Strap yourself. This is going to be a ride.
Thor has returned to the big screen with the latest MCU offering to the geek gods, Thor: Love and Thunder. Chris Hemsworth and Taika Waititi are back with as much flair and flashy lights and mad-house music as ever. Think along the lines of a 1980s family fun action film—when the action was great, the romance was a little cheesy, and there are just enough questionable moments to remind you how flexible the PG ratings can be. The kids will love it.
1. What is Thor: Love and Thunder?
Thor: Love and Thunder is the latest installment in the Thor series of movies and the MCU franchise. It’s also the second Thor movie made by Taika Waititi, which, to be frank, gives it a much more upbeat vibe than the first two Thor movies.
Think of this as Thor’s midlife crisis. (Do we still do those?) The movie starts with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) traveling through space with his bud, Korg (Taika Waititi), and the Guardians of the Galaxy (all of those people). He is still carrying a bit of grief from *waves hand at MCU history* all of that stuff, but he is determined to find his way again. Sure, there’s a bit of false bravado still hanging there, but he still shows up, saves people, and accepts the praise (whether warranted or not). Isn’t that like the gods? YES. And thus, we come to the heart of the movie. This is exactly like the gods.
See, the gods have been lazy. Across many planets and civilizations, the gods have not been attending to their followers. People have been sending their thoughts and prayers, but, alas, the suffering continues. For one great character, Gorr (Christian Bale), it is finally too much. He picks up the Necrosword, a god-killer blade, and starts to make a difference. By the time he reaches Thor on his list, Gorr the God Butcherer has formulated a plan. He kidnaps the children of New Asgard and prompts Thor into action.
Where does Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) fit into this? Well, it’s clear from the trailers we have two Thors. However, I don’t want to give too much explanation since it is a woven part of the story. Suffice to say, Thor, Mighty Thor, Korg, and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) are the primary team here.
2. Is it appropriate for kids?
The movie is about family, but not in the Guardians of the Galaxy “make this team a family” way. It is specifically about kids and making a family grow. From characters to fleeting looks and thoughts about the future, Thor: Love and Thunder is about the kids. It’s sweet, and it’s a good solid theme to work with.
From a kid’s perspective, the violence is moderate in regard to cinematic violence in MCU movies and TV shows. One character loses an arm in battle, though you don’t see the violent attack itself. A couple of big characters take big hits in fights, but, again, it’s nothing compared to Thor losing an eye in Thor: Ragnarok.
There is a flash of nudity with Thor’s butt (as revealed in the trailer). There’s a little bit of swearing—mostly characters going, “Ah, shit!” when they realize that the situation is about to go bad, as it usually does. If you and your kids are okay with a bit of swearing, then they will probably be fine with the movie. In fact, I reckon they’ll enjoy it a lot. It’s a very empowering movie for kids, especially towards the end.
3. Do I need to watch the entire back catalog of Marvel movies, TV shows, special guest appearances, subscription newsletters, and social media burns?
No one has time for that anymore. I’m trying to help my kids play catch-up, and just… wow. Thank the gods, Waititi included a re-cap. And a very good recap. It’s not quite like Luis in Ant-Man, but Korg is a damn close second. There are a few scenes where you might benefit from seeing previous work; for example, if you have perhaps seen the live-stage Asgardian masterpiece of Loki (if you know, you know). Otherwise, don’t stress. Sit back and enjoy the ride. If you’ve read the comics relating to Gorr or Mighty Thor, you’ll have a better understanding than most. Nothing to take away from the movie or give you an unfair advantage.
4. Is it worth risking a cinema rather than waiting for Disney+?
This is a tricky question because, yes, we are still in the global pandemic of COVID-19. Other GeekDad and GeekMom writers had planned to write this review, then had to pass the torch because of COVID. Disney+ adds a whole different spin to the game when you consider how quickly movies can be added to streaming. Full confession: I saw Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness at home. I really enjoyed it, and it is definitely worthy of the big screen, yet it came out on Disney+ fairly quick for me, so why not? This is a personal question, and I’m not influencing it.
Thor: Love and Thunder is also worthy of a big screen. There are some gorgeous flying jumps, breathtaking CGI scenery, and a few scenes where the bigger screen gives you a better opportunity to see the cameos in the background. Personally, I’m grateful for a large cinema to help contain the screaming goats. I do not want to bring that into my home.
5. Am I going to like it?
This was fun! I laughed a lot and may have sniffed back a few tears. Waititi does not shy away from hard topics, but he also knows how to make them part of the story, not simply boxes to tick for human emotions. There is distinct character growth in the film, reminiscent of the first Thor movie. There are some very real questions about gods, and there are some uplifting moments with children. And you’ll probably find yourself singing along to every Guns & Roses song featured.
Heads up, you may cringe with Russel Crowe’s attempt at Zeus. I totally get why Waititi championed for Crowe to be in the film. That doesn’t mean we need a bad and kinda racist attempt at a Greek accent from a white Kiwi boy. If you wanted a Greek sound to your Greek god, then cast a Greek actor. Waititi is so great at supporting local contractors, especially indigenous communities. Unfortunately, I think he dropped the ball on this one.
6. Do we still need toilet breaks during movies?
Shout out to a few friends who still read my reviews just for the toilet-break tips. There is a spot you can possibly run out and not miss too much. About 45 minutes in, there is a scene where Thor and Jane are talking on the ship sailing across the cosmos. Be quick, you probably have about 3-minutes max. Generally speaking, even the “quiet” scenes are part of the overarching character development in this movie, which keeps you invested in their stories and makes the movie worthwhile. The whole movie is just under two hours long, from start to the very end. I strongly suggest checking for sneaky pee before the movie.
7. When can I leave the cinema?
I am amazed at how many people still leave before the credits. Did you forget you are watching an MCU movie?! And anyway, show some respect for the production team who made the damn film!
*ahem* Okay, yes. There are two post-credits scenes. And just like the movie says, we get our reward at the end. The very end.
This review is dedicated in memory to GeekMom Heather Sather, who lost the battle with cancer and earned her rightful place in Valhalla with our fellow geek warriors. She would have loved this movie.
Thor: Love and Thunder is available now in cinemas.
4 out of 5 jealous space Viking weapons