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Thor: Love and Thunder is set directly following the events of Avengers: Endgame with Thor, having left New Asgard, now traversing space in a quest of self-discovery and inner peace.
It’s a colourful, fun, action-packed adventure that builds on the foundations of Thor: Ragnarok, utilising creative humour and dynamic neon-inspired visuals to balance the film’s darker, emotionally driven undertone.
Taika Waititi, who directed both Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder while co-starring as comical sidekick Korg, noted during the movie’s global press conference: “The whole aesthetic around this film was always to be this bombastic, loud, colourful palette, which kind of reflected spray-painted panel vans in the ’80s and rock album covers.”
The conference, also attended by Natalie Portman (‘Jane Foster/Mighty Thor’), Tessa Thompson (‘King Valkyrie’), Christian Bale (‘Gorr the God Butcher’), Kevin Feige (Producer, President of Marvel Studios) and Supa-Star alumnus Chris Hemsworth (‘Thor Odinson’), provided an interesting perspective on what it’s like to work with Waititi and how that experience translated through to the final product audiences will see on screen.
“It’s a journey of self-discovery, exploration, fun and wackiness,” noted Hemsworth.
“There was an enthusiasm that is infectious among everybody, and [Taika] loves it. He loves these stories. He loves these characters. He’s sitting there as a fan telling you what he’d wanna see, what a family would wanna see. This is why you get this spontaneity and unpredictable nature in any of Taika’s films.”
In what has become something of a Taika Waititi trademark, Thor: Love and Thunder finds a way to balance the fun and spontaneity with complex and challenging drama that resonates with audiences on a much deeper level.
“I think something that Stan Lee talked a lot about – whether it’s a villain or a hero – [is] the thing sometimes that connects them to their power, whether it’s used for good or bad, is actually their trauma,” Thompson said. In Love and Thunder, King Valkyrie is struggling with a new life away from the battlefield.
“With this one, we talked about the idea of someone that has a job that they really love, but they’re also kind of disgruntled,” she explained. “She, you know, was a professional soldier for thousands of years and now finds herself kind of stuck in bureaucracy.”
Audiences get a front row seat to these complex characters as each one deals with their own relatable struggles throughout the movie and find ways to accept themselves and those around them.
“Comedy and tragedy, hand in hand,” as Christian Bale described, who joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the film’s villain, Gorr the God Butcher.
Gorr himself becomes a somewhat relatable character as a religious man who loses faith. After witnessing the lack of assistance from the Gods, he becomes consumed by rage and sets out to rid the universe of all immortals.
“There’s a great pleasure in playing a villain,” Bale enthused. “It’s a lot easier to play a villain than it is to play a hero. Everyone is fascinated with bad guys, right, immediately. And then, the beauty of it is that Taika can make it bloody hilarious and then really moving as well in this story.”
“He’s my favourite villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” Hemsworth added. “There’s this empathic quality there, there’s a vulnerability. You kind of find yourself going, ‘Oh, what’s he’s doing is wrong, but I get the sort of motivation behind it.'”
Bale agreed: “He is a monster, and he is a butcher, but yeah, it’s possibly a little understandable how he came to be that way.”
Natalie Portman returns to the MCU as Jane Foster while also taking up the moniker of Mighty Thor to help in the fight against Gorr. Portman’s powerful portrayal of Mighty Thor challenges the expectation of superheroes and what they are capable of.
“I feel like getting this opportunity, with such an incredible way to explore a female superhero that could be quite vulnerable or weak and find strength in that, to be more like a human I could relate to personally,” Portman said.
Thor: Love and Thunder explores Jane and Thor’s relationship over the years, which adds an element of romantic comedy to an action-packed, dynamic movie experience.
With Thor: Love and Thunder being the fourth instalment in the Thor franchise and the only individual character to reach four individual films, it begs the question – are we nearing the end of Thor in the MCU?
“Is the question, ‘Have you told all the great Thor stories from the comics and movies?’ The answer is ‘no’,” stated Feige.
“There are lots of them. I think of all of our cast, not as their individual characters, but as the Marvel players who within that character can grow and evolve and change. And if we look at the comics as our guide, there are plenty of other incarnations of Thor that we’ve yet to see.”
‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ is in cinemas now
LEAD IMAGE: Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios’ THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.