On its way to becoming the biggest franchise in the history of Hollywood, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has set a consistently high bar with its productions. While the studio's decades-long string of critical hits is loved by millions, the film output from the outfit has gotten increasingly divisive as it progresses into "Phase Four" and beyond. Case in point, Marvel's latest release—Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder—is just the fifth MCU film to not receive Rotten Tomatoes' coveted "Certified Fresh" badge, signaling a fair share of critics didn't care of the film.
When it comes to the future of the Thor franchise, the audience response is neither here nor there, however. No, the film itself told us that a Thor 5 wasn't required for any future storytelling. Thor Odinson's (Chris Hemsworth) story arc has come full circle and is closed.
Think back to Kenneth Branagh's introductory Thor in 2011. The film largely dealt with the Asgardian growing up and becoming a more mature version of himself, someone worthy of wielding the mighty Mjolnir. Thor: The Dark World then expanded on that, making the Avenger suffer through not only one familial death with the murder of his mother, but a second when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was...ahem, momentarily...killed off as well.
Then comes Thor: Ragnarok, where the hero loses his father Odin and is forced to help kill the sister he just found out he had. Not only that, but he also witnessed the destruction of the aforementioned Mjolnir, the one MacGuffin he thrust his whole identity into. That then started a downward spiral that led into Avengers: Infinity War, where Loki was killed for good. While he had a shot at saving half the universe, he got greedy and essentially allowed Thanos to snap his fingers in the Infinity Gauntlet.
Who's to forget Avengers: Endgame when an out-of-shape Thor went on a time-traveling adventure to find out he was still worthy of wielding Mjolnir, despite not having the body—or self-esteem, for that matter—of a god. Then comes Love and Thunder, where Thor held Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), his one true love, in his arms and she died of cancer.
Throughout his various appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor's journey has been one of continued self-discovery and growth. We've seen him lose every person one could lose, the fallout that followed, and the ensuing closure. He's lost his entire family and his lover and we've seen him grow and adequately react to each of those scenarios.
He now has a family of his own. He's content with not being the king of Asgard, having giving that role to Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie. After a roller coaster of an arc, Thor: Love and Thunder finally introduced love back in the God of Thunder's life in form of an adopted daughter, officially bringing his MCU arc to a close.
While the character will certainly pop up in a future Marvel movie, the end credits of Love and Thunder confirmed as much, it need not be in another solo Thor flick. Have him appear once again in the inevitable Avengers 5 or have him recur on a spin-off, following the adventures of Valkyrie and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) in New Asgard.
Either way, Thor's journey has come to a close and there's certainly no need for a fifth Thor film.
Taika Waititi, who directed Thor: Ragnarok, returns to direct Thor: Love and Thunder. He also co-wrote the film's screenplay with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Chris Pratt, Jaimie Alexander, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, and Vin Diesel.
Thor: Love and Thunder is now in theaters while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set for release on May 5, 2023.
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