Directed by Taika Waititi
Written by Taika Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Marvel has indeed crafted a phenomenal franchise with their superheroes and many would argue their casting choices are perfect. Perhaps none more perfect than Chris Hemsworth as Thor. In 2017 Marvel Studios released Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and had this quirky director from New Zealand named Taika Waititi write and direct it. His sense of odd and quirky humor hit a chord with audiences worldwide. Instead of dark and brooding and somewhat an oaf of a character in Thor; he instilled some levity and youthful joy into the character and story. Yet he kept an emotional edge in the themes of loss. This would be shown across the next few films with Thor losing his mother, father, Asgard, brother, and half of all life (i.e. Thanos’ snap). Thor has always been portrayed as a character who continuously has to cope with loss while also being the hero who saves the day. I’ll say it now, this film gets a “Writing a Movie RIGHT” review from me.
Here comes the spoilers.
The film opens with the plight of a man and his daughter walking across a desolate desert landscape searching for food and water. Eventually, the young girl dies while cradled in her loving father’s arms. He succumbs as well and accepts his fate to die as well. Then he hears a voice beckon him to come. He finds an oasis in the desert where his god, Rapu is just casually living life without a care. The man pleads with his god to help the people to which he is dismissed. The god then tries to strangle the man and a sword, which was calling out to him before, comes to his hands and he kills the god. Then vows to kill all gods as vengeance for the death of his daughter. The casting of Christian Bale is perfect for Gorr the God Butcher. A brilliant actor and writer bring an emotional depth to the story of a man whose love for his child has now turned to searing hate. Much like with Thanos’ flawed vision of a perfect world, Gorr has a strong drive propelling him to be the villain. Yet a villain we can empathize with and be divided on whether he is fully right or completely wrong given the carelessness and selfishness we see other gods live their lives.
Thor is with the Guardians of the Galaxy helping an alien race fight off aggressors in their religious temple. Thor finally joins the fight. Mayhem is had and victory achieved, then afterward they check messages across the galaxy and one is a distress call from Sif, an old friend of Thor’s. They decide it best to part ways as there are so many distress calls. Thor goes with Korg to find Sif nearly dead on the battlefield. She tells him of Gorr, his plan to kill all gods, and his next target is New Asgard. He takes her to New Asgard and Gorr is already attacking the city with his shadow realm monsters. Thor joins the fight and crosses paths with Mjolnir but it goes to the hand of another “Thor.” Soon it is revealed that it is Jane Foster, Thor’s ex-girlfriend. They band together to finish the fight, but Gorr escapes while kidnapping all the children from the city and taking them to the shadow realm.
Thor decides that they will need an army to fight Gorr and feels that they should go to Omnipotence City where Zeus is the leader of the gods. Thor idolized Zeus growing up and now is disappointed to see a selfish Zeus who is scared of Gorr and now fears that Thor and his friends know the location of their city and say they cannot leave. A fight breaks out and Korg is nearly killed with Thor overpowering Zeus with his own Thunderbolt weapon. With the Thunderbolt, Thor believes they can fight Gorr and the small group travels to the shadow realm to meet him there and rescue the kids.
While searching for the kids, Jane finds Gorr’s plans to use Stormbreaker to open a way to Eternity, the celestial being who can grant him his wish to kill all gods. Gorr captures them and as they break free and barely escape, Gorr steals Stormbreaker. Jane reveals her stage four cancer diagnosis to Thor and that Mjolnir is draining her of life each time she uses the hammer. Thor implores her to stay in the hospital while he goes to fight Gorr.
This is where I will stop short of the spoiler because the ending is worth everything. The full circle of the theme of loss is beautifully done. Thor loses Jane to add to the list of loved ones he has lost, but gaining a child to care for and love is a bittersweet ending for the film on an emotional note. Seeing him try to parent a young child who has powers is humorous and leaves us knowing Thor may have the chance to heal from the emotional beatings he has taken across the various films in the franchise.
The writers have nailed the drive of the villain and brought home all the losses of our hero to show that love is the answer. Where there is hate, love. Thor: Love and Thunder is a delight for all ages that deserves another film by these writers and director to continue to delight audiences. To the director, I say ‘Chur Bro!’
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