‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Review: An Ode to the MCU Gods

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Thor: Love and Thunder has finally landed in theaters. The first solo franchise by Marvel Studios to earn a third sequel!  The film has gained a lot of attention, with mixed responses from both critics and fans alike. So what did this critic and fan think about the fourth entry in the Thor series? Let’s summon the Bifrost and hitch your screaming goats as we explore that question and more in my Thor: Love and Thunder review!

If you haven’t watched the film and wish to avoid heavy spoilers, check out Diego Peralta’s early review!

[Warning: Spoilers from Thor: Love and Thunder below!]

From Guardians to Gods

The film opens up on a desolate planet. Winds sweep across a dry desert, void except for two bodies. Gorr (Christian Bale) holds his dying daughter (India Hemsworth), praying to gods who won’t answer. After his daughter’s death, Gorr stumbles upon the diety he was praying to, Rapu, who rejects Gorr and his people.

Sensing his anger, the Necrosword offers itself to Gorr, starting him off on his mission to rid the universe of all gods. This scene was poignant, giving audiences a chance to relate to Gorr’s loss, however, also sets up the scariest villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.

Using frame storytelling, director Taika Waititi positions Korg, as the narrator of Thor’s latest adventure. Korg’s story begins from the closing moments of Avengers: Endgame, as Chris Hemsworth’s Thor sets off with the Guardians of the Galaxy. 

The Love and Thunder Reading Guide (Goats & Gods)

Thor love and thunder goats gods comics reading guide

Traversing through the stars, Thor may get his built body back, going from sad body to god-bod as Korg explains. However, happiness still escapes him, for he has no love in his life.

Thor doesn’t get much time to dwell on his sadness when he receives a distress signal from Sif (Jamie Alexander), stating that gods are being slaughtered. Thor parts ways with the Guardians, traveling with Korg and his two new goat companions to save his old companion.

Jane’s journey in Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor arrives on a snowy planet near the remains of a giant ice god, one that is considered one of the nicest gods in the galaxy. Thor finds Sif, who lost an arm in battle, laying the snow preparing for death’s arrival. The God of Thunder has other plans, whisking Sif off to New Asgard for proper healing.

Upon his arrival though, he discovers that the God Butcher has also made his way to Earth. Although Gorr isn’t there for Thor, but for Mighty Thor a.k.a. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).

The Mighty Thor Reading Guide

Mighty thor reading guide

The second frame story begins, with Korg explaining how Jane Foster came into possession of Mjolnir. In a heartbreaking and yet still touching scene with Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), the audience learns that Jane has stage four cancer and has been unsuccessful in developing a cure.

In a last-ditch effort, she arrives in New Asgard to improve her situation and reconstitutes Mjolnir because of a promise Thor made with the hammer: protect Jane.

The feeling I got is that Jane has been Thor for a bit of time, perhaps weeks because the people of New Asgard love her. She’s also a great hero, however, is using her newfound superhero powers to run away from her illness. At the cost of what little health she has.

To Omnipotence City and beyond

So begins Thor and Mighty Thor’s adventure across the cosmo, with King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg in tow, to save the children that Gorr kidnapped. Knowing they can’t do it alone, the Revengers (they are still called that right? From Ragnarok?) head to the city of the gods to ask for assistance.

Thor Love and Thunder Olympus
Omnipotence City in Thor: Love and Thunder (Marvel/Disney)

Cue the fanfare for Zeus, played by Russel Crowe! The leader of the Council of Gods and the biggest a-hole in a film that features the Guardians of the Galaxy. Zeus, in parallel to the scene with Gorr and Rapu, rejects Thor’s pleas for help. Chaos ensues with the Revengers eventually stealing Zeus’s lightning bolt and embarrassing the all-important god.

Their adventure finally takes them to the Shadow Realm, resulting in one of the greatest fights of the film. With the color drained from the atmosphere and the only bright points being the thunder and lightning, the contrast of the scene was amazing. However, the heroes lose and Gorr takes Stormbreaker, opening the door to Eternity.

The third act following the fight in the Shadow Realm is some of the best scenes of the entire film. However, that is also a journey that needs to be experienced instead of just read about.

Christian Bale Gorr in Thor: Love and Thunder
Christian Bale as Gorr in Thor: Love & Thunder (Marvel/Disney)

The final battle between the two Thors and Gorr was a highlight of the film, bringing action and emotion. I was on the edge of my seat from the first moment to the last and ended in a puddle of tears. It was a beautiful ending for the story being told, while also providing audiences with a pretty clear picture of what is to come. I think it’s safe to say that there are more adventures for Thor in the future.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s best parts

Natalie Portman deserves all kinds of awards for her performance as Jane Foster/Mighty Thor. She was definitely the heart of the film, with her journey integral to the arc that they wanted to tell.

Thor: Love and Thunder - Mighty Thor Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster/ The Mighty Thor. Thor: Love and Thunder (Marvel/Disney)

My only complaint about Jane Foster in this film is that there wasn’t enough. I need ten more movies with her at the helm of Mjolnir stat! I don’t think this is the final Marvel Studios project with Natalie Portman in it, however, there are some questions as to how they will pull it off.

Axl (Kieron L. Dyer) was a delight to have in the film and a character I wasn’t expecting. As the son of Heimdall, Axl presents an exciting future for the MCU. He possesses the same powers as his father, though needs a bit of training. The possibilities this original character brings to the MCU are endless and I have a feeling he’ll fit in well with the Young Avengers. It’ll be nice to have another able to control the Bifrost, making traveling across the realms easy once again.

The action in this film was incredible. There were no less than four major fights with our heroes, all of which were excellently choreographed and exciting. Seeing Jane finally get into the fight and watching her fly around was so exciting.

 

I also loved how Mjolnir had changed, being able to break apart and come back together at will. Whoever was the fight coordinator on the film deserves a raise, because it truly was one of the best MCU films with its action.

Thor: Love & Thunder- Chris Hemsworth and Mjolnir
LtR: Mjolnir and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Thor: Love & Thunder (Marvel/Disney).

Gorr was also one of the best villains we have ever seen in the MCU. Christain Bale is terrifying, I think those crazy eyes and razor-sharp smile will haunt me in my nightmares. The scenes in which he spoke to the kidnapped children stood out to me as some of the best parts of the film.

Bale threw himself into the role of Gorr the God Butcher. He also added a ton of humanity to the villain, which isn’t something we always see in these types of roles. My heart broke for Gorr having lost everything. It doesn’t excuse his actions of killing everyone, however, it does bring some clarity to his motivations.

Baffling bits from Marvel Studio’s latest film

The most confusing part of the film was that it felt entirely too short. The film moves at such a breakneck pace, that there isn’t really any time to slow down and process what is happening. Even the few scenes that are a bit slower are incredibly short that it’s hard to think of them as reprieves from all the action and drama. The film could have benefitted from an extra twenty to thirty minutes, allowing for an easier pace and perhaps a bit more character exploration.

There were also plenty of scenes and sequences that felt like there were chunks missing. Such as the scene of Jane Foster transforming into Mighty Thor. There was footage of that entire sequence and yet it never made it into the final film.

It doesn’t seem that time was a constraint with the film clocking in at just under two hours. I do wonder if the cuts resulted from an inability to finish VFX or post-production work, due to the pandemic. Either way, some of the scenes felt slightly cheated from the loss of these extended scenes.

Overall impressions from Thor: Love and Thunder

All that being said and done, I enjoyed Thor: Love and Thunder a lot. I think it was a strong entry in Thor’s franchise, rating higher than the first two films. While it did have some issues, the story itself was enjoyable and I was ecstatic to see Natalie Portman return with a meatier role.

With so much life left in Thor’s story, as well as the other gods still alive, I cannot wait to see where the MCU goes with these characters. I think with time, as we’re now seeing with Marvel Studio’s Eternals, fans will look back on Thor: Love and Thunder fondly, appreciating everything that it brought to the MCU.

My rating for this film: 

★★★★/ ♥♥♥♥♥

Thor: Love and Thunder is exclusively in theaters. What did you think of the film? Were you impressed with it, or did it leave you wanting more? Let us know over on Twitter!

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