Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Marvel's 'Thor: Love and Thunder.'

(L to R) Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Marvel's 'Thor: Love and Thunder.' Photo courtesy of Disney Studios.

With the release of ‘Thor Love & Thunder’ we are once again pushed deeper into phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Each film before it has given us little hints and glimpses into what’s next, but Taika Waititi’s brightly colored and rock-filled sequel may have been our most important glimpse into the future, and we have the end credits, little references and new characters in the film itself to thank.

During the movie, it’s revealed that actual gods have existed in the universe for centuries. I mean ‘real gods,’ I’m not talking about Celestials (though more on that later). I’m talking about Zeus, Ra, etc. Pantheons from all over the world existing and instilling fear in humans for millennia. But we’re also shown that they use humanity as grounds for worship, sacrifice … and not much else.

As the film ends, we’re shown Zeus recovering from a fight with Thor earlier in the movie. He talks about how humans don’t even think of them anymore, only seeing the costumed heroes as gods. He laments on the days when they were feared by humanity. He looks to his son, Hercules played by Brett Goldstein (‘Ted Lasso’), to send him after Thor in revenge. But what does this all mean for the future?

Marvel Comics' Hercules.

Marvel Comics' Hercules. Photo courtesy of Marvel.com.

The pantheon of gods has existed in Marvel comics for decades now, first appearing all the way back in 1948 with the character of Venus in the self-titled comic published by Timely, which would eventually become Marvel Comics in the 1960s. They have many iterations in the comics, some being Inhumans or Eternals, and many others just being actual gods. But this is the first time in the MCU we have seen them appear.

Obviously, the gods are angry. Superheroes have taken their place and the jealously is boiling over. The one place we can easily see this going is a war between the gods and humanity, with Hercules being the jumping off point. First appearing in 1965, he’s not exactly a villain as the movie makes him out to be.

Hercules was a hero, even becoming a part of the Avengers at one point. But using him as a villain for Thor could spark the gods versus humans war, leading to him most likely changing sides. But that’s not all the reveal of the gods and Hercules could lead towards.

On top of the gods, ‘Love & Thunder’ gives us our first look at Eternity, literally. A being that is the embodiment of the universe. The film reveals that Eternity manifests itself as a being of pure energy. This opens the door for way more crazy cosmic stuff, as well as one-character people have been asking for forever.

Marvel Comics' Galactus.

Marvel Comics' Galactus. Photo courtesy of Marvel.com.

Alongside Eternity sits Infinity … and Galactus. That’s right, something I also brought up in my ‘Eternals’ deep dive. Throughout ‘Love & Thunder’ we see subtle hints of the Planet-eater in statues and visions. Beings like him do exist in the MCU, so what’s taking him so long to show up?

Let’s be real, Galactus isn’t some one-time villain you throw in a single movie and never see again. If they were to bring the entity into the movies, he would be a Thanos-level enemy. Just way more powerful and even deadlier. And besides, we just started this new Phase.

So far, movie wise, we have ‘Black Widow’, ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,' ‘Eternals’, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ and now ‘Thor Love & Thunder’. Many of these films hinting towards the MCU going full on cosmic.

Looking ahead, the upcoming roster screams just that. While we know next to nothing about ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, we know that ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ is going to bring in Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). In the comics, Warlock becomes a being called the Living Tribunal, a being so powerful he could take on Galactus.

Marvel Comics' Adam Warlock.

Marvel Comics' Adam Warlock. Photo courtesy of Marvel.com.

Introducing Adam would give the MCU a being strong enough to destroy Galactus. Without him, I honestly don’t know how Marvel can write their way out of it. Thankfully, just calling Warlock the Living Tribunal from the get-go is the best way to do this and would forego confusion from casual fans.

One last element that ‘Love and Thunder’ introduced is the character of Love, the (reincarnated) daughter of Gorr. The god of Thunder promised him he would take care of her before his death. Love was very fun for the few minutes we saw her and her personality, but while also being Chris Hemsworth’s daughter in real life, her role in the future could be huge.

We know Love was brought back to life by Eternity. Meaning she is a child with infinite potential of power. We see this already with her crazy eye beams and the fact she can control Stormbreaker like it’s nothing. This shows now, through her, just how powerful the ethereal cosmic beings of the MCU are.

What they did with Love is just a precursor to what they can do. They brought a literal child back to life, they can apparently do anything! But this one act could also show a bit of compassion from these ‘gods,’ much more than the likes of Zeus.

Christian Bale in Marvel's 'Thor: Love and Thunder.'

Christian Bale in Marvel's 'Thor: Love and Thunder.' Photo courtesy of Disney Studios.

They can do whatever they want and could have easily brought Love back as something twisted and nightmarish. But they followed Gorr’s wish to a tee and gave him back the one thing that mattered. This act is a huge reminder that Galactus may be the literal embodiment of hungering evil, but the other cosmic beings are not like him.

Phase 4 of the MCU is looking to be way bigger than the previous, especially on a cosmic scale, with ‘Thor Love & Thunder’ having so many different paths for this universe to travel. But seeing how everything connects to past films, and how it could also connect to the future, makes the threads a lot stronger and less dangling.

Personally, I think Marvel is killing it so far, and once they find that solid footing, this is going to be one phase of Marvel movies that is really going to resonate with both the casual and hardcore audiences in the years to come.

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Marvel's 'Thor: Love and Thunder.'

(L to R) Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Marvel's 'Thor: Love and Thunder.' Photo courtesy of Disney Studios.

Thor: Love and Thunder

"The one is not the only."
68
PG-131 hr 59 minJul 8th, 2022
Showtimes & Tickets