Thursday, July 7, 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder


Diagnosed with stage four cancer, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) heads to New Asgard to seek an alternative magical cure for her illness. True enough, the shards of Mjölnir that Hela broke begin to inexplicably amalgamate in her presence, transforming her into Mighty Thor. Meanwhile, Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) has spent most of his time post-Endgame assisting the Guardians of the Galaxy in liberating planets from domestic level threats, but a newly emerging danger to mortals and gods alike easily becomes top priority. Wielding the mythical Necrosword capable of killing deities, Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) has a sole objective: All gods must die. With his pleas for help ignored by Zeus (Russell Crowe) who sits idly in the safety of his home world, Thor enlists the help of his best friend Korg (Taika Waititi), King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) of New Asgard as well as his ex-girlfriend who now wields his ex-hammer along with its powers.

If Ragnarok was an irreverent buddy comedy, then Love and Thunder is a weird rom com that dabbles in existentialist themes such as mortality and questionable beliefs in a higher power, AKA Faith. The end product is an oddball comedy torn between making you laugh and making you sad but doesn't quite deliver on either front. In any case, anyone who loved the tonal shift in Ragnarok won't have a lot of issues with Love and Thunder because this is a Taika Waititi film through and through.

The film is pretty much standalone, not hinting that much on either the multiverse or the greater MCU in general. The Guardians of the Galaxy are just here for display. They are in no way pivotal to plot development and their involvement seems more like tying loose ends, putting an end to the Asguardians of the Galaxy subplot introduced in Endgame. There is nothing signaling Thor’s possible appearance in the third and final installment of GoTG either. I guess let’s just be happy that they got the chance to interact in the MCU.

I honestly believe that Disney should go back to their marketing strategy during the Infinity Saga era when clues and movie clips were few and far between. Take for example that Mighty Thor reveal that was published by Marvel on social media. It had all the potential to be a crowd pleaser if seen for the first time on the big screen, but was instead met with deafening silence in today’s premiere. Why? Because everyone already saw it on Facebook. Feige should rethink their soc med marketing approach. It’s as if they haven't learned anything from how the Multiverse of Madness fared because of all these voluntary spoilers.

The mid-credits scene introduces a new obscure Marvel superhero. While the character is popular in other media, his history in the Marvel universe is rather obscure for the pedestrian fan to recognize. It does not help that the actor who plays him does not seem to enjoy any name recall. What it guarantees for sure is that Thor’s adventures can definitely go on beyond a fourth film considering the wealth of material they have at their disposal. It’s sad that Odin has since passed away. A Nordic and Greek father-and-son tag team duel would’ve been a delight to watch onscreen.

The end-credits scene leaves the door wide open for Jane Foster to come back in future appearances, but definitely not donning the cloak anymore. The misogynist manbabies who have been crying their eyes out since Waititi handed over the hammer to Portman can let out a sigh of collective relief now. No one is replacing anyone, but it’s hilarious how threatened y’all were by a female superhero whose actress obviously never had plans of hanging out for long anyway. Overall, a satisfying redemption arc for Jane Foster who is given an opportunity that no other MCU leading ladies, except maybe for Pepper Potts and Hope Van Dyne, ever had.

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