Thor: Love and Thunder
I'm going to come right out of the gates here saying that my opinion on this will probably differ greatly from most. Critically, this didn't seem to turn out entirely bad, but it's not what we'd call "top of the list" when it comes to MCU films. I went in there expecting pretty much exactly what I got... well, almost. I'm not gonna say this wasn't without a few stand-out problems, but I still look at this one in a positive light, and I'll get to everything I think makes this movie good.
We open by meeting our (somewhat) sympathetic villain-to-be, Gorr (Christian Bale) and his daughter (India Rose Hemsworth) crawling through a desert in dire need of shelter and sustenance. Although Gorr prays many times to their God, Rapu, his daughter doesn't make it. While mourning his loss, Gorr hears the Necrosword (a God-killing blade) calling to him. Eventually, circumstances bring them together, and he is tasked by the Necrosword to kill all of the Gods. He then gets a gift/curse placed on him with which he can manipulate shadows, creating nightmarish creatures from them. However, like a Cancer, the sword spells impending doom for Gorr with corruption and eventual death.
On the lighter side of things, we get a bit of a recap of events that we didn't see, told through Korg (Taika Waititi), giving us a brief history of Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) time with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), their breakup, and his post-'End Game' adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy (sans Gamora). The Guardians get a short amount of screen-time, so if this is what you came to see, don't get your hopes up too high. During one adventure, we see how they all function together to pretty funny results. However, once Thor receives a distress signal from Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Thor, along with Korg, parts ways with the Guardians to find Sif and learn that New Asgard is about to be levelled by this "God Butcher" fellow.
Thor heads to New Asgard to help defend it against Gorr and his shadow creatures and happens to come across an interesting surprise - Dr. Jane Foster as a whole new Thor. Jane, now in the midst of a battle against Cancer, has been called and chosen by the now shattered (after 'Ragnarok') and on-display in New Asgard, Mjolnir (Thor's old hammer). This is corny, but it's all based on Thor's love for Jane while Mjolnir was still in Thor's life. Like this sort of accidental love spell that allows Jane the power of the Mighty Thor. Soon, the group learns that Gorr is after Thor's new fancy weapon, Stormbreaker, which will allow him access to powers that will assist him in his mission to kill all of the Gods, Kratos style.
So let me get into the rest of the review by pointing out what I didn't enjoy. I think, first and foremost, is the Guns 'n Roses drilling. this film did. Don't get me wrong, I love this music - it suits the overall style of this flick, and there's a great nostalgic factor to some early Guns 'n Roses for me. Hell, I even appreciated where they used all of these songs. But then there's other hints of it, like Heimdall's son wanting to be called Axl, a GnR poster seen in the background, and I'm almost positive I'm missing a few other references. It's to the point of me rolling my eyes after a while saying "okay, we get it, you love Guns 'n Roses".
On top of that, we also have one of these awkward situations where Jane as Thor is incredibly awkward in how she talks - however, she is written that way, as a sort of self-aware joke. And I have to say, Valkyrie wasn't nearly as entertaining as she was in 'Ragnarok'. However, let's not take away any highlights this film has. In particular, I loved Christian Bale's performance as Gorr here. I sincerely don't know enough about the character, but what I saw here, I really enjoyed. I further appreciated how, like in 'Ragnarok', they too the outlandishness of it all and twisted it into a little more of a comedic, sci-fi premise than a perpetual fish-out-of-water thing.
I think that if you enjoy the MCU's more fun titles that don't take themselves too seriously, then this can be a fun time. It has a few things here and there that irk me throughout, but none of it is enough to claim the movie is even really "bad". In truth, I might say it's my second fave in the 'Thor' series, behind 'Ragnarok'. Even with all of the corniness that lies within, I still had a lot of fun with this one, and I found it fairly easy to overlook a lot of the ridiculousness of it. People are bound to be very split on this one, and they may say Waititi can do much better. That may be true, but this also had a very Waititi feeling, regardless of any bad writing. It's not top-list material, but I was definitely entertained!
MID-CREDIT SCENE: We revisit Omnipotence City, where Zeus (Russell Crowe) is recuperating in the aftermath of a previous fight scene Thor was the cause of. He then asks of his son, Hercules (Brett Goldstein), to find and kill Thor.
POST-CREDIT SCENE: Jane Foster arrives at the gates of Valhalla, where Heimdall (Idris Elba) welcomes her.
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