Marvel goes full metal: 'Thor: Love and Thunder' review

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
Marvel goes full metal: 'Thor: Love and Thunder' review
Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel's "Thor: Love and Thunder"
Marvel Studios

TAGAYTAY, Philippines — Everyone's favorite Norse god embarks on a journey of self-discovery as Chris Hemsworth once again picks up the mantle of Thor in Marvel's latest outing, "Thor: Love and Thunder," the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

"Love and Thunder" picks up after the events of "Avengers: Endgame" where Thor gets back into shape and goes on heroic adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy but is never truly satisfied with each eventual victory.

Things take a huge turn when Christian Bale's Gorr the God Butcher makes a solemn vow to slay all gods, prompting Thor to team up with Korg, Valkyrie, and his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster — who now wields the hammer Mjolnir and is a Thor herself — to prevent the end of all deities like him.

First and foremost, a round of applause must be given to director Taika Waititi for saving the "Thor" films. The first two movies were admittedly sub-par given the calibre the MCU now has, making his first contribution "Thor: Ragnarok" a fresh breathe of air this part of the franchise sorely needed.

Any faults or successes of "Love and Thunder" will all be in comparison to "Ragnarok" because of how it literally flipped the script for Thor's story; that is to say, "Love and Thunder" stands in the shadow of its predecessor.

But that is not to say "Love and Thunder" does not have merits; thankfully, Waititi stuck to showing Thor's comedic side while also presenting the kind of versatile filmmaker he is by mixing the genre with subtle horror and romance, not to mention a killer soundtrack filled with Guns N' Roses needledrops.

Related: 'Thor: Love and Thunder': 8 trivia to know before heading to the cinema

A key theme to the whole "Thor" franchise is worthiness, and in this particular film, no one embodies both love and thunder more than Natalie Portman's Foster, returning for the first time since "Thor: Dark World" (archival footage of Portman was used for "Endgame").

Pulling straight from the comics, Foster is suffering from cancer and becoming Thor allows her temporary respite, but each transformation comes at a cost. Portman demonstrates in her portrayal why she deserves her place in the MCU.

Also demonstrating their acting prowess is Bale as the villain Gorr, who teeters between terror and emotion. Each moment where he gets to be a mixture of his Ken Miles character from "Ford v Ferrari" and Voldemort from "Harry Potter," Bale milks every moment to hair-raising perfection.

But it is during the quiet moments that Bale shines the most, whether with his daughter or as a figure hidden in the shadows to scare children; these are the moments that the MCU must continue in order to show the complexity of its villains.

Several set-pieces of "Love and Thunder' are both a rise and fall. The Shadow Realm, for example, is a great use of color and the lack of it but often is literally too dark to see, while the Omnipotent City is production design at its grandest but mostly serves to set up the MCU's future.

If anything, Waititi and company deserve a lot of credit for reviving interest in Thor, who definitely deserved more in the grand story of th MCU. "Love and Thunder" is full of laughter and love, and is a reminder of the fresh breath we all need sometimes.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" is out in cinemas nationwide.

RELATED: Jomike Tejido launches Norse-themed art exhibit in time for new 'Thor' movie

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