By: Amanda Guarragi
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is now the first character in the MCU to have four instalments in his franchise. After watching Thor: Love and Thunder, it looks like the legend of Thor is just getting started. Co-writers Taika Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson wrote a simple, heartfelt story about who Thor truly is and what it means to be a god. The way that Korg retells a story about one Thor adventure with the Guardians at the beginning of this film felt very campy and playful. Something that works for the Thor we know from Thor: Ragnarok. But, Waititi also added a bit of darkness from Avengers: Endgame to carry with Thor. The one thing that can be said about this fourth instalment is that there was a balance of everything and it wasn’t overly like previous installments.
Thor embarks on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced — a quest for inner peace. However, his retirement gets interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods. To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who — to his surprise — inexplicably wields his magical hammer. Together, they set out on a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance. This movie is probably the most contained story in phase four and it felt nice to sit with these characters. Everything that happened in this movie worked for Thor and added to his character development moving forward.
Bringing Jane Foster back to wield mjoliner brought so much heart to Thor: Love and Thunder. It seemed without Thor opening up to the idea of love and being open to new people, he lost himself. Not only did Thor lose Jane, but he lost Loki, Heimdall, and all of Asgard. He was grieving, and no amount of distractions could help him heal. Watching Thor slowly open up to the possibility of loving again and learning to trust again will resonate with audiences everywhere. Additionally, Natalie Portman gives an incredibly grounded, emotional performance while still having fun as Mighty Thor. Portman truly brings out the best in Hemsworth and their chemistry carried the film. From an awkward first encounter to playful banter, and a final act that will make you cheer for them, it was the perfect way to bring her back into the fold.
Love and loss can also manifest into something dark and cold, which is what was shown through Gorr the God Butcher. Christian Bale was the perfect choice to play Gorr, but like every other MCU villain, he was underused. It would have been great to see more of him and to explore his character a bit more because of his title. Bale added a more seasoned performance alongside Portman, and it just goes to show that they are truly some of the best actors of our generation. They both brought the emotional depth needed to connect with these characters and they still had fun playing around with the lore. King Valkyrie had a more authoritative role, but even Thompson managed to have some fun with the sisterly bond that developed with Portman. There were some great girl power moments between them.
Thor: Love and Thunder is the best MCU project that has come out of phase four. It is contained in the Thor universe, has a wonderful journey of self-discovery for Thor, and explores the unifying theme of love. It’s thoughtful, heartfelt, and a lot of fun. Waititi’s humour is all over this, but it isn’t over the top or dumbed down. It will feel like you’re sitting down around a campfire listening to stories about Thor’s adventures with his friends, and there is something so wholesome about that. Hemsworth adores this character and you can see that in this instalment. He cares about his journey and how Thor can keep evolving. The post-credit scenes are very strong, and possibly the best out of phase four as well. It felt like Thor in his most natural state and that’s a wonderful thing considering everything that he has lost. On top of that, the soundtrack has stolen my heart and there are some pretty cool action scenes.
Thor: Love and Thunder will be released on Friday, June 8th! Don’t miss this in theatres.