Thor: Love and Thunder Movie Review

By the time the 4th movie in a franchise is released, the audience has certain expectations. Those expectations at least partially dictate how fans will react to the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder was recently released in theaters.

Since we last saw Thor (Chris Hemsworth) at the end of Avengers: Endgame, he has gotten his act together. The beer belly is gone and Thor is once more saving the day. When Gorr, the God Butcher (Christian Bale) leaves a path of destruction and dead gods in his wake, Thor goes on a mission to stop him. Joining him are Korg (voiced by director/screenwriter Taika Waititi), King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and former girlfriend Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).

This is not only one of the best movies of the year, it is one of the best comic book superhero movies of the last few years. The humor is top-notch, the action is perfect, and the chemistry/awkwardness between Thor and Jane is the emotional lynchpin of the narrative.

As Gorr, Bale is as scary and unnerving. The only villain who has created that same emotion in me is “He who shall not be named” (Ralph Fiennes) from the Harry Potter franchise. Like Erik Kilmonger (Michael B. Jordan) in Black Panther, Gorr is not just a baddie for baddie’s sake. His reasons are understandable, even if we don’t agree with his actions. The makeup on him is fantastic, he almost disappears under the prosthetics and white paint.

If I had a favorite moment in the film, it was Russell Crowe‘s scenes as Zeus. His take on this character is a bombastic, full of it God who knows that he is in control. Instead of ruling by force, he rules by charisma and charm.

If that was not enough to make me happy, the soundtrack includes a number of Guns N’ Roses songs. I couldn’t help but sing along.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Thor: Love and Thunder is presently in theaters.

Wake Up Thor GIF by Regal - Find & Share on GIPHY

P.S. There are two post-credit scenes. Trust me when I say that it is worth staying for both.

Lightyear Movie Review

Every narrative and IP has its limits. Though a movie studio may want to test its limit, the audience may feel differently.

The new Disney/Pixar movie, Lightyear, is an origin story/prequel within the Toy Story franchise. After being stranded for years on a mysterious planet, Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans, taking over from Tim Allen) is looking for a way to return home. His friend and co-pilot, Alicia Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), tries to be supportive while also being realistic.

As Buzz continues in his efforts to get his crew home, time moves on. When he finally achieves his goal, he discovers that it has been sixty years since his first attempt. An army of robots led by Zurg (James Brolin) is doing everything they can to steal his power source. Leading a small band of misfits that includes Alicia’s granddaughter Izzy (Keke Palmer), Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi), Darby Steel (Dale Soules), and the animatronic cat Sox (Peter Sohn), they must save the day and stop Zurg.

I have mixed feelings about this film. As a standalone narrative, it’s not bad. I appreciate the diversity and representation of the characters. But I also feel like Disney and Pixar are perhaps becoming a little too reliant on a known quantity instead of trying out something new. The lessons within the story are universal and ageless, but that does not take away from the fact that this is the fifth time that we have seen Buzz on the big screen.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

Lightyear is presently in theaters.

Toy Story Pixar GIF by Disney - Find & Share on GIPHY

Free Guy Movie Review

When we talk about making change, the first step is to move out of our comfort zone. But what happens when we don’t even know that the zone exists?

The protagonist in the new movie Free Guy, Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is an NPC (non player character) in a video game. Unaware that he is a background character, he repeats his day over and over again. When he is not working at the local bank, Guy spends his free time with his best friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery).

Everything he knows turns upside when he sees his dream woman, Millie (Jodie Comer). Breaking his everyday routine, he follows her. This tiny act of change starts Guy on a path of revelations that changes everything. What he does not know is that in the real world, Millie is suing Antwan (writer/director/actor Taika Waititi) for copyright infringement. But her co-creator, Keys (Joe Keery), is not onboard with the lawsuit.

This movie is so much fun. It is also one of the most unique narratives that has been seen on the big screen in a long time. The action is fun and heart pounding, the comedy is pitch perfect, and the satire of these type of games works for all audiences. I am not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, but I got the jokes.

The acting kudos goes to the lead actors. Guy’s optimism and innocence is a nice contrast to Millie’s skepticism and darker view of their mutual experiences. It is a lovely ying and yang relationship that keeps both the characters and the viewer on their toes.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Free Guy is currently in theaters.

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