After the success of Thor: Ragnarok and breathing new life into the God of Thunder, director Taika Waititi is back with Thor: Love and Thunder where we witness Thor's post-Endgame adventure that involves screaming goats, a god butcher, and an encounter with his ex Jane Foster, who is now wielding his ex-weapon. Is the newest entry in the MCU actually worth watching?
Is Thor: Love and Thunder Worth Watching?
Since 2011, we've seen Thor evolve throughout the MCU in multiple films from a spoiled-brat prince of Asgard to a hero that experienced a lot of tragedy that ultimately led him to depression by the events of Avengers: Endgame, where we last saw him prior to this film. As a result, at the start of Love and Thunder, Thor is on a clean slate with his new group of family (Guardians of the Galaxy) and friends (Korg and Valkyrie) and he is on a journey of self-discovery as he finds his purpose now that he is adjusting in his new life.
However, his new journey was interrupted by the emergence of Gorr, who vows to kill all the gods of the universe after obtaining a Necrosword and is motivated by a tragedy in his personal life. There's also his ex Jane Foster, who is now back on the scene and wielding his old Mjolnir while also facing stage 4 cancer. As a result, Thor has to save the galaxy once again together with his friends and his ex-turned-Mighty Thor.
What I appreciate the most about this film is how tight and well-paced it is. During the first act, they were able to introduce Gorr and his transformation into a villain, the re-introduction of Jane Foster and how she becomes the Mighty Thor, Thor's position in the universe, and flashbacks of how Thor and Jane broke up, which was only mentioned in passing before.
Waititi wasted no time when it comes to the exposition and he avoided being too self-indulgent with all the scenes that he shot. We do know at this point that there were a lot of cut scenes in this film including the appearances of two established MCU characters. I do think that he made the right decision of cutting those scenes because, with the kind of story that he ended up telling, they could have been out of place and unnecessary which would result in muddled pacing.
If you love the humor that Waititi brought in Ragnarok, you might appreciate this film more as he doubled it down here even further. While some of the jokes might be silly at times, they all landed and some of them are legitimately funny. There's also a recurring joke involving the screaming goats that we all saw in the trailers. It could have worn out after a few times, but it never did and I laughed every single time that it happens.
Even though there was a lot of humor in this film, Waititi still balanced it with dark, emotional, and serious moments and gave pathos to the story. After all, with a villain that kills gods around the universe, it is inevitable that it wouldn't just be all fun and games. At some point, the characters faced danger in their adventure and you can feel the stakes of what they're facing in their mission in addition to the personal obstacles that they're having as well.
In terms of the performances, everyone was able to shine. Chris Hemsworth was charming and hilarious again as Thor and continues to give more depth to his character. Tessa Thompson still has a badass presence as King Valkyrie. Russell Crowe stole the scenes that he appeared in and he managed to deliver a funny yet intimidating performance as Zeus.
However, the MVPs of the film are Natalie Portman and Christian Bale. Portman returned as Jane Foster with ease and, after being underutilized in the first two Thor films, she finally had moments to shine and gave a kickass performance whenever she was in her Mighty Thor persona. As for Bale, he was fantastic and menacing in the role of Gorr. He gave a lot of depth to the character and, despite his villainous presence, you still sympathize with him and understood his motivations which makes him one of the best MCU villains.
The film also has one of the most visually stunning sequences in the MCU to date with the scene that involves our favorite heroes in the Shadow Realm (the black-and-white part that we saw in the trailers). It even gets better once you see the entire picture. They also gave a better showcase to Thor and Jane's relationship, which is something that the first two solo films didn't do and they managed to turn it to almost the level of Tony Stark/Pepper Potts and Peter Parker/MJ.
Regarding the post-credits scenes, both of them were fantastic as well. Without spoiling what happened, the first one is similar to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Eternals as it involves the jaw-dropping introduction of a surprise new character that may have a bigger role in the future. Meanwhile, the second one is also satisfying and something that you shouldn't skip as I contend that it is an important part of the overall story as well.
Overall, Thor: Love and Thunder is another wonderful entry into the MCU and it delivered the fun and entertainment that you may be looking for. Is it as great as Ragnarok? Personally, I don't think so. However, I would say that it doesn't need to match it since they took a different direction and Waititi delivered what he needed to deliver based on what he intended to do with this film in the first place.
To answer the question, yes, the film is worth watching and you will have a good time.