With a revamped hero, gorgeous set pieces, a compelling villain, and an emotional story, Taika Waititi's fourth entry in the Thor franchise shows lady luck isn't done with him.
The internet has been buzzing since the first teaser trailer and the movie couldn't come any sooner with the subsequent teases and character reveals.
While it does provide the anticipated entertainment value, Thor: Love and Thunder basically employs the same techniques as its predecessor; endless humour, swashbuckling action, powerful visuals, and a crazed antagonist.
The above combination works for the most part but the well-written plot has some unanswered questions that even a wacky genius like Taika Waititi can't hide.
Now, the story: our Asgardian superhero and the Guardians of the Galaxy have bonded well as they travel the galaxy.
It's a vacation that is cut short when Thor gets a distress call from an old friend.
Following the trail of dead bodies, the protagonist reunites with his former girlfriend, Jane Foster (now the Mighty Thor) and meets the fearsome Gorr (Christian Bale), who is hellbent on destroying all the gods.
Conflicted like never before, Thor must battle to keep his pent-up feelings in check if he hopes to defeat a villain who is as formidable as he is ruthless and cunning.
I believe that no other actor could have embodied the character of Thor Odinson like Chris Hemsworth.
Yet again, he makes you cheer for him as he has never been so vulnerable, so lovable, and so powerful.
The lead star bulks up like never before and the end result is worth all the hard work; bulging biceps, enormous triceps, and an insanely god-like physique (watch out for that infamous strip scene with Zeus).
But beyond the masculinity and muscularity, Hemsworth plays a well-layered hero whose journey is filled with all of life's ups and downs. In the end, he is shaped by the good and the bad.
Actress Tessa Thompson and director Taika Waititi return as Thor's trusted allies Valkyrie and Korg.
While the former is underutilised in my opinion, the latter is just there to make jokes and chronicle the story.
One of the best things about this film is Natalie Portman's Jane Foster/Mighty Thor.
She easily blows away whatever doubts I had about being an ass-whooping sidekick and even steals the show in the final confrontation.
Evolving from the annoying damsel in distress character in the first and second parts, she goes beyond lending a helping hand to the hero and proves to be the deciding factor in the epic battle for survival.
As the villainous Gorr, Christian Bale is all shades of frightening intensity. Here is an individual whose backstory led him to his current path.
For him, obliterating Thor and his friends is more than just an obligation; it is an obsession and when the reason for that obsession is unveiled, it makes the antagonist more than just your average bad guy.
They say a hero is only as good as his villain. Well, that proves to be true here and answered one question I asked myself when Gorr was unveiled in the trailers.
The question was; what chances did Gorr, a dude with just an ancient sword, stand against Thor and his formidable allies?
The first fight with the heroes made me see the villain in an entirely new light.
Russell Crowe's portrayal of the mythical Zeus proves to be a welcome surprise as it wasn't at all what I expected.
That scene with Thor and the others is one heck of a ride and I felt like rewinding some parts.
The plot is well-written but some things just didn't add up about Jane's newfound abilities.
Those familiar with the comics know how her powers came to be but still, I couldn't help but wonder, why her?
I mean, there must be countless other worthy females out there, right?
Added to the story are the themes of love, loss, redemption and sacrifice; a fine blend to go with the splash of humour in almost every scene.
Marvel movies have always stood out when it comes to visuals.
With Thor: Love and Thunder, we get to see some of the most gorgeous set pieces yet in the MCU (again, watch out for that scene with Zeus and the other gods).
Action-wise, I found the opening first fight scene with Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy very disappointing.
Fortunately, that improves with the subsequent battles and by the time the last act begins, the fight sequences couldn't get any better.
As expected, the special effects are great and the cinematography is breathtakingly amazing.
The score is also outstanding and that damn song from the trailer just makes you want to hum it endlessly after seeing the film.
Those who loved Ragnarok will definitely enjoy this one.
I for one laughed most of the time and easily forgot whatever shortcomings Love and Thunder has.
Taika Waititi, while I don't exactly approve of you making Thor a comedian, you have given fans of the MCU another reason to believe in that ingeniously twisted mind of yours.