Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
"Thor: Love and Thunder" stars Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Jaimie Alexander, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, and Natalie Portman. Released on July 8, 2022, the film has Thor battling a new enemy while searching for inner peace.
The film is directed by Taika Waititi, who also directed films such as "Eagle vs Shark", "What We Do in the Shadows", "Thor: Ragnarok", and "Jojo Rabbit". It is the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU is currently known for capping off their solo superhero trilogies, mainly Iron Man, Captain America, and recently Spider-Man. The other members, like the Hulk and Ant-Man, either didn't come close to reaching the trilogy mark yet or just stopped after their first film. Fortunately, only one Avenger broke through the franchise's solo trilogy wall: Chris Hemsworth, aka The God of Thunder. Following the first two "Thor" installments, filmmaker/actor Taika Waititi revitalized the series with a fresh and comedic style that only he knows how in his other projects. That film came to be known as "Thor" Ragnarok", an illuminating blast of vibrancy, humor, and galactic shenanigans inspired by James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy". Not only did the movie save Thor's journey from its down-to-earth and weary tone from the first two films, but it also became one of the best superhero sequels in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At least, according to me and the other Marvel fans who watched it. As a result, Waititi reunites with the Marvel superhero for another god-sized adventure in the far reaches of the galaxy. Luckily for us, it starts with the hero getting rid of his "dad bod" from "Endgame". The MCU began this year's summer movie season with a decent mind-bending trip through the multiverse, and it looks like it's continuing its success with a trek filled with gods and Hemsworth's attractive muscles. Was it able to provide enough thunder to continue Thor's journey through the cosmos? Let's find out.
The story follows Thor (Hemsworth) as he travels through space with the Guardians of the Galaxy after the events of "Endgame". After eventually going their separate ways, Thor and his friend (Waititi) attempt to start the next phase of their journey: finding inner peace. During the process, Thor runs into his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Portman), who, to his surprise, has the power to wield Mjolnir and become the Mighty Thor. Additionally, he encounters a deadly plot from a malevolent being known as Gorr (Bale), who seeks to destroy every god in the galaxy. With Jane and Valkyrie (Thompson) by his side, Thor journeys to prevent Gorr's plan from coming to fruition.
Most of the projects in the MCU's Phase Four so far have characters dealing with the multiverse. The most prominent ones are "Loki", "Spider-Man: No Way Home", and the recent "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness". However, there were also a handful of projects in this phase that dealt with forces outside of this recurring large-scale issue, like "Shang-Chi" and "Eternals". "Thor: Love and Thunder" easily fits into the latter category, with the title character traveling across space to fight a god-killing knockoff of Uncle Fester from "The Addams Family". It's another good change of pace for those still getting their minds clear about what's going on with the multiverse's role in Phase Four. But, of course, the true test is to see if it's worthy enough to earn that title.
Like "Ragnarok", "Love and Thunder" has a style that resembles an 80s heavy metal music video, complete with Waititi's signature presentation, romance, and humor. This style helped the previous installment become a unique and refreshing addition to Thor's coming-of-age journey. Unsurprisingly, "Love and Thunder" turns the Waititi flair up to a ten, meaning there's more goofy comedy and galactic action than you can swing a hammer at. So if you loved "Ragnarok" and its silly and charismatic version of the titular superhero, there's no doubt you'd get exactly what you're craving for. Personally, I thought it was another entertaining and visually gorgeous chapter in Thor's series of solo adventures. Was it as great as "Ragnarok"? Not really, but it came pretty close. Did I have fun watching it? Absolutely.
The story offers yet another basic superhero movie that sees Thor preventing Gorr from killing all of the gods. However, there's more to the plot than just that. It's about Thor attempting to open his heart due to the arrival of Jane, who's diagnosed with cancer and has possessed Mjolnir. The film's title pretty much says it all regarding its message. The movie is about love overcoming sadness and hate. While it doesn't pack an emotional punch regarding the direction and simplicity, the plot is satisfying enough to deliver some heartwarming moments and dynamic characters amid its galaxy-traveling shenanigans.
Regarding the presentation, Taika Waititi is one of the filmmakers that never fail to impress. Waititi had a lot of expectations to meet when he was chosen to direct "Ragnarok" for Marvel, which is far beyond his comfort zone filled with low-budget light-hearted comedy-dramas. But, to our surprise, he passed the superhero test with flying colors. "Love and Thunder" has the filmmaker attempting to catch lightning in the bottle a second time, which can be tough to do regarding our history with directors helming two installments in the same franchise. Fortunately, he succeeded again in delivering a vibrant and wacky space adventure filled with vivid and colorful palettes that we would see in an art museum. Although, I would say that Waititi may have been having too much fun with its wackiness. Understandably, the film's tone and pacing can be pretty wonky in some places, with the comedy being more front and center than the drama. Luckily, most of the film's comedic moments made me laugh, so I can't complain too much.
Chris Hemsworth once again leads a wonderful cast as the title character. What else can I say about Hemsworth that hasn't been said already? He still maintains the charm and heart that made his character a splendid change in development in "Ragnarok" compared to the first two "Thor" movies. Taika Waititi is just as hilarious as before as Thor's ally Korg, and Natalie Portman offers a performance that's undoubtedly an improvement over her previous appearances. Portman's Jane has been absent in the MCU for almost a decade, so seeing her return for the first time since "The Dark World" as the Mighty Thor was a pretty big deal. Thankfully, the film managed to make her return worth the wait, with an arc that's suitably fitting for the film's message.
There has been a lot of praise swarming around about the film's antagonist, Gorr the God Butcher, played by Christian Bale. Based on what I saw, I can't help but say that the hype around him is real. Bale is one of the most talented actors working in Hollywood, and his performance as Gorr is another reason why. He's done a great job injecting a sense of terror into the Marvel villain and providing some layers into his personality to overshadow the character's change in design. Additionally, Waititi and his co-writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson did well in making Gorr a well-rounded villain by having a motivation that makes as much sense as Killmonger's.
As usual, the visual effects fully embraced the galactic and quirky nature of the world set in the MCU. As mentioned earlier, Waititi delivers a series of gorgeous frameworks that resemble something from an art museum or even a cover album from a heavy metal band. This is due to the film's splendid use of CGI and color palettes that represent its eye-catching backgrounds and action sequences. It makes me wonder why Waititi hasn't created an original sci-fi movie with these effects at his disposal yet.
Overall, "Thor: Love and Thunder" is another blast of radiancy and wackiness that embraces its mixture of superhero action and heavy metal influences. It's a bit of a far cry from what "Thor: Ragnarok" brought to the table regarding its tone and direction. However, the movie retains the fun, humor, and visual splendor that rejuvenated the solo franchise featuring the God of Thunder. With its charming cast, entertaining humor, splendid visuals, and a solid yet simplistic story, the film successfully continues Thor's life journey in more ways than one.
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