Action Adventure

Review: ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ is Dazzling Proof that Lightning Doesn’t Strike Twice

July 5, 2022Ben MK

With shows like Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel regularly winning the praises of both audiences and critics alike, there's no doubt that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is expanding at an unprecedented pace, with groundbreaking new characters being introduced left, right and center. When it comes to the founding members of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, however, there's still something to be said for the impressive groundwork they've helped lay for cinema's most successful film franchise. And in the case of the God of Thunder himself, Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth), it's clear that there will always be a place in the hearts of moviegoers for the MCU's OG roster of superheroes.

Enter Thor: Love and Thunder, director Taika Waititi's followup to 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, which finds everyone's favorite Asgardian warrior struggling to rediscover his purpose in life, in the wake of the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Joining up with the intergalactic band of heroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor's journey has taken him into the far reaches of space, where he and his best friend, the loveable Kronan Korg (Waititi), have spent the past few years aiding Starlord (Chris Pratt) and his pals in their mission to help those who cannot help themselves, no matter what planet they're on. However, when a terrifying new evil arises that threatens to vanquish all the gods in the known universe from existence, it's up to Thor to put a stop to it. But in order to do so, he and Korg will have to enlist the assistance of the King of New Asgard — aka their old friend, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) — as well as an unexpected new ally.

That terrifying new evil and that unexpected new ally, of course, are Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), two characters driven by vastly different motivations, who have both been emboldened by mystical powers far greater than themselves. An ordinary man who once worshipped the gods, Gorr fell under the spell of a deadly weapon called the Necrosword, which enabled him to embark on his own personal quest for bloody vengeance, after he came to the tragic realization that the deities he and his family devoted their lives to were nothing but a bunch of self-centered megalomaniacs. Jane, on the other hand, has been battling stage four cancer. But when conventional chemotherapy treatments proved less than effective and she started to explore more unorthodox methods of healing, it leads her to pay a visit to New Asgard, where the fragments of Thor's former hammer, Mjolnir, transform her from an ordinary woman into the Mighty Thor.

Together, Thor, Korg, Valkyrie and Jane must stealthily make their way into Omnipotence City, where they must convince the god of all gods, Zeus (Russell Crowe), to lend them his all-powerful lightning bolt so that they may defeat Gorr. Unfortunately for them, Zeus has no interest in risking his life for others. And when it becomes clear that Gorr must be stopped before he reaches the cosmic entity known as Eternity — a being so powerful that it can grant the wish of the first person to pass through its gates — the foursome are forced to take matters into their own hands. What follows doesn't quite soar to the dazzling heights of Thor: Ragnarok, which remains the series' most rambunctious and crowd-pleasing entry to date. Yet, as far as the MCU's trademark blend of action and humor is concerned, the result has no trouble living up to viewers' expectations, with plenty of both to go around, along with its fair share of applause-worthy moments, especially if you happen to be a Guns N' Roses fan.

Throw in laugh-out-loud cameos from the likes of Matt Damon and Melissa McCarthy, Easter Eggs from some surprising corners of the Disney and Pixar universe, and a tease about a certain demigod who may soon be making his MCU debut, and you have a sequel that easily ranks as the second-best in the decade-old franchise. Nonetheless, for those hoping for another Thor adventure as enigmatic and as gleefully unconventional as its immediate predecessor, Thor: Love and Thunder is proof that lightning doesn't strike twice.

Thor: Love and Thunder releases July 8th, 2022 from Walt Disney Studios. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, some suggestive material and partial nudity. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 5 min.

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