Thursday, June 20, 2024

Writer, director and cheeky onscreen presence Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit,” “What We Do in the Shadows”), who helped make “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017) one of the more merry and enjoyable Marvel chapters (“Guardians of the Galaxy” is in that convo too) returns to helm this next chapter to lesser effect. Our catalyst for hammer-wielding antics is Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), introduced as a sympathetic, once-faithful follower who beseeches his god for help. Happenstance and a cursed sword (think the ring from “Lord of the Rings”) sets Gorr on a quest for revenge and divine genocide of his once-beloved idols. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), one of many Asgardians in Gorr’s path and focused on saving his kin, gets sidetracked some by a chance reunion with old flame, Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), now empowered and reminted as “The Mighty Thor.” The sumptuous visual palette alternates from godly vibrance to the doomed and drained, practically black-and-white framings of Gorr. Nods to “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” (1985) and the Muppets add comic touches. In a deft twist on class war – the gods bleed gold – Thor must confront his privilege and make amends for other gods’ failures to keep promises.