Review – No Longer A Plain Jane (“Thor: Love & Thunder”)

Comedy/drama in the MCU returns in the sequel to 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. Co-writer & director Taika Waititi (who also voices the rock alien, Korg) introduces a new villain with Gorr, the god butcher and Jane Foster as the Mighty Thor!

Picking up after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has joined the motley crew of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Peter Quill aka Starlord (Chris Pratt), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Drax (Dave Bautista), Kraglin (Sean Gun), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), and Nebula (Karen Gillan) on their space adventures. But there’s trouble a’brewin’ out in space as Gorr (Christian Bale), a sole survivor on a barren planet has vowed death to all gods after his daughter died. Armed with the deadly NecroSword, he goes on a galactic killing rampage and Thor is next on his hit list.

Meanwhile, back on Earth at New Asgard (which has been turned into a Disneyland-like attraction), King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) has her hands full. As Gorr attacks, Thor shows up to battle him, but (WTH??!!) so does a new superhero! It’s Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who has become the Mighty Thor, thanks to the power of Thor’s former hammer, Mjolnir. It looks like the hammer is the only thing keeping Jane alive, but that’s another story. Anyway, Gorr decides on Plan B and kidnaps all the children in town as leverage, causing Thor, Valkyrie, Korg, and Jane to go after him. But, they’re gonna need help first. Who ya gonna call? More gods!!

Traveling to Omnipotent City where all the gods hang out, they try and ask the almighty Zeus for help (Russell Crowe doing an Italian accent?), but things don’t quite work out as planned. Armed with a lighting bolt stolen from Zeus, they head for the Shadow Realm where Gorr has hidden the children and is waiting for Thor. He needs to steal Thor’s source of power, Stormbreaker, so he can open a portal to Eternity! I’ll say this much, the script by director Waititi and Jennifer Kaitin Robinson (Disney+ series Hawkeye) is very much like Thor: Ragnarok in tone & structure.

Just when you’re getting invested in a great villain and want more of them, boom! They disappear for half the movie, leaving you with other stuff that’s not nearly as interesting. Bale’s Gorr is an awesome, tragic, and complex villain you simply want to see more of, but sadly, he’s not on screen that much. The movie should have been more about him, Thor, Jane, and the epic battles across the universe, but instead, we get a short cameo by the Guardians, Thor trying to “find himself”, an unnecessary kidnapping plot, and a padded-out second act with Zeus. And don’t even get me started with the planet-sized plot holes!   

Portman is great (and SO missed) as the returning Jane Foster and fits right in as the Mighty Thor, giving this story a nice boost. All the humor (the screaming goats are hilarious!) is hit ‘n’ miss funny, while the unexpected drama thrown in will have you reaching for the tissue box. I also liked the many callbacks, like the New Asgard theater actors and Heimdall’s son, and look for India Hemsworth (Chris’ IRL daughter) as Gorr’s daughter, Love. While this is not a slam-dunk like the last movie, it definitely has its moments and those are worth the ticket price.

**Now showing in theaters only 

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