In theaters Friday is “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the much anticipated fourth installment of the Norse god of lightning. This part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe took a change in tone when Taika Waititi took over as director for “Thor: Ragnarok,” and this film carries on the legacy of prioritizing humor, interpersonal relationships and self-awareness over excessively complex plot points.
“Love and Thunder” picks up where “Avengers: Endgame” left off: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) traveling the galaxy to rebuild himself and occasionally team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, while King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) oversees the daily life of the Asgardian resettlement turned tourist attraction. This film also sees the return of Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Thor’s love interest who seemed to depart his life (and the MCU) after the disappointment of ‘Thor: Dark World.” It is not a spoiler to say that Jane returns as Mighty Thor (she’s on the poster), and must team up with Thor and Valkyrie to track down and take out Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale).
‘Thor: Love and Thunder” is such a breath of fresh air in the MCU. Following the darker turns of “The Eternals” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” it was delightful to return to the world imagined in “Ragnarok.” While “Love and Thunder” still handles the realties of the post “Endgame” world and some new challenges, it is above all here to have a good time. Gorr delivers on the moniker of God Butcher and there are some gory moments, offset by the WWE-like theatricality of Thor, Mighty Thor and Valkyrie. And, of course, “Thor: Love and Thunder” has a great soundtrack, composed mostly of Guns N’ Roses.
This film delivers on both parts of its name: love and thunder. With two Thors in play there is now double the thunder. Jane’s Mighty Thor wields Mjolnir with the brute force and physicality usually reserved for the men of the MCU. Both hero and villain of the film grapple throughout the film with the question of whether it’s better to lose love and feel terrible, or be lonely and shielded. These two themes of the movie mean that ‘Thor: Love and Thunder” is full of my two favorite verbs: hugging and punching.
“Thor: Love and Thunder” is a great watch that will make you laugh and tear up, and, best of all, bring you back to a less complicated Marvel Cinematic Universe where a man talks to his hammer.