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Thor: Love and Thunder

THOR LOVE AND THUNDER is an enjoyable comedy with enough dramatic and horror elements to seriously derail younger members of the audience. I was never quite sure what tone Writer/Director Taika Waititi was going for, but he manages to press a lot of buttons along the way.

The film opens with our introduction to Gorr, a loyal follower praying to his god for his daughter’s life as they lay stranded in a desert. When his god laughs in his face and makes fun of his loyalty, Gorr is chosen by a powerful sword to slay all the Gods in the Universe. Christian Bale is great as Gorr, elevating the material into something Shakespearean in a powerful performance.

Then we pop into a terrific battle, with Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy saving yet another world, but not without causing about as much damage as those marionettes in Team America.

It’s a great sequence, loaded with killer one-liners, physical gags and winning humor from all the Guardians.

We’re reconnected with Thor’s flame Jane Foster (a terrific Natalie Portman) as she battles cancer and discovers that her only cure might be a certain legendary hammer that seems to be calling her.

In short order (and that’s a blessing, as Love and Thunder is one of the shortest Marvel films at just under two hours, moving quickly) Thor, Jane, King Valkyrie (the excellent Tessa Thompson) and Korg (voiced by Waititi) are off on a quest to save all the children of their town.

The kids have been stolen away in a terrifying sequence that’s not for young kids by the horrific-looking Gorr the God Killer. As Bale lurks in and out of the darkness with glowing yellow eyes and sharp teeth, he’s half Pennywise and half the Childcatcher from Ian Fleming’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. He’s seriously disturbing and nightmare inducing.

There are a ton of laughs in the film. Two giant screaming goats, Toothgrinder and Toothgrasher, are a gift from the leaders of a saved planet. Watching them scream in stark terror every time they take off or land on a planet, I laughed every damn time.

Russell Crowe is hilarious as Zeus. The sequence in which Thor and his team break into a giant arena to ask Zeus for help had me in stitches. It’s the most fun I’ve seen Crowe have on screen in a very long time.

Matt Damon’s appearance as a bad actor in a stage play about Loki is as funny as always.

Waiititi fills the end of the movie with a lot of heart and Hemsworth once again shows he’s equally as deft with punch lines and dramatic moments, carrying the film easily on his back.

I have enjoyed both of Waititi’s Thor films (he also helmed 2017’s Ragnarock) but haven’t been able to finish any other films he’s made. “JoJo Rabbit” was so bad, I’ve tried three times to watch it and have never made it past 25 minutes in.

Hemsworth, Portman and Bale make this latest MCU entry incredibly watchable, even as it makes your head spin moving from comedy to terror to drama and back to comedy again.

With Guns ‘n’ Roses belting over the action scenes, THOR LOVE AND THUNDER rocks it’s way to a solid B. Ya gotta love that Loki tattoo.

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