We’re back in the MCU again and this time no multiverse nonsense, which is nice. We don’t have to expect cameos from other variations of the franchise or anything. BUT that’s because the franchise is messy enough at the moment. The last time we saw Thor he was off with the Asgaardians of the Galaxy…
…and that’s where we join him. On another classic Thor adventure. In my opinion we’ve descended into too much self-parody; Thor isn’t a superhero we can adore and worship – he literally turns up, steals the thunder from the Guardians and then proceeds to wreck the place as he kicks the ass of some awesome looking bad guys. It reminds me of the scene in Ghostbusters when they went, saw and kicked Slimers ass – absolutely no care for the collateral expense. Now, if played for comedy value then okay, I understand…but what if you were the head of the people who’s entire city is rendered a pile of shattered glass simply because Thor wanted to make a spectacle of his victory.
The plot then: Gorr has a daughter, whom he loses to the desert in a rather harrowing scene, as he pledges faith to the Sun God via a pilgrimmage. Unfortunately, upon meeting the God, it turns out he’s an arrogant sod and cares not for his followers. Embracing a scary looking weapon called the Necrosword, Gorr slays the sun god and pledges himself to a dark cause; to rid the universe of Gods.
Of course, with Asgaardians being Gods, things start heating up for Thor as he then is called upon by Sith (yep, same actress) to help battle this God-Butcher. And so he has to return to New Asgaard on Earth, as Tessa Thompson (established in Ragnarock) needs help. Except she already has help… for Jane Foster is back, and has Mjolnir.
Thus beguns a romantic comedy. Doesn Thor still love Jane? Does Jane still love Thor? Does Thor still love Mjolnir? Where does that leave Stormbreaker? Can we all just be friends and stop the God-Butcher before he reaches “Eternity”, where his one wish will be granted? (presumably to rid the universe of Gods?)
DO NOT GET ME WRONG: the film is thoroughly entertaining in the way only Marvel can be. It draws the right line between true drama and utter silliness; its provides us with genuinely ridiculous concepts – the God Palace of Omnipotent City, the Rainbow-riding skyboat pulled by Goats – but you consume it all with nay a nod to sense because all the actors are so believable.
Chris H is obviously so comfortable in the role and loving every second of it. It was nice to see Natalie Portman back, certainly, and Tessa Thompson was amazing. But it was Christian Bale, throwing aside that stereotype of arseholiness to be both genuinely creepy and insane comic book villain. Russel Crowe’s cameo is both unforgettable and outrageous, as he proudly displays comedic timing and a sense of humour that would surprise you. Plus he retains his now trademark choice of awful accents. I’m looking forwards to the inevitable Russian submarine movie where he plays a Scotsman. Or something equally masterclass.
The films major success however falls to two things – 1) the use of the kids in the plot. They are central. Giving each and every one of the poor wee tots the power of Thor for the finale is a stroke of genius. All the kids watching are going to go home, immediately pick up something in their house and run off screaming, imaginary lightening streaming from their eyes and them embracing every moment of their wonderful childhood.
2) Stormbreaker. Steals every scene its in with more character presence / comedy timing / dramatic stares than the entire cast of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. You’ll think i’m mad reading this, but wait till you see the movie.
But its imperfect. Annoyingly so. The wackiness is so at odds with some of the more dramatic moments that you’re brought out of the flow; Jane is given amazing powers and yet those powers are killing her. Oh – we said something serious, quick, have the rock man say something funny to counter it. And if you didn’t think screaming goats are funny ten years ago then you’re going to have a whale of a time here.
Its an enjoyable dance of jokes and silliness, but it falls far from classic marvel. Its certainly nowhere near as good as its predecessor. It does however, standalone. It doesn’t set things up for a sequel until the traditional mid-credits scene, and even then we’re not sure whats being said. No hints as to what might happen in the future – in fact… I don’t even know what the next Marvel film is? Is there another one this year?