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“I” over culture

I’ve been looking forward to it Thor: Love and Thunder since I first heard about it. Thor: Ragnarok was one of my Marvel favorites, a movie that managed to take Hulk and Thor and make fun of them. The new movie is funny too, although it works a little too hard. But it’s still a fun experience. I took my grandkids and we all had a great time.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) attempts to live a life of peace and contemplation, most disturbed by trying to settle major disputes alongside his fellow Guardians of the Galaxy when he is suddenly overwhelmed by Sif (a tragically underemployed Jaimie Alexander) of a new power hears the universe, Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale). We first see Bale with his young daughter beg the gods on his parched planet for help, watch her die and then find out the gods thought it was a big joke. Somehow, a nasty sword capable of killing gods gets his hands on him and he launches a campaign to kill them all across the universe.

Which leads us to Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Do you remember Thor’s first human girlfriend? She’s famous now and isn’t doing well in her battle with cancer. She travels to New Asgard, gets close to the broken Mjolnir hammer which reassembles and transforms her into Mighty Thor, complete with blonde hair and great muscles. She and Thor fight Gorr, but he kidnaps all the children there. Thor, Mighty Thor, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Thor’s rocky body Korg (who is also the director, Taika Waititi) join forces to battle Gorr. After a disappointing journey to the “home of the gods” led by a dissolute Zeus (Russell Crowe), they head into battle. Of course, we know the good guys will win, but there are interesting twists and turns along the way.

There was some controversy about the film, but apart from a few quick lines that most kids won’t even notice (my grandkids certainly won’t), the film plays like the other films in this collection, only funnier than most. There’s a quick scene with a naked Thor that actually manages to be funny.

The cast is really good. Hemsworth has become perhaps the best comedian in the Marvel movies. He manages to be heroic, kind of god fearing, but also very human. He takes a lot of tender moments and makes them work, maybe even better than the action scenes, a major reason for the popularity of his Thor films. His scenes with his former weapon Mjolnir and dealing with the jealousy of his new battle ax Stormbreaker are hysterical. Somehow, two inanimate objects take on complex personalities.

Portman does a good job as both the sick Jane and Mighty Thor. The part could have simply been used to trigger Thor’s modes, but Portman makes them intriguing, sensitive, and real. Thompson has some great lines and manages to keep her relatively small role interesting. The CGI character Korg, voiced by Waititi, also has great lines.

However, Bale is so strong as Gorr that he ditched the film. He’s more of an antihero than a villain. He has good reason to hate the gods, and his ferocity is impressive. He’s scarier than even Thanos. That may be because anti-heroes like Gorr (and Erik Killmonger in Black Panther) have clear reasons for their actions, but much of it is brilliant acting. And Bale, who is essentially unrecognizable in the character’s makeup, is incredibly strong. Despite violent killings, kidnappings of children and assassinations of our heroes, we truly feel sorry for him.

The movie tries to cram in a few too many themes and that makes it far from perfect. But this is a really fun image, one that pretty much everyone will enjoy. That was a problem for some critics, by the way. They end up loving some small movies that try very little and often aren’t interesting while keeping the big budget movies to almost impossible standards.

Forget these people. If you like funny action movies, this is surely one that you will enjoy.

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