This time, director Taika Waititi plays it very safe with his screenplay, this time with Thor: Love and Thunder.
Thor sets off on a quest for inner calm that is unlike anything he has ever experienced. However, Gorr the God Butcher, an assassin from another galaxy who wants to wipe out all gods, however, interrupts his retirement. To his amazement, King Valkyrie enlists the aid of King Thor, Korg, and his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who — to his amazement — mysteriously wields his mystical hammer in order to defeat the menace. They embark on a perilous cosmic journey together to solve the riddle of the God Butcher's retaliation.
Back in the 1980s, there came a film series titled The Gods Must Be Crazy, where a group of tribal people who are not exposed to the world outside freak out due to a bottle of Coca-Cola. The hilarious moments in the maiden film leave everyone in splits and we indeed end up saying, "The Gods Must Be Crazy." The "god" is not present and is only a belief in the people, but the whole franchise of Thor is based upon the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth).
We haven't seen much of God in the Marvel series, except through him and his world. But this time, the showcasing of celestial beings was taken to the next level as we met the ultimate one, Zeus, in Thor: Love and Thunder. As the title suggests and as seen by the promos, Thor, after the depressive episode of Avengers: Endgame, is back in shape and tasting the thunder like never before.
He had no idea he'd be reuniting with his love, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), after "eight years, seven months, and six days." But not in the way he ever imagined. She becomes the Mighty Thor, who is ready to fight the world just like Thor.
They only come together to fight the God Butcher named Gorr (Christian Bale), a being with access to the Necrosword, a weapon that can destroy gods, who want to wipe out all gods as retribution for ignoring the loss of his family.
The inception of the Thor franchise came into being back in 2011, directed by Kenneth Branagh, and the sequel to it, Thor: The Dark World, directed by Alan Taylor, was released in 2013. However, it was Taika Waititi who took the franchise to a whole new level with Thor: Ragnarok back in 2017.
He brought in quirks and more laughs, along with the great story that paved the way for Avengers: Infinity War. After Ragnarok, all one could say about the Thor franchise was "In Taika we trust!". However, Thor: Love and Thunder just touches the former film but leaves it behind altogether.
Full marks on the casting by bringing Portman back and giving her a different arc, adding to the smart woman she has been on Planet Earth. Her presence brought in a charm which, although not present in Ragnarok, was felt. It's her camaraderie with Mjölnir, the former weapon of Thor, which is palpable to watch. The gasping moment of witnessing Captain America (Chris Evans) picking up the hammer in Avengers: Endgame still gives literal chills.
In the latest film, we see Foster as Mighty Thor, swinging it like a pro and bashing weird alien-like creatures. It didn't give it that much of an edge, but it was Thor's reaction to it that took the cake. The twinkling in his eyes is the same as we saw in the 2019 film. But Portman delivers her best in the MCU, which has been a miss despite her being one of the best actors Hollywood has ever discovered. The Oscar winner brings all the more emotional depth to the story, which can be called the major highlight in a Waititi directorial (yes, it's not the funny sequences).
Coming to the new addition of a villain, that is, Bale as Gorr, oh my god! We have an actor who is a chameleon not only with his expressions but with his physical transformations too. We've seen him wear a superhero costume for The Batman Trilogy by donning a beefed-up look and losing a lot of weight for The Machinist (2004).
In Thor: Love and Thunder, Bale takes on the lean appearance of a man who has been starved to death, literally, and seeks vengeance from the gods who wronged him. It's a treat to watch the actor donning the menacing look and scaring the hell out of the people on screen and the viewers watching him on the big screen. There's not a dull moment when Bale marks his presence as he delivers it perfectly for what he has signed up for.
Tessa Thompson reprises her role as Princess Valkyrie of New Asgard. But even the tremors of the impact she created with her entry in Ragnarok are hardly present in Love and Thunder. We hope to see more of her, if any, in the upcoming MCU outings.
Last but not least is Thor, who goes from dad bod to god bod, and we are awaiting the moment! The actor brings back the "sex appeal" and oozes charisma from the word go. He suffers from a mid-life crisis and fights the God Butcher after leaving the Guardians of the Galaxy, with whom he travelled post-Avengers: Endgame.
His chemistry with Portman is palpable, but the love he shares for Stormbreaker is pleasing to the eyes and will crack you up instantly.
Another show-stealer of the film is Russell Crowe as Zeus, the king of the Olympians. His funny gestures, mixed up with his sadistic dialogues, prove why he has been a legend forever. But but but... Crowe as Zeus did remind me of the annoying Arturo in the Money Heist series.
Taika Waititi penned the screenplay for Thor: Love and Thunder with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and the comparisons with Ragnarok are meant to happen. He created an oddball with his 2017 film, which is difficult to surpass and Love and Thunder hasn't been able to.
However, it can be called a better MCU film than Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which was a major disappointment barring the visual effects.
The other problem Love and Thunder suffer from is the patchy editing, which seems abrupt in many sequences. If it was re-edited for the Indian audience, then viewers should be ready for a major disappointment.
The bottom line is that Thor: Love and Thunder kill the excitement, which we filled with expectations, but it's tough to hate the film.
Brilliant Chris Hemsworth is joined by the stupendous Natalie Portman and Christian Bale in Thor: Love and Thunder, while Taika Waititi plays it very safe with the screenplay this time. It's the 29th film in the MCU and a part of Phase Four, which has not been doing well post-Avengers: Endgame era.