Hercules Loves Taika Waititi’s THOR FOUR!!
What’s it called?
“Thor: Love and Thunder.”
“Thor III” helmer Taika Waititi (“Hunt For The Wilderpeople,” “Things We Do In The Shadows,” “Jojo Rabbit”) directs from his own screenplay. (Note: though “Thor III” certainly feels like Waititi wrote it, he received no screenplay credit for his 2017 Thor.)
The big news?
This may be the gayest Disney movie to date. Tessa Thompson returns as the lesbitastic King Valkyrie and Korg has two dads. Will the sad, impotent governor Ron DeSantis try to stop this smallfry-magnet from flooding into Florida’s multiplexes?
How does it start?
In a forbidding desert, a bald extraterrestrial named Gorr (Christian Bale, who made the best Batman movie) prays to his gods to save the life of his daughter.
What says Disney?
“Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.”
How is Natalie Portman now Thor? Is she a multiverse variant?
No, it’s the same girlfriend we met in the first two Thor movies. It’s important to note that Jane Foster is now “a Thor,” not “The Thor.” Thor is Thor also. As one might guess, the Foster character is far, far better utilized this time around. Natalie Portman is wonderful, and I love that her Thor-self is so much taller than the regular Jane.
Is this new Thor any good?
Yes. If you like Waititi’s other movies, you’re almost certain to get a lot out of this one.
Is this Thor’s best “solo” movie?
I’m saying yes.
Chris Pratt has a blockbuster dinosaur movie out right now, doesn’t he? How much screentime does Pratt and Karen Gillan and Dave Bautista and the other Guardians of the Galaxy get in this?
Not a ton. When we catch up with Thor, he’s lost his beery paunch but is still working with Rocket, Groot and Co. In an inspired and hilarious introductory sequence, we see that the Guardians have little to accomplish when the ripped Odinsson is on the scene. Pratt and The Guardians are wholly gone by the 30-minute mark, when a plea from Sif causes Thor to ditch his teammates.
Wait, Sif is back too?
Yes. And Jaime Alexander, a long way from her “Agents of SHIELD” episode, gets surprisingly high billing!
Is Zoe Saldana in this?
She is not.
Who does NOT return from the prior Thor movies?
Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Hiddleston, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Hopkins, Clark Gregg, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Rene Russo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Alice Krige, Cate Blanchett and Karl Urban sit this one out.
IMDb says Liam Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Matt Damon and Melissa McCarthy play “Actor Thor,” “Actor Odin,” “Actor Loki” and “Actor Hel.” Are these actors in a movie, like Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito in that fake Austin Powers biopic?
There is no movie. And it's clear that Neill, Damon and McCarthy are not playing themselves playing Asgardians.
How is Russell Crowe as Zeus?
Fat, Greek and grotesquely entertaining. The whole sequence involving Crowe and the many other gods is a highlight and destined to emerge as a fan favorite. There are reasons to suspect that he will emerge as a key component of subsequent Marvel movies.
Hemsworth’s title character, who has evolved so wonderfully from his initial Branaghy blandness thanks to the collective efforts of Joss Whedon, Christopher Marcus, Stephen McFeely and Waititi. And I cannot emphasize this enough: Jane, Valkyrie and Korg -- Thor’s three main sidekicks this time around -- represent a mammoth improvement over the Warriors Three, or whatever they were called. Other must-see elements include the jealous hammer, the giant screaming goats, and Zeus’ girlfriends. And the famous guitar riffs provided by Saul “Slash” Hudson fit here magnificently.
What’s not so great?
Bale’s villain underwhelms, and the great jokes are in short supply during the obligatory Big Action Sequence that closes the movie. (I always like to point funnybook filmmakers in the direction of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which featured a final act that was -- thanks to in large part to Baby Groot and Fleetwood Mac -- as hilarious and suspenseful as it was involving and exhilarating.)
How does it end, Spoiler boy?
1) “I love you, Uncle Thor.”
2) “They’re simply known as Love & Thunder.”
3) “Yes, Father,” sneers Brett Goldstein.
4) “Welcome to Valhalla,” booms another familiar voice.
I warn you not to defy me!
I am – Hercules!!