More Laughs and Less Thunder.
The film “Thor: Love and Thunder” is pale compared to its predecessor and doesn’t exactly move the franchise ahead, but there’s still a good dose of Marvel’s magic in it.
“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” it is said in The Dark Knight. This time, Christian Bale has turned villain for Marvel in Thor: Love and Thunder. The antagonist is potent, and the plot is also faithful to the comic-book storyline and brings back the crowd-favorite, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). There’s, of course, the wacky humor so unique to director Taika Waititi. And yet, despite being an efficient standalone film, Love and Thunder doesn’t quite live up to the previous Thor installment, Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
Thor has been an integral part of the MCU for over a decade. Still, his standalone films either hit the bullseye or miss the target completely. While Thor’s origins story (2011) was a decent start, the second movie of the THOR series, The Dark World (2013), was a horrendous entry. And yet, the list of top five MCU films includes the third film of the THOR series, Ragnarok (2017). The return of the Hemsworth-Taika Waititi combination meant that expectations were sky-high ahead of the release.
Thor Love and Thunder’s Story:
When Gorr (Bale) seeks the extinction of gods after being let down by one, he decides to strike New Asgard to steal the Stormbreaker. Thor has to stop Gorr by teaming up with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Waititi), and Mighty Thor, his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster. The story is straight to the point, unlike in Marvel’s recent films, and the performances are positive in this film. Hemsworth aces the titular character through a midlife crisis, but Bale and Portman stand out. The pre-title credit scene establishes evidence of what Gorr can do. He could have been the next Thanos for MCU; that’s in desperate need of good supervillains, and Bale brings a certain eeriness to the character.
However, this movie builds up a backstory for Jane Foster, who gets to show off her muscles in the film. Through all the cameos in this film, Marvel does its flexing too. Apart from the Guardians of the Galaxy team, we also have Sam Neill, Luke Hemsworth, and Matt Damon reprising their roles from Thor: Ragnarok as Odin, Thor, and Loki, respectively. Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone are playing Hela and the director of an Asgardian play, respectively. In addition, there are hilarious ideas like noisy goats, Korg’s narration of Thor’s backstory, Thor doing leg-splits, and Valkyrie becoming the ambassador for Old Spice.
There’s also the running gag of Thor seeking his Mjolnir but being worried about Stormbreaker’s jealousy. Unfortunately, these gags, although practical, come at the expense of deep emotion and serve to expose the wafer-thin plot as well. Thor: Love and Thunder deal with many types of love ranging from the romance of estranged lovers to a father-daughter bond. There’s a parallel between Gorr losing his respect for his God and Thor getting disillusioned by Zeus.
Best Moments of Thor Love and Thunder.
There are many easter eggs and even callbacks to films like Interstellar and Harry Potter. We get a shot of the dead God, Falligar, taken straight from the pages of comics. We see Hemsworth putting on the original Thor costumes that comic-book readers will recognize. When Thor bares it all during a brawl with Zeus, we see a tattoo that says ‘RIP Loki’ with the trickster’s helmet etched on our space Viking’s back. Finally, we are introduced to the evil Necrosword. Given how Mjolnir and Stormbreaker seem to have a mind of their own, it’s interesting to see more weapons being shown to possess the strength to control people.
We have seen this with the ten rings in Shang Chi, the magical bangle in Ms. Marvel, and the Ebony Blade from the post-credits scene in Eternals. After Marvel’s recent show, Moonknight, the line, “Gods will use you but never empower you,” feels relatable. There’s a bit about Valkyrie losing her beloved girlfriend in war and Korg falling in love with another Kronan man.
The first half reminds us of all the colors we love in Ragnarok. Much of the second half takes place in the dark realm, where everything is black and white. It must be said, though, that the action scenes in monochrome are pretty satisfying.
However, Hemsworth as Thor is here to stay. That’s a relief to MCU fans who have seen the original Avengers sacrifice their lives or hang their boots. Thor: Love and Thunder pale compared to its predecessor and doesn’t exactly take the franchise ahead. There’s still a good dose of Marvel magic in this film and not one but two Thors!
Thor: Love and Thunder
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe
Phase 4 seems a bit lost with directors trying to steer the franchises in various directions. ‘Doctor Strange’s sequel Multiverse of Madness’ was out and out horror, and ‘Love and Thunder’ is a generic rom-com. While Natalie Portman shines in her lead role and gets a tailor-made feminist line to mouth. “Don’t call me ‘lady Thor; the name is mighty Thor.” It’s Christian Bale you feel the most for. His villain ‘Gorr’ is too conflicted and muddy to seem a formidable nemesis. Of course, the thinly sketched character didn’t require someone as talented as Bale. And even with no real competition in play, two screaming goats steal Thor’s thunder, and I kid you not.