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3 biggest surprises from ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’

The fourth film in the Thor franchise heralds the return of Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and more for another galactic adventure

“Thor: Love and Thunder” is here just in time for summer, and theGrio has some surprises from what may be the biggest superhero film of the summer.

From left, Sean Gunn, Karen Gillan, Brad Winderbaum (head of streaming, television and animation at Marvel Studios), Christian Bale, Louis D’Esposito, Natalie Portman, Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth, Kevin Feige (president of Marvel Studios), Tessa Thompson, Victoria Alonso (president of physical, post production, VFX and animation at Marvel Studios), Chris Pratt and Jaimie Alexander attend the “Thor: Love and Thunder” world premiere on June 23, 2022 at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

The Thor series, starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and others, is back with its fourth film, “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Picking up after the events of the record-breaking “Avengers: Endgame,” this latest film finds Thor and friends having to protect New Asgard from the biggest threat they’ve faced yet. TheGrio got a chance to see the film before Friday’s premiere and has the top 3 biggest (non-spoiler) surprises from the action-packed adventure.

Bow down to King Valkyrie

One of the film’s major highlights is the return of (now king) Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson. After the introduction in “Thor: Ragnarok,” Valkyrie in this latest entry has a bit more time to breathe as she settles into her new role as king of New Asgard. Valkyrie also marks major representation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not only as one of the few Black female superheroes in the world, but also as one of the few openly LGBTQ+ characters.

Tessa Thompson attends the Marvel Studios “Thor: Love And Thunder” Los Angeles premiere on June 23, 2022 at El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Valkyrie’s bisexuality is explored in the sequel, but is not the main focus of her story, which is steeped in her adjustment to her new responsibility while still yearning for a sense of adventure. Thompson recently opened up to theGrio about this process. “I think especially after two years of really intense COVID and like myself not working and having to question and think around identity and how much of our images of ourself has to do with what we do, I think it was a really interesting time to then go back and sort of explore these themes in this context of a superhero movie.”

Mighty Thor

“Thor: Love and Thunder” also breaks new ground with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who returns to the series after sitting out “Thor: Ragnarok.” While Foster is human, in this film she develops powers just like Thor, wielding Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and joining the action. We won’t reveal the powerful backstory of what gets her to this place and how it connects to the overall story, but rest assured Portman’s performance is an exhilarating thrill of a watch sure to leave fans cheering for more.

An out-of-this-world soundtrack

Just like “Thor: Ragnarok” before it and “The Guardians of the Galaxy” series, “Love and Thunder” delivers on the music front. Fusing some of the biggest songs from the ’80s with vibrant and colorful imagery, the film is a wonder for the senses, playing out as if the audience were reading a comic book.

While many artists are featured on the soundtrack, a recurring act is Guns N’ Roses — writer and director Taika Waititi has been a longtime fan. “I just wanted the whole thing to feel like an electric-guitar lead break,” he told Rolling Stone. “All the art and everything, it feels like an ’80s album cover. Even the title treatment — I wanted it all to feel like something I would draw on my school book in class, when I was perfecting the Metallica [logo].”

“Thor: Love and Thunder” hits theaters on Friday.

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