Emotional ending elevates ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’


“Thor: Love and Thunder” is an epic romp through the cosmos. It’s chock-full of massive visual vistas, broad, comedic characters and comic book action. That is to be expected from any entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What’s not as expected is the emotions felt as the film draws to a close.

“Love and Thunder” finds the Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) kicking back in semi-retirement, going on adventures with his Guardians of the Galaxy pals. But when Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) goes on a diety-killing rampage, Thor teams up with King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Taika Waititi) to stop the carnage.

Things get even crazier when Thor’s old flame, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) pops up all armored up and wielding a very familiar hammer. With that, it’s off across the universe to stop Gorr and rescue a whole host of kidnapped Asgardian kids.

The more I think about this movie, the more things I find that I liked about it. The stuff with the Guardians is great and Hemsworth and Chris Pratt (who plays Peter Quill) work really well together. I’m hoping we’ll get to see them together onscreen again soon. Hemsworth and Portman also have some nice chemistry together and raise one another’s performances.

Bale takes a villain role that could’ve been dull and turns it into something memorable. The way things resolve between him and Thor is actually moving.

The scene in a giant arena full of gods and goddesses is also terrific, due in no small part to Russell Crowe’s performance as Zeus. He’s hilarious with a streak of malignant narcissism running through him. Crowe’s take on Zeus is one of the best things I’ve seen on a movie screen this year.

In addition, the visuals in “Love and Thunder” are epic. From a Viking longship cruising the Bifrost through space to a black-and-white battle with shadow monsters on a rapidly-spinning dwarf planet, this movie brings to life so many comic book images. It’s like an entire movie made up of splash pages.

But what really elevates this movie is what it has to say about losing loved ones and living with your heart open. Life should be a balance of living in the moment and trusting your heart. If you do lose someone, there is always a way to move on, no matter how bitter you may feel. I like that.

The main flaw that holds “Love and Thunder” back is director Waititi’s insistence on including way too many unnecessary jokes. The movie spends way too much time mucking around with quirky, often unfunny jokes. I mean, the screeching space goats are funny the first three or four times but they get old fast. And while I appreciated the callback to “Thor: Ragnarok” involving Matt Damon, that would’ve worked better as a short visual gag for those in the know, instead of the longer, more drawn-out sequence it is.

Flaws aside, “Thor: Love and Thunder” is a pretty fun ride of a film. It’s well-paced, the action scenes excite and the Guns n’ Roses-filled soundtrack kicks a lot of booty. It might even stir your emotions if you let it.

3 ½ Indy Fedoras out of 5

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Thanks to Fat Cats in Rexburg for providing screenings for movie reviews on EastIdahoNews.com.

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