WARNING: Spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor: Love and Thunder is the perfect sequel to Thor: Ragnarok. It had the same comedic action feel that made Ragnarok one of the best Marvel films, if not the best. The last time we saw Thor he was fat, drunk, and depressed over the tragic loss of Asgard and most of the Asgardian people. This time around, Chris Hemsworth smashes it with his version of an identity-confused Thor longing for love. It was nice to see him ripped again and on a journey of self-discovery. The multiple costume design changes were all mesmerizing but I enjoyed the look of the blue and gold with the classic flashy Viking mask. It is very fitting with the classic Viking ship led by screaming magical goats and traveling by the classic rainbow bridge Bifrost.
At first, it felt convenient that Thor’s long-lost love Jane Foster (aka Jody Foster aka Jane Fonda) had randomly become the Mighty Thor, but I came to love Natalie Portman’s take on the badass female Thor and the story of romance/sadness within it. The dialogue between Thor and Jane felt unnatural at times, but that seemed to match a couple who had been in love and hadn't seen each other after many years of unresolved feelings, so I chalk it up to over-realistic chemistry between the two.
Seeing Mjolnir back in action (and with some nifty new tricks) was great, especially in Jane’s hands. This of course makes Thor jealous which led to some very funny moments. I loved that Thor's longing for Mjolnir triggers Stormbreaker to become more and more jealous throughout the film. It makes for some of the best scenes and proves that Stormbreaker is a living being.
After all, it was forged in a dying star AND the handle is a part of Groot.
But what really brings this film together is Christain Bale’s portrayal of Gorr the God Butcher, and the selfish gods themselves.
Gorr was terrifying yet cunning throughout the entire movie. Unfortunately, Christain Bale was majorly underutilized and has even stated in interviews that he had many great moments removed from the film. He talked about doing a scream from a heavy metal music video that inspired him (Come to Daddy - Aphex Twin. Scream at 4:05.) but it had to be removed because it was deemed too terrifying. I could’ve used a little more menace from Gorr. It would’ve complemented the god butcher. With a run time of under 2 hours, it seems pretty rash to remove so many potentially great scenes. But it seems it is part of Marvel’s new formula to pump out instant minute versions of a bigger story for viewers with small attention spans. (It is quantity over quality these days.)
The beautiful Omnipotence City was visually stunning (like most of the movie), but I would’ve liked to have spent a little more time exploring the city. The gold goo that seeps from the gods when slashed was a beautifully artistic way to get away with the golden blood bath that takes place. I found myself imagining what this would have been like if it was real blood. That scene alone would’ve made the movie rated 'R'.
Russell Crowe as Zeus (complete with the Greek accent) was to die for.
I loved seeing all of the other gods of all different kinds of lore like Bau the adorable God of Dumplings and even the Kronin God (Korg’s Species), who sits upon a throne of scissors. (Get it?...because rock beats scissors!) I even saw some Celestials. While it was nice to see all of those gods, some action cameos would’ve been nice. I had hoped even one god would’ve joined them on their quest. The scene in the shadow dimension was a brilliant way to incorporate a black and white scene. The shadow dimension is pure darkness except for magical items that illuminate color around them like Zeus's Thunderbolt. The cinematography is beautiful and the imagery in these two scenes alone make the film worth a re-watch.
Tessa Thompson’s King Valkyrie was underutilized and I would've loved to not only see more action from her, but a lot more on her version of New Asgard in its current tourist trap state. The Dinseyland-esque park was a hilariously quirky way to keep things fresh. I half expected Thor to have an issue with how she was running things; a small squabble between the two gods would've been epic to see. Sif, as always, gets stiffed as well. She has two brief scenes in the movie and neither was an action scene. There is so much focus on bringing new characters into this phase that our beloved long-time heroes are being shunned.
The rock solo Marvel intro is a moment that I hope they continue to recreate for each hero; the soundtrack for this movie is already on my Marvel movie playlist along with both Guardians films. The make-up artists and costume designers deserve a massive round of applause as well for every character. The visual effects are out of the realm and did not slack like the last few movies. (Which I blame on Marvel’s fast-paced schedule and not the VFX department who have proved many times how talented they are.) There were many movie poster moments in this movie just like Thor: Ragnarok. If there is one thing Taika Waititi can do, it's bring the imagery.
Thor: Love and Thunder got off to a slow start, with an obvious pacing issue that can make it hard to get invested right away. But it all came together very well by the end. If the mid-credit scene means anything, we are in for an epic battle between Thor Odinson and Hercules, the son of Zeus (Brett Goldstein). Although knowing Marvel, the scene will never be revisited. (Kidding! Kind of… #Scorpion) For the last few movies, Marvel has shortened their runtimes to under 2 hours, and it shows. I could’ve gone for one to two more hours of Thor vs Gorr. I would've specifically liked to see more Christian Bale and all of those great scenes that were shot, but not released. I am predicting now that Disney will take a page out of the book of Zack Snyder and star to release “director's cuts” of certain Marvel movies at some point. Even still, I would rank this as one of the best and more artistically creative Marvel movies; ranking it just below Thor: Ragnarok. I’d be more than excited to see a third installment from Taika Waititi, this time with a more serious take on Thor after the life-altering events in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Some new exciting characters were introduced like Love (Gorr's child returned to life and living with Thor) and Heimdell’s son Axl. Axl has his dad's powers but instead of being cool about it, he becomes a giant, corny floating head. There have been a lot of younger side heroes coming into play over the past few movies and shows, like Ms. Marvel, Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), Patriot (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), America Chavez (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), and many more possibilities. I've also noticed villains from the Thunderbolts series slowly coming to power, like John Walker (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), Yelena (Black Widow), and potentially Abomination (shown in Shang Chi: Legend of the Ten Rings). I at least hope they have some kind of plan for the mess that is Marvel’s Phase Four and we get a hint soon.