‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ forces Natalie Portman to play across yet another terrible romantic line from a leading man in a sci-fi movie

We catch up with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy sometime after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”

In that time, Thor has gotten back into shape, fought beside the Guardians in uncounted battles, and, apparently, suffered brain damage.

The Thor we meet at the beginning of “Love and Thunder” is an idiot.

He stumbles between ponce nonsense and slack-jawed stammering. He’s practically incompetent.

It feels like this movie was written by people who hate Thor and want everyone else to hate him, too.

They provide scene after scene that makes him behave like a fool in gags that aren’t worthy of a sitcom.

Included in the festival of hardy guffaws are relationship issues between Thor and his ax, Stormbreaker, once his ex-weapon, Mjolnir, shows up; giant screaming goats; Thor stripped naked by Zeus, and Korg (Taika Waititi), a man made of rocks, being reduced to a talking face.

Thankfully, there’s Natalie Portman, who returns as Dr. Jane Foster. She’s saving the world for science. We know this because she mentions it several times.

Maybe if she says “changing the world with science” three times, physics classrooms will fill with bright-eyed girls who are ready to study the dust patterns around Wolf-Rayet stars.

Oh, and Jane Foster is also a Thor.

How? It’s all told through some silly rom-com exposition, but it’s more of a moratorium on how Disney works.

Disney notes a disparity between the number of white men starring as movie superheroes vs. women and people of color in lead roles in comic book movies.

Instead of creating new characters that are women and people of color, they just remake existing characters as women and people of color.

So, Thor is both Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman.

If you don’t like that or think it’s dumb, you’re sexist.

(Yes, I know there was a Jane Foster version of Thor in comics. That was far better told by writer Jason Aaron, with greater meaning and gravitas than anything mustered by this film.)

By the way, don’t mention to Jane Foster’s Thor that she’s female. She’s touchy about it.

Christian Bale’s Gorr called her “Lady Thor.” She beat him up while reading from her resume.

All the identity politics could be tolerated if the story was worth the effort.

It’s not.

The movie wastes Bale as Gorr, a character betrayed by his god, which lets his daughter die, and then seeks revenge on all gods with a special sword that slaughters gods.

Are they gods? I thought the lore was they were just super powered-people from space.

Whatever. Consistency and continuity are for greater movies.

Portman, too, is wasted because the moment her character is introduced, anyone who has ever seen a movie before knows her fate.

I feel for Portman the most in this movie. She’s a talented actor and yet again she is subjected to some of the worst written sci-fi love scene dialogue a person could imagine.

Twenty years ago, Hayden Christensen, playing Anakin Skywalker, babbled to Portman’s Padme Amidala about sand getting everywhere in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.”

Now, in 2022, Portman had to stand face-to-face with Hemsworth as he uttered, “Jane, I want you to make me feel like shit.”

I’m not making that up. The line is a call back to something said earlier in the film, but it’s played for laughs in a scene before the two Thors kiss.

Portman now has the distinction of being wooed by two of the worst lines in the history of film.

The problems with “Love and Thunder” run well beyond the terrible writing. The visual effects get in on the awfulness, too.

There are multiple battles in almost near blackness.

Dear Hollywood, Stop having climactic fight scenes in the dark.

If your CGI isn’t good enough to make the magic happen, find a way to shoot the scene where the moviegoer can see what’s happening.

Bottom line: I hated this movie.

I’ve never left a Marvel movie and felt that way before.

I didn’t like “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.”

But I hated this movie.

I didn’t even hate “Thor: The Dark World.” I just thought it was dull.

The same went for the forgettable “Black Widow,” “The Eternals,” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings.”

“Love and Thunder” is unequivocally the worst Marvel movie I’ve ever seen.

It was so bad, that I’m hesitant to see the next Marvel movie or try any more of the TV series.

The decade of movies that led up to “Avengers: Endgame” may be all we can hope for from these characters.

Except for the masterpiece “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” Marvel is on a serious downturn.

Maybe it’s time to take a break.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
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1 Comment

  1. Nancy Gilchrist says:

    I just saw this movie and I couldn’t agree more. I didn’t know what to expect but this was just bad. I collected comics as a kid and I think even Stan Lee would say this is a stinker.

    Liked by 1 person

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