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Thor: Love and Thunder
Australia/U.S.A. 2022

Opening 7 Jul 2022

Directed by: Taika Waititi
Writing credits: Taika Waititi, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Stan Lee, Jason Aaron
Principal actors: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi

Gorr (Christian Bale) is galactic, i.e., comes from a galaxy in outer space where he intends to eliminate all of the gods. Naturally, Thor, the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth), aims to prevent this danger and organizes a team including Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (a huge fantasy character spoken by director Taika Waititi himself), and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). The four of them set off to combat Gorr in an exciting two hours of beautiful fantasy, springing from one planet to the next, when not sitting in their flying Viking ship.

This is the fourth Thor film, with the first appearing in 2011. All four are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). I have been cautioned to avoid spoilers, development of characters, and any details of the ending. But I can say that Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor in all four of the Thor films, and he is perfect for this role and is in great shape, both physically and as an actor. I wasn’t the only one who gasped when he was relieved of his clothing. What a man! Natalie Portman has also represented Jane Foster in several former Thor films. Fans familiar with earlier versions know that Jane is Thor’s former girlfriend. They haven’t seen each other for “eight years, seven months and six days.” She now possesses Thor’s hammer which has magical qualities. Other weapons also play a major role; Thor has an ax, and he wrests a lightning bolt away from Zeus (Russell Crowe); the mysterious Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) has a sword. Children play a role; first with Gorr appearing as a shadow carrying his young daughter. Then, Thor and his team must not only save themselves, but also rescue children imprisoned in a cage. We witness death and pain, but in the end, love counts, and all is revealed in an animated world occupied with all types of personalities. At my film showing the majority of the viewers were male, but the film has much to offer even old women like myself. There was much laughter in the audience. Sit patiently through the long list of credits (I counted over 1650 names!) for a small surprise in the end. (Becky Tan)

Second Opinion

Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) just keeps giving good fun and folly and, in the eponymous Norse mythological character Thor’s case, smartass wisecracks and perilous predicaments to keep mere earthlings entertained and happy. Thor, i.e., the God of Thunder, is a very powerful Asgardian—humans think of them as gods, as well as self-declared protector of Earth, plus early member of the Avengers. This is superhero Thor’s fourth cinematic romp: Thor (2011), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), plus Avengers: Endgame, 2019. In the marvelously mad world of Marvel, Thor: Love and Thunder's the twenty-ninth film and Phase Four’s thirteenth installment.

Always the somewhat feckless bad boy, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the past king of Asgard leaves his Galaxy Guardian friends to fight the good fight although it abruptly postpones his hiatus, i.e., search for inner peace. Hard put to admit, Thor’s still mooning about what is past, and questioning life in general. Concurrently and unbeknownst to Thor is one nasty disturbed galactic supervillain killer with an ax… uhm, savage sword to grind. Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) is on a horrifying mission to butcher, i.e., eliminate all the gods in the galaxy. Not one to shirk responsibility, Thor and rock-solid buddy Korg (Taika Waititi) travel instantaneously via the Bifrost to land in New Asgard. Thor is wise enough to seek help from King Valkyrie/Brunnhilde (Tessa Thompson); what knocks him off kilter is to find ex-girlfriend Jane Forster (Natalie Portman) there. Not only that, but she is also wielding his mended magical hammer Mjølnir and an alias as Mighty Thor. Thor’s got Stormbreaker, the enchanted axe. There is no time to lose, especially when God Butcher ups the ante through a cunning “Now you see them, now you don’t” ruse. With so much at stake, the unlikely team rise to the higher realms, the Golden Temple. A disenchanting encounter resolves their commitment and point their inner compasses toward the universe’s shadowy recesses.

Director Taika Waititi’s (Jojo Rabbit, 2019) imaginative detour from The Dark World to the lightness of Ragnarok continues in Love and Thunder. Not that nonstop action suffers. Marvel Studios executives gave Waititi creative freedom to reimagine characters, and the storyline’s direction. The screenplay, co-written with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, incorporated aspects of Mighty Thor, Jason Aaron's comic books that Hemsworth and Porter also endorsed. The master puppeteer since 2007 is producer Kevin Feige and more likely accounts for Marvel Comics cohesive evolution and the Studios films’ overall coherence.

This Thor constellation consists of: The outstanding cast—villains Bale and Russell Crowe, sweethearts Hemsworth and Porter, and Thompson, Melissa McCarthy, et al., Barry Baz Idoine’s cinematography, Nigel Phelps's production design, Mayes C. Rubeo’s costumes, Michael Giacchino’s score / Nami Melumad's music, and Peter S. Elliot, Tim Roche, Matthew Schmidt and Jennifer Vecchiarello's editing, plus the attention-grabbing Asgardian Goats.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have shifted Disney’s Phase Four timeline, yet it did not decrease the dazzling wonder of sailing forth into the wondrous world of comics, particularly the charged creativeness of Marvel. Thor: Love and Thunder is in a world unto itself: frightening yet funny, caustic yet kindhearted, along with being incorrigible, arousing, puckish and too much rousing fun to miss. (Marinell Haegelin)

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