Thor: Love And Thunder Film Review

'Thor: Love And Thunder' 'Thor: Love And Thunder' © Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been with us for 14 years and as some heroes make way for new ones – the question for those that remain is. . . What next?

New Zealand director Taika Waititi offers one possible answer in this latest 'Thor' adventure that is both a mix of a polished blockbuster and a touching tale on how one can choose to achieve immortality.

The former fails to break new ground, but the latter proves far more satisfying, a reminder that it is hard to excite an audience with something new unless, well. . . You really give them something new.

Chris Hemsworth has been playing this character for more than a decade through eight films and is striving to give himself new beats to play as he continues to grow the bulk of those muscles, and he flexes in the latest suit designed to sell more toys. Hemsworth’s reputation as a comedic performer has increasingly been made use of, culminating in a perfect union with Taika in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’.

Now director and star have a go at a Thor movie with some pathos. The hero introduced as a man child that needed to do some growing up is now in the midst of middle age malaise. What to do? Maybe the answer lies with the one that got away, played by the actress that quit the cinematic universe? Natalie Portman makes a welcome return to the MCU not just as Jane Foster but as Mighty Thor, and not just as someone imbued with new superpowers but also age-old human problems.

Taika uses a light touch, the film sees Thor, Korg (Taika Waititi), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Mighty Thor on a quest to rescue some Asgardian kids from Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale). Taika and Christian both push the scares for the Marvel Cinematic Universe but ultimately this isn’t a story about heroes and villains but about mortality. There is some commentary about religion and how a community can deal with a crisis, but the primary focus is surprisingly about death and loss. Christian and Natalie are well cast in scenes where they do some heavy lifting, even Chris steps up to the plate well.

Yet ‘Thor: Love And Thunder’ is a breeze to watch, never overstaying its welcome. Big laughs are had and delightful cameos abound. For the most part we are just hanging out with these four people that we enjoy the company of. Visually there are flourishes throughout even if the action scenes are mostly serviceable if not terribly exciting.

Near the end it feels like we’ve broken new ground, characters are in new places emotionally and a story with impact has been told. There is something satisfying in that, even if it turns out the board can be reset by the corporate overlords easily enough.

It is doubtful Chris Hemsworth will hang up the hammer just yet, this latest entry proves satisfying enough in how it both answers the age-old sequel question and makes you ponder it anew. What next? What next indeed, but whatever occurs, let us hope it involves Taika Waititi.

‘Thor: Love And Thunder’ is in cinemas now.

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