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Davis Journal

Thor: Love and Thunder’ hilarious and emotional

Jul 12, 2022 03:07PM ● By Jenniffer Wardell

Credit for photo ©Disney/Marvel

Only Taiki Waititi should be allowed to write MCU Thor.

More proof of this can be found in “Thor: Love and Thunder,” opening in theaters this weekend. The movie shows Thor as he deserves to be, hilarious and powerful and broken-hearted all at once. The supporting cast is fantastic, including the triumphant return of Natalie Portman as Dr. Jane Foster, and the script is a powerful mix of humor and heartbreak. If you’re a Thor fan, this is the movie you’ve been waiting for.

The movie starts with a brief recap of Thor’s adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy, the team he flew off with at the end of “Avengers: Endgame.” When an injured friend gets him to fly back to Earth, however, he discoverers that a cosmic threat has arrived in New Asgard. Just as shocking is the return of both his old hammer Mjolnir and his ex-girlfriend Dr. Jane Foster, who have teamed up to become a new Thor.

The movie showcases the Waititi-style humor so evident in “Thor: Ragnarok,” a wide-eyed absurdity that occasionally borders on slapstick. The moment where Thor’s clothes get flicked away is highlighted in the trailers, but there’s also a really fun sequence where Thor’s new battle ax is deeply jealous of Mjolnir’s return. It’s silly, deeply weird, and highly entertaining.

Unlike “Ragnarok,” however, the darker moments are given their full heartbreaking weight. I don’t want to go into too much detail about Jane and Thor’s interactions, except to say that if you’re invested in their relationship you will cry. The bad guy’s story is also deeply tragic, enough that his first scene alone makes it really hard to hate the guy. You know he can’t complete his goals, but you absolutely understand why he wants to.

A big part of the reason the balance works is the fantastic cast. Portman proves surprisingly good at both the serious and silly moments, and Tessa Thompson is a delight as King Valkyrie. The moments where we see their friendship are charming, and if I have a regret it’s that we didn’t get to see more of it. Marvel, I formally request a Disney+ series starring these two as soon as humanly possible.

Bale does an excellent job as Gorr the God-Killer, bringing the full weight of the character’s grief to the screen. He does cross the line over the course of the movie, more than once, but Bale is careful to show exactly how he got to that point. He’s a big part of the reason the ending works as well as it does, and Waititi highlights all the parallels between his pain and Thor’s.

Hemsworth and Waititi also do a good job finally showing Thor’s pain as more than a joke. The character has suffered loss after devastating loss through his last several MCU movies, and “Love and Thunder” finally shows him trying to grapple with that. Yes, he does it with jokes sometimes, but the movie makes it clear that it’s a coping mechanism.

All together, it’s a wild ride worthy of the God of Thunder.

Grade: Three and a half stars