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THOR: LOVE & THUNDER 😊

PREMISE

Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.

THE GOOD STUFF

HEMSWORTH- We need to appreciate how great Hemsworth has been as this character for the past 11 years. This was a character who had arguably the two worst entries in the MCU canon for a considerable amount of time, and now through the last 5 years of what has been an unabashed comedic reinvention of the character, is probably the most flat out entertaining character in all of the MCU.

Because of THOR: Ragnarok, I believe comedy is the strongest aspect of what Hemsworth can do. And the more you let him be goofy and slapstick-ish the more he seems to deliver. This is a well-rounded performance in general because aside from delivering the laughs as he often tends to do, he shares a lot of the dramatic heavy lifting especially towards the end of the film.

THE LAUGHS- One thing a Taika Waititi project always does is bring the laughs. And this movie is certainly no exception. While the action doesn’t exactly measure up to what Thor: Ragnarok was as an overall film, I could go as far as to say that this is a funnier film, and I can go even further to say that it’s one of the funniest movies of the year.

I’ll stand by that. Even if it does go all over the map emotionally at times.

PORTMAN- Are you as surprised as I am that Portman holds it down the way that she does here on the action front? I mean we had those Star Wars prequels, right? They’ve been around for a long time and all that, but we all know how horrendous those were. All the action that she ended up doing in that series looked like choreographed dancing more than it did actual combat.

That being said, I don’t think she’s ever had a physical role such as this, and she pulls it off very convincing way. I don’t know too many actresses her size that can be overtly physical on screen with people who are bigger than they are and really seem as if they are in full control of a fight. Portman does. She does this all the while putting in her typical wonderful dramatic work. She’s been one of the best in the business for a very long time.

THE SOON TO BE G.O.A.T.– At what point do we start mentioning Christian Bale amongst the greatest actors who’s ever lived? When I ask that question to people who swear that they know movies, the response is kind of truculent if I’m going to be honest, and I don’t know what more this man has to do.

What he does in this movie doesn’t have the impact of what his other work has been, sure. But when one considers just how many great MCU villains there actually have been, and to see this performance and how dramatically it changes the tone of the film simply by him being on camera… One does have to realize how special this performance is. A top 5 MCU villain at the very least.

THE BAD STUFF (or stuff that annoys me only)

GORR- The biggest problem with The God Butcher… Is that he has a point. The gift and the curse of all really good MCU villains is that there is an understanding as to why they are doing the things that they do. On one hand, it is interesting to have empathy, or to relate to someone’s horrible deeds. However, given the monstorous aesthetic of this character, and given the actor who’s playing him, it would have been far more impactful to have him not have this much of an empathetic backstory.

The God Butcher is about as aesthetically menacing as any character I’ve seen on screen in years. And it does not feel like this film capitalizes on that. Had it did…. then this would be the 1B to Thanos’s 1A in terms of best villains in the history of the MCU, and that would be pretty inarguable.

JANE FOSTER- I can’t help but to wonder how many people were itching to see how Jane Foster turned out after all this time. I feel like this is just as much her movie as it is of Thor, and that feels.. weird.

Because this is the shortest movie that Marvel’s had in quite some time, we get these really poignant things happening on her behalf in the story without many explanations. (And because these poignant things are in fact spoilers, we cannot discuss them here in depth) Foster takes up a lot of screen time, a lot of her scenes are pretty heavy, and in the Taika Waititi directed follow-up to Thor: Ragnarok… Is that what the audience really wants?

THE ACTION- There are many things that this movie does on a larger scale then what Thor Ragnarok did. For some reason, the action sequences here pale in comparison. The action is played for comedy more often than it is for exhilaration all the way up until the climactic “battle”scene of the film. In fact, the best action sequence of the whole film may be in the opening 10 minutes of the film… And that’s not a good thing.

THE UGLY STUFF

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES- As you may have been able to tell from the teaser trailer of this film, The Guardians of the Galaxy are in this movie. And because it is going into spoiler territory to tell you exactly how this pans out…. I will simply give you my emotional journey in response to what this film does with them in this film with GIFs…

There they are!
MIXING THEM WITH THOR IS GENIUS! IT WORKS SO WELL!
HUH??

….and finally.

*********************

Let’s just call it like it is right now…. This fourth phase of the MCU is wildly disjointed and sloppy.

Instead of having a whole bunch of great movies that all connect, and all have a larger sense of purpose, what we are getting instead are a bunch of mid-tier to merely good films and TV shows (except Eternals… which was unmitigated trash) that stand so far apart from one another it’s starting to become impossible to imagine connecting them all in some way. And the track record of the MCU is so pristine that a part of you wants to believe that they will.. sooner or later.

But we’re a year and a half into this new phase and that might just be blind optimism. 

Thor: Love and Thunder is in theatres now.

Eli Brumfield

Eli Brumfield in an actor/screenwriter from Seattle Washington, living in Los Angeles.

He is the host of the RV8 Podcast.

He hates the word cinefile, but considering how many films he consumes in a week...and how many films he goes out of his way to see, no matter the genre...he kinda seems to be one.

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