tek's rating: ½

Thor: Love and Thunder (PG-13)
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Caution: potential spoilers.

Hoo boy. This movie. I wasn't sure, going into it, how I would feel about it, because a lot of people seem to think it sucked. Of course, I'm not a lot of people, and I always like to make up my own mind about things. Still, I was nervous. And as it turns out... I thought parts of it were bad, in terms of both dialogue (oh man some of that dialogue) and plot. But I also thought parts of it were good. It was trying so hard to be so many things, but most of all I think it was trying to be a comedy, because that aspect worked so well for the previous Thor movie, Ragnarok. And I did enjoy some of the humor in this one, but a lot of it I didn't. (And sometimes I wasn't even sure whether it was trying to be funny or serious.) But there's also plenty of serious subject matter in the movie, most notably Jane Foster having cancer. Of course, it's also trying to be a badass action movie, and I think it succeeded pretty decently at that. On top of everything, it spends a lot of time being a love letter to 1980s hair metal (which is both part of the humor and part of the badassery). I thought that was actually a fairly fun conceit, even if it was over-the-top.

But on to the plot. There's an alien named Gorr (Christian Bale), who is apparently the last of his race, after his young daughter dies. He was hoping his god could save her life, but his god was just a jerk who totally deserved what happened to him, and that is that he was killed by Gorr, who came into possession of a god-killing sword called the Necrosword. After that, he went on a spree killing other gods throughout the universe, believing they were all just as bad as the first one he killed. Meanwhile, Thor has been spending time going on adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy. After one mission is completed, they're looking for their next one amidst countless distress calls. One of them is from Thor's old Asgardian friend Sif, and he and his Kronan friend Korg leave the Guardians to go help Sif, who they find nearly dead after the battle against Gorr and his forces. She warns Thor that New Asgard (on Earth) is Gorr's next target, so Thor and Korg go there, bringing Sif with them to be treated for her injuries. Before they get to Earth, we learn that Jane is dying of cancer, and she gets the idea that Thor's former hammer Mjolnir (which was destroyed in "Ragnarok") might be able to save her life. She finds its fragments on display in New Asgard, and it looks like something's going to happen with them, but we don't see quite what, just yet.

So anyway, Thor and Korg get to New Asgard, where they're reunited with the current king (or queen?) of Asgard, Valkyrie, and join a battle against Gorr and his shadow creatures. Also taking part in the battle is Mighty Thor, aka Jane, who now wields Mjolnir and has all the power of Thor himself. We can tell Mjolnir has been reassembled but still bears the scars of its destruction, and I think it's actually pretty damn neat that those pieces can still break up and individually do some pretty heavy damage before coming back together in hammer form. Thor, of course, is shocked by Jane's transformation, and kind of jealous that he can no longer wield Mjolnir, himself. In one of the movie's many running gags, his new axe, Stormbreaker (which he forged in Avengers: Infinity War), apparently becomes jealous of Thor's rekindled feelings for Mjolnir. Anyway, Gorr's shadow creatures kidnap a bunch of children from New Asgard, including the late Heimdall's young son, who calls himself Axl. Realizing the children have been taken to the shadow realm, Thor wants to recruit an army of gods to go after Gorr and rescue the children, so he brings Jane, Valkyrie, and Korg to a place called Omnipotence City, where countless gods are gathered, and presided over by Zeus (Russell Crowe), who refuses to help. I don't want to get into everything that happens there, but Thor and his allies decide they'll have to try to rescue the children and defeat Gorr on their own. But they do learn from Zeus that Gorr intends to visit a being called Eternity, who will supposedly grant one wish to anyone who reaches him... and presumably, Gorr would wish to kill all the remaining gods in the universe at once.

Well, I don't want to say too much more about the plot. I should mention that throughout the film, the story is being told to children by Korg. I'll also say I enjoyed how the kidnapped children were utilized in the final battle. And what happens after the battle... the final scene of the movie proper is pretty cute and charming. There are also decent mid-credits and post-credits scenes, the nature of which I won't spoil (but the mid-credits scene appears to set up a future problem for Thor). Anyway, throughout the film there are things I liked and things I didn't like, and I thought the writing was very inconsistent. That makes this easily my least favorite MCU movie to date, but overall it wasn't as bad as I feared it would be. While the story could have been handled a lot better, I thought the core premise of someone killing gods (and the question of whether they deserved it) was interesting, and I liked how it ended, and look forward to seeing what happens next for Thor and... someone else.

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Marvel Cinematic Universe
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Phase One: Iron Man * The Incredible Hulk * Iron Man 2 * Thor * Captain America * The Avengers
Phase Two: Iron Man 3 * Thor: The Dark World * Captain America: The Winter Soldier * Guardians of the Galaxy * Avengers: Age of Ultron * Ant-Man
Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War * Doctor Strange * Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 * Spider-Man: Homecoming * Thor: Ragnarok *
Black Panther * Avengers: Infinity War * Ant-Man and the Wasp * Captain Marvel * Avengers: Endgame * Spider-Man: Far from Home
Phase Four: Black Widow * Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings * Eternals * Spider-Man: No Way Home *
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness * Thor: Love and Thunder * Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Phase Five: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania * Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 * The Marvels
short films: Marvel One-Shots
TV: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. * Agent Carter * Inhumans * Cloak & Dagger
Netflix: Daredevil * Jessica Jones * Luke Cage * Iron Fist * The Defenders * The Punisher
Hulu: Runaways * Helstrom
Disney+ (P4): WandaVision * The Falcon and the Winter Soldier * Loki * What If...? * Hawkeye * Moon Knight * Ms. Marvel * I Am Groot *
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law * Werewolf by Night * Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Disney+ (P5): Secret Invasion * Loki s2 * Echo