It is hard for me to believe that any active actor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is having more fun with their role than Chris Hemsworth. His portrayal of Thor brought a lightness to the “franchise” that not even Robert Downey, Jr. could bring due to the nature of the character. Granted, he is a part of both my most and least favorite films so far in “Ragnarok” and “The Dark World” respectively, and with a character that has also been one of the stronger-written ones amongst the all-star cast Marvel has brought us, Thor seems to resonate more with fans than just about any other. Taika Waititi has seemingly been given the keys to the proverbial kingdom (no pun intended), and he does not show any signs of letting up with “Thor: Love and Thunder”.
After the events of “Infinity War” and “Endgame,” The God of Thunder has been on an emotional rollercoaster as a hero, a god, and even partially a man. His relationship with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has dissolved, he has lost the rest of his family, and his homeland of Asgard has been destroyed. The Guardians of the Galaxy have helped him get some of his mojo back, and he even has a new traveling buddy in Korg (Waititi). After an adventure with the Guardians, Thor learns of Gorr (Christian Bale), who has obtained the Necrosword and is obsessed with killing off all gods so he can reach Eternity to have any desire come true. As he returns to New Asgard on Earth, he finds it under attack only to be defended by a new Thor in Foster (awkward) and the city’s “king” in Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). They work together to find a way to stop Gorr the God Butcher before he completely lives up to his name.
Waititi has gotten a pass with me for a while solidified with his brilliant work in “Jojo Rabbit” as well as the aforementioned “Ragnarok,” and with “Love and Thunder” he has raised the bar for the MCU overall again. From a story that hits ALL of the emotions to a soundtrack that will have Gen Xers and more moving in their seats the entire time, I loved each and every moment of this film. I recently watched an interview with Hemsworth and Portman and hearing them talk about their personal professional growth from the first film until now made it that much more enjoyable for me knowing the genuine love and respect they have for each other that translates to the screen.
Bale specifically does a GREAT job and brings the creepy to a whole new level as a man who becomes that much more with the power to take down immortals combined with a personal vendetta against the gods that fuels his revenge like dumping diesel on a beachside campfire. The last couple of trailers give away a bit more than I wish they had (especially for a film that barely but still clocks in under two hours), but nothing really took away from my enjoyment. To be fair, there is one that was given away after the screening I attended that had I known beforehand would have bummed me out a bit, but if you haven’t seen it do yourself a solid and don’t.
This is also another example of where I am not exactly aligned with some of the other critics out there that have “Thor: Love and Thunder” sitting almost a third lower than “Top Gun: Maverick” at the time of this writing, and again… I don’t get it. This isn’t really a re-hash of “Ragnarok”(which rates almost as high as “Maverick”), but in my opinion carries the best qualities of the three “Thor” films that come before it: the adventure of the first one, the creepiness of “The Dark World” (yes, there were a few things I liked there), and the humor and scope of “Ragnarok,” and that is good by me. It really is worth it to see this film in a premium format of some form. Make sure to pay attention to the different fonts used in the title cards used before the credits roll (there is no other open besides the Marvel Studios logo, and that comes in a bit after the film opens) and yes, there is more to see during the credits. As the summer movie season rages on, this film will keep it going!