phase four of Marvel has been a tough sell of late. The Marvel cinematic universe has had several misfires in its filmography. Marvel films are supposed to be fun. And I thought they had misplaced the fun since we lost Tony Stark — so much so that I thought he took most of it with him. Besides being the only one who seemed to love David Harbour’s gut-busting turn as The Red Guardian, things have been a murky mess with Eternals and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Sure, the latest Spidey incarnation was thoroughly enjoyable. However, none have combined that pure pleasure of a comic book movie and a story with genuine stakes. Thankfully, Taika Waititi brings a serious amount of fun and a wonderful depth to Thor: Love and Thunder’s final scenes. It is the pure big studio comic book summer escapism we have been waiting for.
The following quick synopsis setup includes nothing you have not seen in the trailer or found online. The latest entry in the Thor filmography takes place after leaving with the Guardians of the Galaxy after Avengers: Endgame. Our hammerless hero has shed the depression weight since not being able to find love. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a God, after all. So, his grandstanding, spotlight-hogging, and thunder-stealing ways are growing thin on Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). His narcissism blinds him to the fact the group cannot stand him, even though he thinks they adore him. Nebula (Karen Gillan) cannot stand him. Mantis (Pom Lementieff) is confused by him. Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Drax (Dave Bautista) want to kill him. Groot (Vin Diesel), well, I do not know what he thinks.
After helping them save an alien civilization, Thor and Korg (Waititi) head back to New Asgard when a mysterious threat attacks the town. That threat is Gorr the Butcher God (Christian Bale), a killer whose goal is to kill all deities wherever they hide. He acquired the Necrosword after a golden god mocks his belief in him. (We will not go into detail on what fuels this revenge). When Thor arrives to fight, he comes across Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and the love of his life, Jane, who has taken on the role of Mighty Thor after gaining access to a reconstructed Mjölnir. That is when Gorr takes all Asgardian children, and Thor vows to get them back.
Thor: Love and Thunder was written by Waititi and Jennifer Robinson (Someone Great), and I would consider this script just as funny and even surpasses Thor: Ragnarok. They, as intended, attempt to capture the 80s-style romance brought by Jason Aaron while never being afraid to utilize Thor’s always-welcome comic relief. Much of that is a credit to Hemsworth. He is a performer who never gets the 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 keeps longing for Jane but Mjölnir. Of course, to the ire of Stormbreaker, who feels underappreciated and perhaps unseen.
Then there is the serious side of Thor, which I am not sure we have ever had until now. Bale is downright Shakespearean here as the grieving and vengeful Gorr. His performance is so good that it may rival or pass the MCU’s best villains. Yes, you can have your Thanos, Killmonger, and even the loveable Loki — Bale’s Gorr is the best villain performance in Marvel film history so far. He brings an evil poignancy to this film with an uncommon profundity. Along with Hemsworth finding that sweet spot between silly and moving closure, it is his best Thor turn yet.
However, let us not get the wrong idea here. Thor Love and Thunder, for the majority, has a light touch and is uproariously funny. Waititi fills the experience with 80s punk rock attitude, great gags, incredible special effects, a killer soundtrack, and stupendous cameos, and it has such a big heart. His film is so much damn fun. It will be impossible not to laugh aloud, smile, and be moved throughout the picture.
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