Thor: Love and Thunder marks the first time that the MCU offers its audiences a fourth, solo installment for one of its heroes. That is due to the fact that filmmaker Taika Waititi breathed much life and joy into the franchise’s Thor character with Thor: Ragnarok. Well, Taika doesn’t exactly disappoint with his latest take on the character. While his new movie doesn’t have the same level of intelligence that his first attempt at Thor’s world, it is just too damn fun and full of much heart to totally dismiss it.

Following the events of Avengers: End Game, Thor has been traveling through space with the Guardians of the Galaxy and has been “helping” with their adventures. Still, Thor’s heart feels rather empty and desires much more to help him recover from the traumas he previously endured. At the end of the day, he simply wants to feel whole again. After receiving a distress signal from his friend, and fellow warrior Sif (Jaimie Alexander), the God of Thunder decides to come to leave the Guardians and come to her aid with his friend Korg (Waititi).

A new villain has arisen in the form of “God Butcher” Gorr (Christian Bale), who has made it his mission to assassinate all of the gods he feels has wronged the universe. In taking on this new threat, he discovers that his former love Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has managed to take up his mantle as the mighty God of Thunder, and has wield his hammer Mjolnir. Working with Jane’s Thor and his friend Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), the original Thor attempts to take on this new challenge, while dealing with his personal issues, and also facing his romantic troubles.

Written and directed by Waititi, who co-wrote the movie with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Thor: Love and Thunder manages to deliver fun and hilariously amusing entertainment, but never completely loses sight of its palpable drama and gravity. It isn’t an easy feat to pull off, but Waititi does a valiant effort and pretty much succeeds. While this new installment does not have the same level of intelligent writing and social commentary that Ragnarok has, the film still works mostly well in what it promises.

I will say that, visually, Love and Thunder is superior to Ragnarok in every way. The CGI and cinematography is way better and looks more on the level of the more recent offerings of the MCU. And that was my biggest complaint about Thor: Ragnarok. It’s CGI and visual presentation seems like a step backward in quality, but it is in this regard that Love and Thunder does not disappoint.

The cast is all wonderful in their roles, with Chris Hemsworth, Taika Waititi, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, and much of the supporting cast members playing their parts exceptionally. The real star of this movie, though, is Christian Bale, who is absolutely amazing as Gorr the God Butcher. Bale portrays the character very seriously, dramatically, and is also rather scary as someone who committed to a life of vengeance. It is almost as if he is acting in a completely different movie. However, make no mistake, Waititi blend s this exceptionally.

As far as the humor is concerned, the movie can be rather silly and goofy, but these elements never really take too much away from the film’s more dramatic and ominous flip side. I am so happy that the Disney/Marvel producers gave him another chance to give us another fun and exciting Thor movie. It is a film I must highly recommend to his fans, and the admirers of his brand of filmmaking. As for those who can’t get on board with a silly and goofy Thor, get over yourselves! This take on the character is way more entertaining than any, overly-serious, interpretations that develop the character in such trite and boring ways.

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