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REVIEW: Taika Waititi’s ‘Thor: Love And Thunder’ Is Refreshingly Heartfelt

For a moment, let’s be sincere. Before 2017, how many people did you think Thor was their favorite Avenger? Although both audiences and critics praised Chris Hemsworth’s performance, many also thought that the God of Thunder’s stand-alone films from Kenneth Branagh and Alan Taylor lacked anything noteworthy in order to make the God of Thunder stand out in comparison to his teammates like Iron Man and Captain America. The poor romantic chemistry between Hemsworth and Natalie Portman didn’t help, and Tom Hiddleston’s scene-stealing Loki, who starred alongside Hemsworth, frequently stole the show. Although it felt like the God of Thunder’s true potential finally awakened after Taika Waititi took on the third Ragnarok installment, much of that can, however, after Taika Waititi began work on the third installment of the Ragnarok series, it seemed as though the God of Thunder’s full potential had finally been awakened. A large part of this success can be due to the director and the star’s successful comic partnership.

Chris Hemsworth is returning in Thor: Love and Thunder almost five years later, becoming the first Avenger to have his fourth standalone feature, along with having an outstanding turn in both Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. Hemsworth is back to bringing the hammer down once more, but Taika Waititi is also back to telling this stand-alone tale after his Academy Award-winning film Jojo Rabbit. Waititi also reunites with Natalie Portman, who was widely believed to be responsible for some of the weaker aspects of the first two movies, to tell this story.

Does Thor: Love and Thunder carry the God of Thunder’s cinematic franchise forward beyond Thor: Ragnarok? The answer is a resounding yes, thanks to Taika Waititi’s distinctive style, outstanding performances from the old and new cast, and the fact that it’s thankfully more focused on telling a standalone story than the previous two MCU movies, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which were hype-based world-building and fan-service cameos.

Thor joined the Guardians of the Galaxy and named Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) the King of New Asgard after aiding in the defeat of Thanos, and he spent a lot of time trying to figure out who he was. Along the way, he meets up with Jane Foster, his ex-girlfriend, played by Natalie Portman, who strangely enough is now Mighty Thor and carrying his old hammer Mjolnir. Thor teams up with King Valkyrie, Jane, and Korg (Taika Waititi) to fight Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), a new adversary who is on a personal mission to exterminate all gods.

Taika Waititi’s trademark comedy contributed to Thor: Ragnarok’s success. It stands out as one of the funniest movies in the entire MCU since it had a lot more humor than the first two movies combined. Waititi’s irreverent charm can be found throughout Thor: Love and Thunder, and the ensemble of the movie blend the humor in with ease. Chris Hemsworth has recently displayed some excellent comedy skills, and this movie is another example of that. This is his first solo movie without Tom Hiddleston’s character Loki, which gives him the freedom to fully become his own god in the movie.

Other returning cast members include Taika Waititi as Korg and Tessa Thompson, whose King Valkyrie is just as hilarious as she was in Ragnarok. Although both characters are both heartwarming and funny in their own special ways, Christian Bale and Natalie Portman are the real stars of the show.

With Christian Bale, the movie starts out with a prologue that focuses on Gorr the God Butcher’s beginnings and lays out his goals in great detail. Bale has never given a terrible performance, and his work as Gorr is another example of his diverse acting abilities, lending the villain so much empathy. Gorr is among the strongest antagonists in Phase 4 movies so far, ranking right up there with Tony Leung’s Wenwu and Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin.

For Natalie Portman, it’s her first time back in the MCU in almost ten years. Since 2013, Jane Foster has been largely absent from the franchise, but Ragnarok did briefly mention the breakup of her romance with Thor. With this opportunity, we may finally learn why the pair split up and how the two ex-lovers reconcile in a dynamic that is uncommon in superhero movies of this caliber. While Taika Waititi’s screenplay and directing transformed Portman and Chris Hemsworth’s romantic chemistry, which in the first two movies was average and not all that engaging, it’s now arguably the movie’s standout feature and the inspiration for some of its most moving scenes. Although Portman has the opportunity to showcase Waititi’s humorous sensibilities, she also has the option to personalize the Mighty Thor. She certainly stands out in the action scenes, but what makes her much anticipated comeback more enjoyable is her connection with Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.

As said above, one of the most endearing aspects of Thor: Love and Thunder are how it sneaks up on viewers as one of the MCU’s most emotionally-resonant movies in a long time. The bond between Thor and Jane, which is given more depth than ever before, is at the heart of everything. Gorr is also written with such depth that he has a greater impact on the God of Thunder than any other adversary bar Loki. It is preferable to go into this with as little knowledge of the plot as possible because going into deeper detail about why both of these narrative components work would enter into some spoiler territory.

As evidenced by movies like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, fans have grown to expect new MCU movies to concentrate on growing the franchise through massive world-building and fan-service cameos. Particularly, such extraordinarily high fan expectations may have contributed to some people’s feeling of disappointment when Multiverse of Madness first debuted in theaters in May. Fortunately, Taika Waititi was more concerned with presenting a stand-alone story in Thor: Love and Thunder than with whether or not hyped-up characters will make unexpected cameos. There is a cameo by the Guardians of the Galaxy in this movie, although it’s brief and they don’t play a major role.

Thor: Love and Thunder is an incredibly fun movie overall. Chris Hemsworth once again demonstrates why he should be considered for one of the best performances of a big-screen superhero of the past ten years, and Taika Waititi is truly a godsend for this character. One of the greatest MCU entries of not only Phase 4, but of any Phase, comes from adding some notable turns from Christian Bale and Natalie Portman, as well as a narrative that effectively stresses the emotional depths of its respective characters. We can only hope that Lucasfilm will let Waititi truly work his magic with his upcoming Star Wars feature since he was able to do miracles with Marvel Studios.

What do you think?

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Written by tara

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