Plot: What’s it about?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed the way a lot of films are made and, as we all know, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Going all the way back to 2008 with Iron Man, the MCU has certainly made its mark on pop culture and filmmaking as a whole. Like Pixar in its first decade or so of making films, it was really hard to find a bad apple in the bunch. As of this writing, Thor: Love and Thunder is the 29th entry in the MCU. And, we have to ask ourselves, when will it end? This is now the fourth solo movie for Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and I doubt it’ll be the last. While Iron Man and Captain America seem to have run their course, Thor is still going strong. It’s been five years since the last entry, Thor: Ragnarok. That one was a bit tongue-in-cheek (actually, they all are) but it worked. With this latest film, I think they went just a tad bit overboard with the humor. In small doses, it works. We’ve seen that Chris Hemsworth has great comedic timing. But here…well it’s hard to balance screaming goats with a main character battling Cancer.
As the film opens, we meet Gorr (Christian Bale), who’s just lost his daughter. His people’s god doesn’t seem too moved by his loss and thus Gorr kills him, taking a powerful sword with him. His vow is then to kill all gods everywhere. We then meet up with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who’s still in tow with the Guardians of the Galaxy, but seemingly missing his true love – Jane (Natalie Portman). As fate would have it, she’s on Earth battling Cancer. When Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer) calls to her, Jane figures she might answer it as it might help her struggle. It does…sort of. Jane is transformed into “The Mighty Thor” and she eventually meets up with the gang to join in the fight against Gorr.
I look at the Thor movies the way I look at the Lethal Weapon movies. The first were serious and a bit dark, but as the series progressed they almost became parodies of themselves. That’s not to say the movie was bad, I still enjoyed it, but it was really pushing the envelope when it came to the humor. The cast is great as well, complete with a Russell Crowe cameo that’s sure to steal the show. I never really understood the screaming goats that play way too much into the film than they should have (their names are Toothgrinder and Toothgnasher if anyone was curious). Add to that, the weird “love triangle” between Thor, Mjolnir and Stormbreaker. It was kind of…odd. Director Taika Waititi knows what he’s doing, but I think they could have toned down the comedic element a bit. Lastly, I don’t really see where this (or any other recent MCU film) is doing anything to advance the MCU. Before Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, all the movies had at least some part in the bigger picture. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. Or maybe it does and we just don’t realize it. No matter your perspective, if it’s more Thor you were looking for – you’ve got it. And more.
Video: How’s it look?
One thing is for certain: if it’s a good-looking image you’re after then look no further. That said, as “dark” as this movie is, it’s just as colorful in other areas. The red and blue of Thor (and Jane’s) costumes is awe-inspiring. The rocks that make up Korg and even the facial tattoos of Gorr are all perfect examples of the level of detail that this film possesses. Obviously the ladies might want to hit the pause button and gaze at Chris Hemsworth’s physique. The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image is the stuff dreams are made of. OK, maybe that’s a little too on the nose, but you get the idea. No one in their right mind will have a problem with the visuals.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Do ya like Guns N’ Roses? I mean really like ’em? Let’s hope so because this movie is more of an ode to Axl Rose and company than anything else. The movie is littered with some of their best hits including “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Sweet Child of Mine”, “Paradise City” and I’d be lying if I said one of the more amazing scenes was the battle in the third act to the orchestra portion of “November Rain.” To be fair, it’s a good smattering of the band’s well-known songs and it fits with the theme of the movie as well. The Disney+ version, reviewed here, does sport a Dolby Atmos soundtrack – no telling if the Blu-ray will have that or not. Still, there are plenty of opportunities for the soundtrack to present itself – perhaps when lightning and thunder take center stage? How about when Zeus throws a lightning bolt? Still nothing? Well if those two examples don’t impress you then nothing will. I, for one, was impressed.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Hammer-Worthy: Thor and Mighty Thor – Essentially a profile on the two stars of the film: Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth. We learn about their characters, training regiment and so forth.
- Shaping a Villain – Christian Bale’s performance as Gorr is profiled.
- Another Classic Taika Adventure – If you’re looking for an “overall” look at the film, stop right here.
- Gag Reel – I have to admit, as “funny” as this movie was – I’m sure there were many more scenes they could have included.
- Deleted Scenes – Four total: “Looking for Zeus”, “Wasting Time”, “A Safe Vacation”, and “Fighting for You.”
- Audio Commentary – Director Taika Waititi actually does give a pretty good commentary. I personally find him annoying, like a hyperactive child always in need of attention – but hey, he’s done well for himself. All the bases are covered here, so if you want to listen to Waititi’s comments while watching screaming goats – knock yourself out.
The Bottom Line
The fourth entry in the Thor series seems to blend in a bit more comedy than necessary, but still manages to entertain. It has all the right elements and if a light-hearted version of a Marvel movie is what you’re after – look no further.