REVIEW | Thor: Love and Thunder
With mild spoilers
Retelling 7 years' worth of Jason Aaron’s stories on “Thor” and “Mighty Thor” comics into a 119-minute feature film - the shortest Marvel Studios movie in a decade - is an impressive feat. Director-screenwriter Taika Waititi gave justice to the source material and even juggled as an omniscient narrator, the rocky alien Korg also known as the game buddy-slash-best friend of Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth).
In the comics, the long-running villain in Aaron’s run is Gorr The God Butcher, whose family died despite sending prayers to gods. When he learned that gods do exist and did not help his family, he waged a war against them and even faced Thor in the medieval era. He told Thor that gods only cared for themselves. (There’s another comics event that happened involving The Watcher and Nick Fury - “The Original Sin”, also written by Aaron). But long-story-short, this eventually caused Thor to lose faith in the gods and make himself unworthy to lift Mjolnir. A cancer-stricken Jane Foster then was summoned to the moon’s surface to pick the mystic hammer and become Midgard’s The Mighty Thor.
Again, that’s what happened in the comics. Don’t confuse it with Thor: Love and Thunder.
Much of the elements from these stories were retained though except for the initial animosity between the Odinson and the Mighty Thor. Waititi has the talent of refining comics stories while keeping their core. At the heart of the story is a “god” or rather a “goddess” (Natalie Portman) who knows mortality and vulnerability, a much humbler version of what we have seen over the years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Portman’s portrayal was not forced and would leave people in awe as she finally becomes a superheroine. Her scenes involving the character’s sickness were also relatable. I even heard some people crying inside the cinema, even if those scenes were relatively few.
Christian Bale, who’s not new in the superhero genre - he’s Batman of The Dark Knight trilogy - evoked sympathy in his portrayal of Gorr the God Butcher. His philosophy that gods’ existence is futile because they are silent and selfish is fascinating. Metaphorically, Gorr symbolizes the despair we humans feel when our prayers are not answered.
Hemsworth takes care of the comedy and action, akin to how Waititi refreshed the franchise in Thor: Ragnarok. It’s silly, fun, and retains its love of retro rock music. Completing the fun is a surprise appearance of a missing character, brief adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy, a couple of annoying space goats, Tessa Thompson’s no-nonsense King Valkyrie.
@secretjerry Wore this thunderous tee from @comiccentralph and wielded the mystic hammer of Mjolnir at the 🇵🇭 Premiere of #ThorLoveAndThunder! It perfectly adapted Jane Foster's heartbreaking turn as the Mighty Thor from the comics, rising above insurmountable odds. Amid the silliness and cosmic adventures, at its core is a story of love and sacrifice. All sky gods should agree this is one of the best Marvel movies ever! #ThorLoveandThunderPH @jorenbarbosa ♬ Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
Thor: Love and Thunder is also a visual treat, especially for comics fans. Comics aficionados would notice that the varying costumes are more accurately depicted in the movie. My favorite is the comic-accurate costume of a returning character we did not see in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame. (Hint: We saw her on Loki series though).
Perhaps, my nitpick is the lack of noble gods from other pantheons who could have lent a hand to the Asgardians. In the comics, there was a group called the God Squad composed of deities. I also wished that Wakanda’s Panther God or any of the Egyptian gods from the Moon Knight series teamed up with the Viking gods.
More screen time for Gorr could also underscore his philosophy about the futility of religion, something that might have lost weight due to the comedic sequences.
The movie promises that “Thor will return”. But “Thor: Love and Thunder” is itself a fitting bookend to the Thor franchise, while teasing exciting things to come for the god of thunder.
Rating: 9 out 10
Special thanks to Disney Philippines for the invitation to the IMAX Special Screening. “Thor: Love and Thunder” opens in Philippine cinemas on July 6, Wednesday, two days earlier than most parts of the world.
Stay for one mid- and one post-credits scene.