Thor: Love and Thunder — A Strong, Unique Standalone Title.
Summer has finally arrived and with it comes Marvel Studios’ second big screen offering of the year in the form of “Thor: Love and Thunder”. Having missed opening night due to a busy day of moving flat, I managed to check this one out on day two.
Following the events of “Avengers: Endgame”, Thor has swapped the dad bod for a god bod and is now fighting side by side with the Guardians of the Galaxy when suddenly a large threat means they must part ways. This threat comes in the form of Gorr the God Butcher, on a mission to rid the universe of all Gods. How Thor stops him, after reuniting with love of his life (and new Mighty Thor) Jane Foster is what forms the main plot.
In “Thor: Ragnarok”, director Taika Waititi took a very one dimensional character and turned him into a beautiful canvas of personality. In this film, he amplifies it to another level. Using the previous film and the “Infinity Saga” conclusion as the fresh base for Thor’s arc, he builds on it and further expands just how much depth the character has. Chris Hemsworth brings a wonderful charisma to a character exploring within himself, finding a new identity and it works.
The supporting cast are all wonderful too — Natalie Portman returns and knocks it out of the park when given the stage she deserves. Tessa Thompson and Taika himself do great again as Valkyrie and Korg, however the star of the show is undoubtedly Christian Bale as Gorr. While the writing for the character I felt fell short a bit and the origin story slightly rushed, when he’s in frame he’s menacingly convincing, and as a standalone villain he does no wrong.
I actually went into this film with fairly low expectations — the usual Marvel hype for some reason wasn’t there and I think that helped it big time. I had a lot more fun with this than I expected — it had everything you want from a good summer flick for the family. It didn’t actually tie in to the wider MCU in as large a way as you come to expect from these films, but I think that’s a strength because it really didn’t need to. As a standalone film this was very strong.
As mentioned earlier, Taika Waititi really changed the tone of what we expect from a film featuring Thor from a dark, brooding one to a film full of emotion and colour. That being said, it isn’t afraid to explore the darker, low moments — that’s where the film does its’ best work. It takes the trauma and heartbreak faced by the character and makes him react to it from within, rather than retaliate and smash the next enemy he sees. The scenes he shares with Jane, the dialogue and the weight of the feelings between the two of them is where this excels.
It’s not all soppy though, it’s actually very funny. I laughed a lot during “Thor: Rangnarok”, but I actually think I may have laughed more at this. It’s by far one of the funniest and silliest films of the MCU so far but the best part is it isn’t afraid of it either.
This may have been a Marvel film part of a bigger cinematic universe acting as a small step to the next bigger picture, but first and foremost it’s a strong, unique standalone title that embraces the silliness and fun as well as taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy.
As always, a heads up that there are TWO credit scenes to stick around for. They’re definitely worth waiting for too.
“Thor: Love and Thunder” is out now in cinemas only.