The latest “Thor” film isn’t the best “Thor” film. Parts of it are unfocused and it doesn’t always succeed at balancing humor, internal character growth, and the kind of large-scale superhero antics audiences expect from a Marvel movie. Yet the parts that work best are the parts that audiences wouldn’t expect. For all the Disney-owned franchise’s talk of family entertainment, few Marvel movies have ever actually been about kids, or chosen to give kid characters the power to overcome big challenges. This one does.
When Gorr captures the children of New Asgard, they fight back — led by Heimdall’s son, Axl (Keiron L. Dyer). Early in the film, Thor heads to Omnipotence City to try to appeal to Zeus (Russell Crowe) and the gods for help. But, much like plenty of real world leaders, Zeus doesn’t seem to care about anything beyond his own popularity. In the end, the solution comes when Thor shares his own power with a new generation of would-be warriors, (temporarily) empowering the kiddos to take on Gorr’s monsters and save the day themselves.
In the end, “Thor: Love and Thunder” is less interested in superheroes falling in love, and more interested in people with power making sure the kids in their communities are equipped to face all the garbage this world will one day throw at them. It’s a bold idea for a Marvel movie, and while it’s not executed perfectly, there’s a whole lot of heart to this premise that I can’t help but admire.