Unlike some of the other legacy heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor is the first of its kind to get the fourth installment of a superhero franchise. With most of his fellow Avengers passing on, retiring, or in a new phase in their lives, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) experiences an existential crisis. Unable to find out where he fits in the grand scheme of things, the God of Thunder is forced to return home when a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) seeks vengeance on all of the gods who have failed their disciples. In order to combat this threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi), and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who – to Thor’s surprise – inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor.
Feel free to check out our theatrical review of “Thor: Love and Thunder” if you haven’t already done so. But because the sequel is available on digital and Disney+, we will be breaking down the bonus features of the home entertainment release. The unfortunate part is that the four major bonus features don’t offer as much excitement as the film itself.
The Discover section, “Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher,” offers a small one-minute and 29-second bite-sized morsel of what it took to convince the Oscar-winning actor to be a part of the MCU. While Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige reveals that Bale was a fan of “Thor: Ragnarok” and a fan of Waititi, it was the director’s phone conversations with the actor that helped make the casting happen. “Taiki’s a very bloody original filmmaker,” Bale says. “He knows how to make things ridiculously funny, but he also knows how to be very, very moving and heartfelt as well. If I hadn’t done it, my family would have disowned me.”
Waititi was equally excited to bring Bale on board because it was an opportunity to see him in a space adventure and be a part of something that his kids could watch. Although, the director admits that Bale’s Gorr may be too scary. As the trailer progresses, we get to see the actor talk about some of the emotional nuances of the character and give us a better understanding of his motivations. Unfortunately, there isn’t the time or space to justify making the bonus feature longer than it should be. But maybe hearing from the other actors and how they perceived Gorr’s self-appointed task would have at least given the feature some more depth.
Luckily, “Shaping a Villain,” which runs at six minutes and 11 seconds, gives the rest of the cast the chance to share some of their thoughts on what makes Gorr so terrifying. “He manages to pull the focus right into that moment, and you can’t take your eyes off of him,” Hemsworth said of Bale’s performance as Gorr.
“I’m kind of Team Gorr,” Thompson laughed. “He’s terrifying. He’s funny. He’s oddly charming, minus the dental issues. And he does that thing that I think Marvel villains do so well that your villainy comes from pain.”
And we get to see the kind of pain that Thompson is talking about when the trailer revisits one of “Thor: Love and Thunder’s” most crucial and tragic scenes: the death of Gorr’s daughter. So, it was up to Waititi to figure out how to make it original while also fitting it into the MCU. As such, producer Brad Winderbaum knew that it took much more than a few allusions in the designs from the comics. They had to emulate the character by capturing the dark tones of his monologues and his twisted point of view that stems from his faith being betrayed.
Soon the feature overlaps with “Christian Bale as Gorr the Bod Butcher.” Not sure why this is or if it was a bit of an oversight in putting these bonus features together, but the feature explores the visualization of the tragic villain and how Waititi worked to create a villain that we can sympathize with. And while the creative team must add more emotional depth to the character, we also learn that Bale had to spend about three and a half hours in the makeup chair to become Gorr, who is just as terrifying to look at as he is carrying
out his own brand of justice.
Meanwhile, “Another Classic Taika Adventure” captures what it was like to find the comedic side of the “Thor” film franchise. Though the film explores the more fantastical side of the MCU, it doesn’t have much of a tonal identity. That is until Waititi stepped in to help shape its identity. “I wanted to focus more on Chris as being the character,” Waititi said. “The first two films, I found Thor interesting, but I didn’t feel like enough of Chris was coming through in that characterization.” The director found that underneath Hemsworth’s chiseled abs and perfectly shaped biceps, there was a sensitive and caring person. “Whenever you hang around with him, you very much feel in good hands, like you’re being taken care of,” Waititi added.
And so we see how Waititi brings a balance to tell a story that Feige describes as “inherently dramatic, and in many ways, tragic.” “Taika said he wanted to have fun, tell a big story, but also showcase this emotion and this heart that Taika can do so well,” he added. So much of the bonus feature sees the cast and crew praising Waititi as an energetic and fun creative force of nature who is always searching for the best story, the best scene, and the best way to tell that scene to tell that story, and to make that shot. “I just love working with him,” Hemsworth said about his relationship with his director.
Running at a total of seven minutes and 56 seconds, the bonus feature examines Waititi’s return as a director and what he wanted to do differently to push Thor in a new direction while also changing the MCU formula.
Finally, “Hammer-Worthy: Thor and Mighty Thor” looks at the two characters and their relationship with Mjolnir – Thor’s first weapon. In this bonus feature, executive producer Brian Chapek says that it is essential to not retread the same territory and that to keep things fresh, they needed to do something different. And the bonus feature looks at how that was accomplished by revisiting “Thor: Ragnarok” and the destruction of Mjolnir while also bringing a terminally ill Jane Foster into the fourth installment.
So the biggest challenge of “Thor: Love and Thunder” was whether or not they could bring Portman back to the film. While the bonus feature doesn’t get into the specifics, it’s clear that it would be a welcomed return when Waititi confirmed the actor would be returning to reprise her role and play the Mighty Thor at the San Diego Comic-Con 2019. And the featurette offers a chance to hear from Portman about her experience being more involved with the action. Of course, that never happened, considering she was merely tech support or a damsel in distress. Now that she has proven herself to be worthy, Portman talks about that transformation, learning about the fight choreography, and more.
As for the gag reels and audio commentary, that’s all fairly obligatory and lets us see what the production was like. So, if you are a huge fan of “Thor: Love and Thunder,” you might want to check those out as you’ll surely get a few laughs from the gag reels and some interesting tidbits from the audio commentary. Keep in mind that Waititi is the one running the show, so it will be a mix of offbeat comedy and some informational bits.
Thor: Love and Thunder Special Features*:
- Gag Reel – Take a look at some of the fun outtakes on set with the cast and crew of Thor: Love and Thunder. (2:46)
- Audio Commentary – Watch the film with audio commentary by director/writer Taika Waititi. (1:58:44)
- Hammer-worthy: Thor and The Mighty Thor – Trace Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman’s journeys to becoming Thor and The Mighty Thor, respectively. Watch as the costars speak about the preparation behind embodying their legendary roles and describe how they combine their unstoppable forces. (5:37)
- Shaping a Villain – This featurette introduces Love and Thunder’s primary antagonist, Gorr the God Butcher. Shining a light on the man who brings the character to life, this piece highlights his recruitment and process. Then fellow cast and crew reveal personal anecdotes. (6:11)
- Another Classic Taika Adventure – This piece looks back on Taika Waititi’s journey taking over the Thor franchise and reinventing the God of Thunder. Revisit the moment Taika was announced as the new custodian of Thor and follow Taika through the production of Thor: Love and Thunder. (7:54)
- Deleted Scenes (7:46)
- Looking for Zeus – Thor, Valkyrie, and Korg run into a few characters while seeking an audience with Zeus.
- Wasting Time – Star-Lord and Mantis convince Thor to help their cause.
- A Safe Vacation – A nonchalant Thor chats with a panicked Star-Lord and Mantis in the middle of chaos. An explosion thrusts Korg into the scene.
- Fighting For You – Zeus gifts Thor a special tool after overhearing a heartfelt conversation.
*Bonus features vary by product and retailer
“Thor: Love and Thunder” is available to stream on Disney+, and on digital 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD today.