The new Thor film movie Thor: Love and Thunder could have just as easily been called Lightning and Laughter. Either way, it would be a hit.
Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the Norse God of Thunder, trying to figure out his place in a universe which has become increasingly complicated.
He was last seen in Avengers: Endgame in 2019, where he was not quite the man-god he used to be. He was actually twice the man-god, though most of that was in the giant beer belly he acquired after the frustrating failure he and his fellow Avengers faced in 2018’s Infinity War.
At the end of Avengers Endgame, Thor joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and took off into space, which is where we find him in the opening minutes of Love and Thunder. Thor has used that time in space to drop his “dad bod” and get back into fighting condition.
His comrades in the Guardians have a conflicted attitude toward the God of Thunder, sometimes thinking of him as more of a buffoon than a super-hero. But when he is through pontificating, Thor shows his comrades the super-stuff he is made of.
Director Taika Waititi, who wrote the screenplay along with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, did an incredible job weaving together disparate storylines, some pulled directly from the Marvel Comics. The highlight of the movie is the appearance of Thor’s one-time girlfriend, Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). It had been almost a decade since Thor last saw her and she has not fared well. She contracted cancer and has steeled herself to accept her death when she took a trip to the now-Earthbound Asgard. There, she looked at Thor’s mystic hammer, Mjolnir, which was shattered to pieces and kept in a glass case.
The hammer seeks out heroes worthy of wielding it and few are more heroic than Foster. The hammer reassembles itself and (to Thor’s consternation) flies into Foster’s hand, transforming her into the Mighty Thor, wearing a costume pulled directly from the comics.
Together with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (an unrecognizable Waititi), Thor and Foster seek out Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who is out to kill the gods of the universe in revenge for them allowing his young daughter to die in his arms. To his credit, Gorr has good reason to be angry; his god laughed when Gorr begged him to save his daughter.
Thor is a mixture of hero and well-intentioned goof throughout the film. The comedy is sometimes a bit too much, but overall it is balanced by the amazing action, special effects, and plot twists which viewers will not see coming.
Best of all, the movie is full of guest stars who are there strictly for comedy relief. Chris’ brother Luke Hemsworth and Matt Damon reprise their roles as actors who play Thor and Loki in cheesy performances in Asgard. This time they are joined by the delightful Melissa McCarthy as Hela, Goddess of Death.
Special credit must be given to Russell Crowe as a disdainful god Zeus, who lazily refuses to help Thor and friends in their quest to save the universe.
And what Marvel film would be complete without after credit scenes that tease us with glimpses of the next Marvel film?
This movie has two, one in the middle of the credits that is going to blow the minds of fans of the Thor comic. Listen for the squeals of delight. The second scene at the close of the credits is interesting, but more of a quick clean-up of a dangling plotline, still worth staying for.
Thor: Love and Thunder runs a little over two hours and features some great rock songs which fit perfectly with the action. The movie opens everywhere on Friday, July 8. Expect crowds and a box office smash.