Nerdlocker Movie Review: Thor: Love and Thunder

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

I have a feeling Thor: Love and Thunder is going to be yet another divisive entry into the MCU. There will be those of us that know it’s another quality entry and the rest of you mouth breathers who wouldn’t know a good movie if it bit you in the ass and got you flowers as an apology. I’m kidding of course, to each their own as always… mostly.

From the complaining I’ve heard about Phase 4 it’s the lack of structure that the previous 3 phases provided that has collective panties in a wad. What I hear is it isn’t exactly the same and that makes some people mad. In the era of bitching about zero originality in Hollyweird, the people who hate this will be those angry about that lack of newness in movies these days and angered that Thor 4 isn’t like the rest. They’re a confusing bunch I’ll say that much. Anyone else getting this unnerving feeling that the toxicity of Star Wars fandom is seeping into the MCU? I’d give examples but we already know your biases as you state them repeatedly, almost weekly. I’ll just move on.

If you thought Ragnarok was unhinged, wait until you get some Love and Thunder up in you. While I’ve heard early opinions saying the humor is a bit much, I’d argue the opposite. I loved this over-the-top, intimate yet grandiose adventure about a hero in (identity) crisis. Much in the same way Ragnarok balanced humor with drama, Love and Thunder adds a few extra sprinkles of laughter but never loses the heart of what makes Thor a legitimate hero. For all the moments of levity it finds its footing in the realm of consequences as Thor not only struggles with himself and who he wants to be in a reality where love evades him and war is all he’s seemingly fit for, he must create a calm over those looking to him for protection against the universe’s evil.

This time around it’s the monster with the most badass villain name yet in the MCU, Gorr the God Butcher. Played emphatically and maniacally by the brilliant, Christian Bale, Gorr is the kind of villain that matters. Beyond the boring two dimensional characteristics of a megalomaniac hell bent on blind power and destruction, Gorr is motivated by loss, by tragedy. Much like one of the best villains in the MCU, Killmonger, Gorr views the upper echelon of the rich and powerful to be something in need of smiting. In the case of Gorr, it is the gods of all existence and time in every corner of space that need to die. With his God slayer, Necrosword, in hand, Gorr sets out a course of chaos and murder to slay the gods who from his point of view turned their backs on him and cost the lives of those he held most dear. This sets a direct path from him to the God of Thunder, Thor. Christian Bale is a highlight in this latest entry. He is clearly having fun being scarily playful but never forgetting the pain of his character being his sole motivation for the death he leaves in his wake. He can, all at once, be funny and evil making for a perfect concoction of unease that only a true villain can create.

The big change this time around is Jane Foster’s return not only as a scientist but as the new wielder of Mjölnir, The Mighty Thor. Her involvement could have easily felt intrusive but instead Taika Waititi found a natural way of including her and letting everyone know this is still very much Hemsworth’s movie. Instead of feeling threatened, Thor sees his former love’s sudden appearance as a chance to fix the mistakes of their all too brief past. He sees her as an ally despite his confusion of seeing her suddenly worthy of a power he once possessed all alone. He definitely has some catching up to do.

The usual suspects that make a welcome return, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Waititi as Korg continue to be assets to Thor as he fights not just Gorr but his unyielding loneliness. Since the Guardians are arbitrarily tossed aside for most of the movie, Valkyrie and Korg are much needed backup for Thor. With Jane and Mjölnir suddenly at his side, the presence of Gorr is something Thor is more than ready to face.

A weakness for some, I see as a strength, Love and Thunder is very much a standalone adventure. Waititi isn’t concerned with world building beyond this movie allowing Thor to find his way without worrying what’s going on with any multiverse madness. It was nice that for two hours nothing beyond the screen mattered. It didn’t require seeing the previous Spider-Man or Doctor Strange in order to enjoy it.

It’s silly and ludicrous and I love it for those very reasons. It has a worthy villain taking on a character in his fourth standalone movie who still has plenty of stories to tell and I am ready for it. Thor: Love and Thunder is Taika Waititi running wild and at times the story can wander without direction but always finds its way back. It’s a movie that only strengthens as the runtime carries on making for a fantastic third act. Not everyone is going to love it and that’s unfortunate because it’s genuinely a fun time and I think that’s all it really needs to be. We’ve come to expect huge implications with every new entry and Love and Thunder just kind of exists without any concern beyond its own borders.

Rated PG-13 For: intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, some suggestive material and partial nudity
Runtime: 119 minutes
After Credits Scene: Two.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson
Directed By: Taika Waititi

Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 8/ Acting: 8/ Directing: 7.5/ Visuals: 9
OVERALL: 8.5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Yes.

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard