Help Thor conquer Chitauri, Ultron, and Thanos. But can he conquer love?
That’s the big question facing the god of thunder in the latest Marvel movie. Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters July 8 — the second MCU movie of 2022 and the 29th film overall. It features everyone’s favorite alien Vikings not only fighting Gorr the God Butcher (played by the insanely scary Christian Bale) but teaming up with his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (cool Natalie Portman) to do just that.
Director Taiki Waititi’s sequel to 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok” is filled with the same hilarious scenes, disrespectful attitude and rock ‘n’ roll needle drops that made his previous movie a smash hit. It’s a guaranteed fun time whether you’re a Marvel fan (like me) or just want something to watch while smashing some popcorn in the theater this summer.
But I still have questions.
Here are the seven things I left “Thor: Love and Thunder” wondering. And fair warning, these questions will be spoiler-centric.
What do Guardians of the Galaxy do?
The last time we saw Thor, he was teaming up with Guardians of the Galaxy at the end of “Avengers: Endgame”. It was a logical development. Thor had incredible chemistry with Rocket and Groot in Infinity war, and Waititi’s output power definitely aligns with James Gunn’s Guardians tone. They haven’t been in the movie for long, which makes sense – this isn’t a Guardians movie, it’s a Thor movie. But after some charming scenes with the galactic Asgardians, they travel to do…we don’t know what. Gamora was the only Guardian who didn’t appear in the movie, so it makes sense that they’d be looking for her after the events of “Endgame”. But seeing The Guardians, even in limited capabilities, got me even more excited for “Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3,” even though it won’t be shown until 2023.
Does Gore have a point?
The best comic book villains are those who don’t see themselves as villains. Those who have a point. the Joker. Killmonger in “Black Panther”. Thanos, even. It makes them all more compelling, and it makes you invest in the story more. And while we haven’t seen Gore the butcher of the gods, he made some points. The gods kind of sucks, right? Not only were Gore and his family deserted by their god, but Zeus was completely stupid when Thor warned him that Gore was trying to kill all the gods. Don’t get me wrong, there are valid gods. Thor is definitely a good deity at this point in the MCU. But the rest of them don’t seem to want to do much other than enjoy their piety. I’m not saying I was rooting for gore, but I saw where it came from.
Are they preparing Ben Heimdall for a bigger role?
Heimdall may have died at the beginning of Infinity War, but we have to see his son in Love and Thunder. The child played a major role in the film, helping to direct Thor to the whereabouts of the kidnapped children. Possessing some of the same powers as his father, he shows his presence to Thor back on Earth and then shows him where they are. He then helps fight Gore at the climax of the movie, and is trained by Ms. Saif at the end of the movie. Maybe they were just doing it to embody the Asgardian nature of the film, or maybe we’ll see more of it in future projects. It would be great to see him in the long-rumored “Young Avengers” project.
So is Jane… gone?
It’s so magical that Jane Foster is back in the MCU. The circumstances surrounding her breakup with Thor have always been a bit of a mystery, but we get the clarity on this movie in a rewarding, romcom way. You have become the mighty Thor, grab Thor’s hammer and gain his power! Looks like they figured things out! Then she died of cancer. Her death scene was heartbreaking but it did, as Portman’s chemistry with Chris Hemsworth was clearly still intact despite not reprising the role (other than a brief cameo in “End Game” in nearly a decade). But the final post-credit scene shows Jane entering what appears to be Valhalla, the Viking version of heaven. Did they show us this to give us an epilogue on the character? Or will she be a pious presence in the MCU in the future? Perhaps the former. But it was an interesting choice regardless.
What’s the deal with Gore’s daughter?
Love and Thunder ends with Gore’s death and Thor’s adoption of his daughter. While this may be a little frustrating (along with Thor’s desire to have a child, which never seemed to be on his mind during his appearance in the previous movie), it did come up with a nice conclusion to the story. We didn’t know much about Gore’s daughter other than that she died at the beginning of the movie and Gore brought her back to life once he arrived for good. Now she appears to be training under the same god of thunder, her new father. Will it be distinguished more? Will you become a prominent figure? She is in good hands with Thor.
So what’s going on with Zeus and… Hercules?
Perhaps the film’s biggest reveal comes in the mid-credit scene when Zeus (played by the meticulous Russell Crowe) talks to his son about revenge against the superheroes who have usurped the gods in the audience’s minds. Who is his son? Hercules. Who is playing with him? Brett Goldstein of “Ted Lasso” fame. Fabulous. Hercules is a Marvel character in the comics, and he usually plays the hero rather than the villain. We really have no idea where the MCU is headed now, so it will be interesting to see how Hercules will interact with the rest of the characters in the movies – especially one played by Roy Kent himself.
What’s next for Thor?
“Love and Thunder” makes Thor the first indie franchise for the MCU to have four films — which is pretty wild considering that the first Thor movie was good and the second was horrible. But Ragnarok has been running the whole time, and v4 is strong too. The credits end with an ominous message: “Thor will return.” This was a classic MCU trope in early films, and often explains which movie the character will return in. But we don’t know what’s next for Thor. Will he be in the next Guardians movie? Is there another side project coming up? Can we have a file Fifth Thor movie? This would be completely unprecedented in the MCU, but not unearned. Hemsworth and Waititi clearly cracked Thor’s code, and we’re all the way down wherever it takes us.
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