Hey, it’s me again. I originally set out wanting the hateful Doctor Strange trailer review to be a one-and-done sort of thing. Being petty online about a massively popular media franchise is bound to get old, right? In a “does this guy get off on being a contrarian?!” kind of way. To preemptively put the record straight—no, I don’t tear apart pieces of media just because they’re popular. I love many things that happen to be popular, but I love them because I find something exceptional in the way they affect me. Whether or not something is popular or mainstream does not disqualify it from my tastes. Though, neither does popularity disqualify media from my ire.
Several days ago, the first teaser trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder was released on YouTube. This will be the fourth mainline Thor film, following Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the titular character’s last appearance in Marvel’s saga-finale-epic Avengers: Endgame (2019). Like Ragnarok, this movie is directed by Taika Waititi, who seems to have been granted creative ownership over the mainline Thor films, which is hardly surprising—Ragnarok was acclaimed by fans and critics alike, holding a prestigious 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall score of 7.9/10 on IMDb. Audiences loved what Taika brought to Thor’s character, so it makes sense why Disney and Marvel Studios would want him to keep a good thing going, so-to-speak.
I, however, would fall into that measly 7% of Rotten Tomatoes reviewers who would not be giving that film a stamp of approval. In a word, Thor: Ragnarok was trite. But let’s check out this new trailer, yeah?
Thor has something to tell us when the teaser trailer opens: “These hands were once used for battle, now they’re but humble tools for peace.” He plants his tree-branch war ax into the ground and is seen meditating on a mountaintop.
“I need to figure out exactly who I am,” he says as he dramatically wakes up from his meditation. So… I guess that soul-searching he did in Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame wasn’t good enough? Okay. Thor is having an identity crisis—again. I’m not saying that character development always needs to be a straight line of progression, but this trajectory feels more like a wobbly oval scratched onto the wall by a toddler.
After a Rocky-esque training clip (because I guess Thor isn’t allowed to be fat or chubby anymore), he dramatically discards a cloak in the middle of a battlefield, revealing his hot new bod for all to see. “I want to choose my own path. Live in the moment,” Thor tells us as we see an exasperated Starlord (Chr*s Pr*tt) who is very much sick of Thor’s shit. Also, the cloak he discards blows right into the face of an alien bystander, because of course it does. Haha.
Next he tells us his “superhero-ing” days are over, as he appears to happily play hooky with his buddy Korg (a rock-alien-man he met in Ragnarok) while (presumably?) the Guardians of the Galaxy blast off to another mission. Why does Korg look like he was just kicked out of a Wonder Woman cosplay contest? Is this warrior-god chic? Has he just been cast as Gal Gadot’s replacement? The possibilities are endless.
Oh, by the way, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” has been playing in the background of this teaser, but it’s around here that the song really bursts out at you. We’re shown some shots of alien locales (so, a green screen) which almost confirms this will be a planet-hopping romp, something the Guardians of the Galaxy are wont to do. I said it before in the Doctor Strange trailer review, but I’ll say it again: the majority of CGI artists in Hollywood are underpaid and non-union. Films that rely on this much digital artwork to even look passable are built on the backs of workers whose needs are second-fiddle to profit. Anyways—
Thor kisses a blue-haired swashbuckling lady on a pirate ship, dressed like Fabio on the high seas. Midlife crisis behavior.
We’re shown a montage of Thor and Korg doing stuff together, with some sparkly magic stuff happening and Greek-toga-clad dudes chanting sprinkled in for good measure. One “thing” of note is this above shot of the two pals standing before a dead ice-beast. It was pointed out on Twitter, but this shot is a near-exact recreation of this artwork from a Thor comic (drawn by Esad Ribic). I bring this up only because Ribic will likely not receive any royalties for his artwork being copy-pasted into a major motion-picture. This is so whimsical! I love the film industry!
Starlord asks Thor if he’s ever “felt lost” in a V.O. as we see Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) bored out of her goddamn mind managing New Asgard. Thor graciously dumped this role onto her in Endgame, and lo and behold it seems like she really did mean it when she said she didn’t want to run this little coast town of alien vikings.
I’m sensing a theme of ennui here—being completely disinterested with the role you were placed into, and feeling like life is passing you by. I like the idea of this storyline, but (I’m about to sound like the gas escaping from the dead horse I’m beating) we’ve seen this before. Half of the Avengers have suffered from acute boredom already. Can you not think of anything better for these people to experience besides boredom???
According to Starlord, the cure for feeling “lost” is to “look into the eyes of the people you love,” he says as he gazes over at his Guardians crewmates; until Thor pokes his head into view. Staring into Starlord’s eyes. Haha. This is so funny. Is Thor gay??????????? Wow!!! I find that concept so hilarious, Marvel. Thank you.
If anything, I hope this stupid moment at least made Chr*s Pr*tt so uncomfortable he needed to take four days off to pray and recover.
Then at the very end, we get the biggest moment of them all. The tease that defines the teaser. The “holy crap!” thing that gets your trailer trending on Twitter for a day or two: Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is seen wielding Thor’s hammer (interestingly in one piece now) and effectively taking on the role of Thor herself. She’s decked out in a slightly modified version of Thor’s classic look too, and is sporting some lovely red-blonde locks underneath the warrior’s helm.
As much as I truly loathe these movies, I’m glad that Natalie Portman has been given an action role. She’s a really versatile actor and has been hankering for more work that doesn’t type-cast her as a “strong” female love-interest—something that Star Wars and the other Thor films forced onto her respective characters in each franchise.
But I am not looking forward to how insufferable Marvel’s marketing team is going to be about this. Remember that “girl power” sequence in Avengers: Endgame, where they had most of the female characters play a long game of hot-potato with the Infinity Gauntlet? And do you, dear reader, also remember how each of those women were beaten down by Thanos shortly after? And how Disney and Marvel were so proud of themselves for this, despite doing absolutely nothing to treat these female characters with dignity and nuance? Yeah, they’re going to do the same thing again, aren’t they?
I’m also really not looking forward to the inevitable “Haha you were replaced by a girl!” jokes that the other characters are going to say to (Chris Hemsworth’s) Thor. Nothing says feminism better than treating capable women like they’re covert threats to masculinity. Haha.
My final thoughts on this teaser trailer: What We Do In The Shadows season four could have been finished already if Taika Waititi wasn’t wasting his time on this instead.
And why is Chr*s Pr*tt still employed?
It’ll be released on July 6th of this year.