The first Avenger to have four standalone films.
It makes sense that it’s a god who did this first. It could also be because they’ve become even more of a fan favourite as their character fluidly changes under the Direction of Marvel and Taika Waititi.
After the success of Ragnarok, followed by the juggernaut bookend titles Infinity War and End Game, Thor was set up for a sure but uncertain future. Accepting the trauma he’d been experiencing, we pick up in Love & Thunder with Christian Bale! Because we probably should establish the bad guy for this film to be honest. THEN we pick up with Chris Hemsworth‘s Thor. Last seen with the Guardians of the Galaxy, they unfortunately unpack all their issues off-screen meaning Ted Lasso is still the best piece of media to date which deals with healing from trauma.
Enter Jane Foster!
Natalie Portman returns, and you know what? I think the script kind of dictates why. It adds a new layer to Jane’s character, while returning her to the world of Thor as…Thor. Explained in ways which service the excellent Mighty Thor comics, it also services the reunion between one of our favourite MCU pairings. Being playful with this and other happenings, it teeters between the humour and misery of the human condition. Something which is quickly realised by the very gods themselves. And there’s a lot of them from every culture! Maybe even some of Maoridom’s very own.
The adventure itself may be Thor’s most cosmic yet. Jumping between the Earth and planets lightyears away (thanks to the Bifrost), it all culminates in a dimension which continues to push us toward the more Kirby-esque stylings of this wider universe. Bale’s Gorr is wonderfully utilised, and may be the most creepiest villain yet. Though it’s hard to argue villainy when under the guise of the machinations of godhood versus its disciples.
Uproarious action, and equally uproarious comedy, sees a fitting sequel to Ragnarok. For the first time since End Game, this feels like the first one to have forward momentum. While we’ve had stellar outings like No Way Home and Shang-Chi, they’ve felt more insular. Like a preparation for their characters arrival in the main continuity. While Love & Thunder doesn’t set up wider ramifications yet, it does move Thor into position for a new story.
With the best use of any Guns N’ Roses track since Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the MCU may have finally started to head toward its future. Shocking that it’s through a Thor movie really.
ANOTHER CLASSIC THOR ADVENTURE!
Flirting with the idea of "if ain't broke, don't fix it", Love & Thunder is a fun romp through a far more cosmic world than Thor has ever travelled. Letting them continue to be this inadequately prepared 1000 year old god who continues to ponder "when is the right time to be me?", it serves up threat and melancholy as a means to an end.
Anyway I just like enjoying stuff, the end.