Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Thor: Love and Thunder sees the once-mighty titular hero (Chris Hemsworth) set out with the Guardians of the Galaxy on ‘wacky adventures’, saving planets from threats to their safety. Having not dealt with the deaths of various family members and loved ones, Thor is avoiding his feelings of grief and loss. However, when he is called back home to defend Asgard against Gorr the God Butcher (portrayed wonderfully by Christian Bale), he must face his past. Teaming up with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Dr. Jane Foster (a returning Natalie Portman), who has now become the Mighty Thor through a heart-tugging series of events, Thor begins a new set of adventures as he attempts to re-discover his value.
As we’ve come to expect from Taika Waititi (the director/co-writer, who is also back as Korg), the film is heavy on the silly. But, when all the ‘wackiness’ is peeled back, Thor: Love and Thunder deals with some important themes of loss, fear, and doubt, especially as Gorr questions the usefulness of gods to the people who believe in and, in many instances, suffer for them.
What is the importance of faith, especially in the midst of hardship? Is there some reward that we receive after the hardship that makes enduring it worthwhile? As someone who believes in God and has struggled with prayer myself, it was honestly kind of uncomfortable to be faced with those questions within the film. But I find that kind of discomfort useful because it made me examine myself and ask, “why do I believe what I believe?” and “why bother having any hope at all?”
Those are questions you can only answer for yourself, but Love and Thunder doesn’t leave us without offering some hope. Its central theme is that “it’s better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all,” reminding us that love is worth the pain of possibly getting your heart broken. This sentiment is maybe cliché to some people and I, for one, would love it if we could skip the ‘loss’ part of life, even if it meant functioning as emotionless creatures who are just effective in running the world. Yet, neither of those is the case. Love and Thunder reveals the real complexities of being human and what it takes to thrive as one.
It’s really impressive that writers, Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, are able to present these heavy subject matters with such humour. And, yes, the humour is wild. (Personally, it cut back the jokes just a little bit and let the emotion play out more.)
Still, Marvel is showing no signs of slowing down and seems bent on giving us at least one multiverse full of reasons to keep our hopes up.
Thor: Love and Thunder is available in theatres on Friday, July 8th, 2022.