This was probably the only Marvel thing I was excited about this year.

Most of you who follow this blog know that my relationship with Marvel kind of fizzled out after the Infinity Saga. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Marvel, we just… drifted apart. We didn’t grow together. They seemed fixed on doing things the same old way, and frankly, the relationship just became stale. So it was time for me to move on.

But when you get Taika Waititi involved, that creates a different story. The guy is a homie. He makes movies that are fun, absurd, but have a ton of heart. That is my flavor of storytelling and I want to be his friend. Thor: Love and Thunder delivered on all fronts. Here’s the breakdown.

The Good

You know it’s going to be funny, and it is. Expect Thor: Ragnarok version 2.0. The jokes are ridiculous. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously but takes itself seriously enough to have emotional moments. The actors deliver the parts satisfactorily as usual, but Christian Bale shines. Gorr isn’t one of the best Marvel villains—his motive is simple enough and the audience can sympathize—but Christian Bale’s delivery was one of the best in the MCU.

And this isn’t just a story about good-guys-beating-bad-guys. It’s a story about coming to terms with heartbreak and gaining closure. The way that Taika and the writers orchestrated this—like portraying Stormbreaker as Thor’s new “relationship”—led to some funny and clever moments. The ending might leave you with a lump in your throat, too.

The Bad

There are some scenes where the visual effects weren’t baked all the way, especially during a black-and-white scene in the middle of space. They probably should have taken a little longer on that one. There are also some cheesy parts that’ll make you fold your arms, lean back, and say “oh, come on,” but honestly, they don’t detract from the experience as a whole. You just need to remember that this is a Taika film and that it’s meant to be silly.

The Verdict

Thor: Love and Thunder is a hoot with a heaping handful of heart. Is it the best work Taika and the gang have ever done? No. And it won’t burst onto the scene and make a splash like Ragnarok did, but it’s an entertaining use of two hours. Watch it with some friends and you probably won’t be disappointed.

Overall score: 8/10

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