'Thor: Love and Thunder' Review: Christian Bale, Natalie Portman steal Chris Hemsworth's thunder in fun flick
At the heart of it, 'Thor: Love and Thunder' is all about love and sacrifice. As much as it is a light-hearted MCU affair, it's also bittersweet. It wouldn't be a stretch to call this a better film than 'Ragnarok', because it certainly is. The 'Thorquel' as it's called now may have been hit by leaks that turn out to be painfully true, but what makes it worthy of a watch or two is purely the way it's told. Chris Hemsworth might be the God of Thunder, but it's stolen by a certain Christian Bale who showcases his acting chops and versatility as Gorr the God Butcher. Sharing some of that thunder is also Natalie Portman, whose absence in the last few MCU movies (the cameo in 'Avengers: Endgame' not counting) is finally explained.
Jane Foster (Portman) is Thor as well, but it's not the way she envisioned it to be. The terminally ill physicist decides to see if a Viking spirit could rid her of her cancer, but the very superhero she becomes is actually accelerating her path to dying. It's a nice parallel to Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark in 'Iron Man 2'. He may have replaced the Palladium in his chest with a far more durable and life-giving element that was killing him slowly, but it's not the case for Foster who dies a little each time she becomes Thor.
The plot is fairly straightforward. Gorr the God Butcher (Bale) is on a god-decimation spree, His necrosword is his weapon of choice that while killing him still makes him one of the more deadliest villains in the MCU. His frailty is perhaps his biggest strength as he manages to pack some power despite the lithe physique. He loses faith after the very God he worships fails to listen to his plea, and mocks him instead. The rage that orchestrates the killing of one supreme power consumes him as he kills one at a time. Thor falls in his crosshairs, and what follows is a skirmish that packs action, thrill, comedy, and some lovely rock music to the very end.
There are a few roles that complement the trio well. Russell Crowe as a power-drunk and incorrigible Zeus, Taika Waititi's Korg, and Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, play their roles to perfection as do some Asgardian kids who have their 60 seconds to fame. 'Love and Thunder' also uses a young star in Hemsworth's daughter, India. She may have had sparing screen space, but there's no doubt that her dad picked the perfect launch vehicle for the 10-year-old. For the first time in four installments, which also guarantees a fifth film, Hemsworth is pretty much a side character in his own film.
What makes Thor lovable is the childlike and carefree attitude he carries, one that Waititi brings out on full display. But all things considered, Bale and Portman headline and showstop 'Love and Thunder' and do a darn good job at it. If the MCU was looking for a win after a few forgettable flicks, it's got one now.
'Thor: Love and Thunder' releases July 8 in the US.