Even though the Avengers films were an enormous success for Marvel Studios, as were many of the spin-off solo films that followed Marvel superheroes like Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Loki, one particular Norse god never seemed to do well with his solo films — at least, until New Zealand director and comedic What We Do in the Shadows actor Taika Waititi came onto the scene and completed turned the Thor franchise around in 2017. Now, Taika Waititi has done it again — this time, with a special revamp for a character!
It’s fitting, really, that the same director who has brought Thor movies back from failure has also brought an underappreciated Marvel character back to the forefront of audiences’ focus. Jane Foster has been neglected and forgotten by Marvel fans since the famous failure of the second Thor movie, Thor: The Dark World in 2013, and the character (a scientist and Thor’s love interest) has continued to go unnoticed even though she is played by Oscar-winning Israeli actress Natalie Portman.
Now, the Black Swan and Star Wars actress has gotten to bring some love back to her character just as Thor: Ragnarok brought fans back to Thor!
Natalie Portman excels in reminding audiences just how likable Jane Foster is, and she makes a surprisingly fun superhero as Mighty Thor (even if she did have to gain several inches of height to play the role alongside Chris Hemsworth). Tessa Thompson and the Guardians of the Galaxy are back in their usual roles, bringing some tongue-in-cheek humor onto the scene that Marvel fans will instantly be happy to see, and Chris Hemsworth once again reveals that he is actually meant for comedy.
The Australian actor seems far more in his element when he is making jokes than he does when he is trying to be serious (hence his surprisingly excellent turn as the ghostbusters’ hapless secretary in the 2016 remake with Melissa Mccarthy). Thor’s witty banter with Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) and Korg (played by Taika Waititi) are noticeable highlights in the film.
Christian Bale might have seemed like an odd addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since the British method actor typically favors serious and dramatic roles more than big blockbusters (aside, of course, from his role as Batman). Bale does seem to have embraced his character, Gorr the God Butcher, and his performance is certainly creepy and enthralling enough to be convincing — but his involvement makes for an odd contrast when compared to the light, jaunty camaraderie exuded by all of the other characters in the last two Thor films.
As with most Marvel movies or shows, the fight sequences are beautiful to watch and very exciting. The addition of music from bands like Guns n’ Roses has made the Thor battles noticeably better ever since Thor: Ragnarok, and that pattern continues — but even with the epic music, Thor: Love and Thunder still seems to shine its brightest in between the fight scenes, when Thor is just spending time with his friends and seeking enlightenment. Is this movie worth seeing in theaters? Yes — and be sure to pick up a Mjolnir popcorn bucket.