Story: The last time we left Thor, he had joined the Guardians of the Galaxy. And there he is, part of the team…but separately. Seems like he’s still coming to terms with what happened in the final stages of MCU and needs to find himself. Meanwhile, his ex Jane Foster is having a similar moment. Can these two crazy kids solve their problems before a god finisher mows through the universe? Because there is a god-finisher. And he’s mowing through the universe, all of you.
Genre I would classify it into: Taika Waititi Shenanigans Part Deux
Release Date: 2022
Remake, Sequel, Based on or Original: Based on the Marvel Comics characters. Part of the Marvel filmy Multiverse. Continuation of Thor: Ragnarök.
I must say: Thunder plays out like the Wizard of Oz, the Phantom Tollbooth and D’aulaire’s Norse myths were put in a blender by Nora Ephron and Peter Max. And it’s glorious chaos with a soft, sweet center. And while its fluff is quickly detaching from the old brain tub, it’s a movie that not only fits well as a sequel to Ragnarok, but also continues the “long strange journey” of Marvel’s Phase 4. Not too shabby for a candy-colored action movie/love story combo that turns everything to 11 and then rips off the button.
Now. The moment you’ve all been waiting for. GOATS. Toothbrush and tooth grinder (also called Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr in Norse mythology) are loud, proud and steal the show every time they are seen on the screen. I love them so much, not only because of goats, but because they draw on the original comics and the original Nordic myth. To be fair, the CGI is a bit shaky in part, mainly because these two are so incredibly frenetic that it’s impossible to take a still shot of them. And the bleating? Oh you bleat – you SCREAM. And it’s never not funny. Waititi uses T&T to her best advantage, as a comedic relief, but doesn’t let these scene thieves overstep their welcome. They are a welcome bit of fun, mixed with the bittersweet.
Okay okay; back to the movie itself. Yes, I said bittersweet; Thunder has moments when you definitely want a kleenex. Unless, you know, you’re dead inside. Thor and Jane’s romance gets a review in Montage, which made me take root for the children and understand the abrupt end of their relationship in previous films. The new Asgard has its own things that I would get into, but spoilers. Even Gorr, the God-Slayer, gets a finishmonger-like, understandable villain backstory, which is played with heartbreaking effect at the beginning of the film. So do not go into the thunder and do not expect anything but silly crap. Because, for one thing, it’s a finely balanced emotional roller coaster ride, ala David Jenkins (and Waititi’s starring role) Our Flag Means Death. And secondly, it’s definitely not crap, since the authors Taika Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson beat the balance story well, even among the chaos that the “plot” represents.
Which brings me to the one thing I could call a problem in this movie; the chaos. Donner feels a bit like episodic scenes strung together, rather than a coherent, cohesive whole. For me, that’s fine; I’m used to seeing comic book stories jumping from issue to issue, with characters jumping from plot to plot like pinballs. In fact, Waititis Korg serves as the overarching narrator of this chaotic movie, holding things together, bringing the focus back from Plot B to plot A, and generally entertaining us with Story Time With Korg. He even gets the last line*, and it’s both sweet and juicy, which is perfect for this character.
The performances are as wonderful as one would expect from this ensemble. Hemsworth continues to prove that he’s one hell of a comedic actor, both Portman and Thompson can sink their teeth into real-life issues that their characters face (and have cute on–screen BFF chemistry), and Christian Bale does crazy and heartbreaking creatures – sometimes both at the same time – at their best. I would talk about the fantastic cameos in the movie, but apart from the fact that cowardly is sitting in my neck? I actually want you to experience them beforehand without notice.
With its great use of art direction, cinematography and FX, Thunder is really a family movie. No, not because it is aimed at children. That’s because there is something for everyone here. Mature Marvel fans will love the story, drama/romance fans will enjoy the Thor+ Jane shenanigans, kids will like that there is a subplot tailored to them (which, however, is still an important part of the overall plot), film science geeks will find a lot oh and ahh about, and goat fans will love the goats. What more could you want?