Thor: Love And Thunder amps up the action and comedy even more so than its predecessor has Thor crossing paths with Zeus, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and even his big love interest. This is the most heartfelt single Thor film and definitely its craziest. The 4K image with HDR looks pristine and the Dolby Atmos mix sounds wonderful. The extras are short but worth the time. Recommended!
Those first two Thor movies felt very Shakespearean in tone. The movies took themselves seriously without fully using the great comedic chops of Chris Hemsworth. There was some decent action and a ton of great Asgardian world-building, but the sense of fun was missing, especially from the sequel that is usually at the bottom of everyone's MCU ranking. When Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows, Jojo Rabbit) came aboard, he added his own unique comedy style and more or less, rebooted Thor into this adventurous, funny, lovable guy who is still trying to find himself. With the quirky characters from Thor: Ragnarok, taking their cues from the amazing characters of Guardians of the Galaxy, audiences gravitated more towards those funny and energetic personas, thus the new Thor from Ragnarok was born.
Leaping off that amazing movie and taking place a little while after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy have been having grand adventures together, saving planets and creatures from a variety of villains. Thor has found his new persona and leaned heavily into his new Thor-ness, making sure all of his Guardian friends and people he saves feel worthy and a part of it. He's even found new ways to become one with nature and himself along with traveling on Storm-Breaker, who now has a bigger role in this movie. But below all this happiness and humor is a very lonely Asgardian who is yearning for love again. That one true love he had in Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) all those years ago is still on his mind as he hopes to find someone with that strong connection again.
Thor: Love and Thunder deliver its comedic tone within the first scene where Thor and the Guardians are saving a race of creatures from total annihilation. The back and forth banter between Thor and the Guardians is as fantastic as they ever were and it seems like the power dynamic between Quill and Thor has settled. Instead of the rock n' roll selections of Led Zeppelin, this time around it's all about Guns N' Roses, which just illuminates the visuals with each top-of-the-charts hit. It's at the end of this first scene where Thor's soft underbelly of loneliness is exposed which sets him on a path with Gorr (Christian Bale), a simple man who is scarred and let down by his God in a tragedy.
Gorr then becomes the God Butcher of vengeance and vows to kill every God in the universe, a skill he is mighty good at. This allows Thor and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to search the universe for Gorr's next victim, which is where he crosses paths with Jane (Portman), who now wields Thor's original hammer - Mjolnir. This trio must now find Gorr immediately before he can destroy every single God - including Thor himself.
It's a simple enough plot line, but the real tenderness comes with Thor and Jane's relationship as they confront their past and their future together that bringing both love, loss, and new beginnings that will add yet more amazing layers to this Thor character who has quickly become the most seasoned character in the MCU. Out of all the Marvel heroes, Thor has grown the most and he continues to find more ways to better himself. Thor: Love And Thunder is the vehicle for a new brand of Thor to come in future movies and it's such a joy to watch unfold on-screen.
Hemsworth brings even more nuance and detail to this finely tuned character of Thor as he is still pitch-perfect in his comedy, action choreography, and romance. But it's with the smaller more intense moments with Portman where these new emotions pour from and it's simply exquisite. Portman as Jane once again and now as a superhero is absolutely amazing. Her cross between the human side of Jane and a God is lovely and powerful. Tessa owns the screen every time she's on as well. Bale, once again fully immerses himself into Gorr and now ranks as one of the MCU's best villains. There's a reason for his brutality and his original sentimental side shows up often that doesn't make him a one-note baddie.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Thor: Love And Thunder hammers its way to 4K + Blu-ray + Digital Code via Disney. The discs are housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork is a colorful image of the main cast of the film in the usual MCU pose. There are a few inserts for a digital code and other Disney promos.
Thor: Love And Thunder come with an excellent 2160p UHD 4K transfer with HDR that brings this unique visual style to life. Ever since Taika Waititi took over the Thor franchise, the color palette had gone from a neutral and serious tone to a wild, zany, and rainbow-filled world of color.
The color palette has been enhanced since its last film with bolder and richer reds, blues, greens, and even purples and golds tend to stick out a bit more. The HDR upgrades those vibrant colors in the costumes, supernatural effects, and even the many colors inside Zeus's realm. The shades of gold and yellow with the wardrobe and electricity look amazing here and are definitely an uptick from the 1080p version. That first sequences with the Guardians bring a ton of pastels on an alien planet that brightens up the screen with fun. Black levels in lower-lit sequences, especially towards the end look incredible without any bleeding or murky shadows. Those black levels are rich and inky and reveal more details in the background and in props. The skin tones are natural and the white balance, specifically with Bale's character looks amazing.
The detail is sharp, vivid, and wonderful to look at it. Closeups reveal practical effects nicely, along with individual hairs, makeup applications, wrinkles, and textures in the clothing. Wider shots never look soft or pixelated, even when there is a ton of debris or smoke. The CGI effects are always natural-looking, even with the hair on those duo goats where their hair is always going in the direction of the wind. There are no big issues with this image from Disney, other than some tiny moments of noise.
This release comes with a very good Dolby Atmos track, which is an upgrade from the Blu-ray's DTS-HD 7.1 mix. There is a bigger lower end of bass with the Dolby Atmos track and the sound effects flow a little better. In that first action-packed sequence with the Guardians, there are tons of vehicles and spaceships flying overhead, guns blasting, explosions, and Thor's electricity hitting its opponents. All these sounds have a well-balanced and nuanced sound quality that feels realistic and loud. Each noise transitions from one speaker to the next with ease.
The quieter moments in large spaces or rooms have the necessary reverb and echo with that intimate immersion. Height speakers bring those ambient noises of people talking and screaming from the balconies inside Zeus's realm, and the big action scenes always bring down the supernatural elements from above in a large way. The score and music cues are fantastic that always add to the fun tone of the film and the dialogue is always clean, clear, and easy to follow along with. Like most Disney audio tracks, adjusting the volume a little higher here will get the track to where it needs to be. There are no issues with audio problems here.
There are only about 30 minutes of bonus materials included here plus an audio commentary track. EPK-style interviews and behind-the-scenes that are well-produced are included.
Thor: Love And Thunder is a fantastically funny and wonderful adventure full of heart and soul. Like Ragnarok, this film expands Thor's character traits and examines the many facets of his personality that the first two films didn't show. The 4K presentation with HDR looks exquisite and the Dolby Atmos track sounds great. The bonus features are lacking, but interesting enough to pick through nonetheless. Recommended!