Natalie Portman is back in Thor: Love and Thunder as Mighty Thor, but her role and story are nothing like they should have been to be.
After leaving the MCU following Thor: The Dark World and being absent from Thor: Ragnarok, Natalie Portman was finally called back by Marvel to reprise her role as Jane Foster in Thor: Love and Thunder and become “Mighty Thor”, the female incarnation of the God of Thunder in the comics. Unfortunately, in the same way as with the character of Gorr the Butcher of the Gods (Christian Bale), the adaptation made by Taika Waititi and screenwriter Jennifer Kaytin Robinson is a sad failure.
WARNING: SPOILER SPOILERS!
THUNDER IN THE VEINS
Taika Waititi has nevertheless done his homework and Thor: Love and Thundertakes up several elements of the comics by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman around the transformation of Jane Foster into the new Goddess of Thunder. However, even if he gave him big arms, the director obviously understood nothing of the character and what gave him all his strength.
When she appears in the film, Jane Foster is undergoing chemotherapy to fight stage 4 cancer, in a scene similar to the beginning of the first volume of All-New Thor< /strong>, but she no longer looks like a skinny woman who lost all her hair.
Apart from during a sequence in a bathroom where she breaks a sink, her fight against illness, her feelings or her feelings about death are never directly addressed. The film doesn't even make the effort to specify what cancer she hase (she has breast cancer in the comic).
Disturbingly, the storyline skims over all the times in her life when she's not with Thor(or even the type of cancer she has) and, beyond the fact that the astrophysicist of the first two Thor would never press her IV because she would know it was useless to nothing (apart from making the audience laugh), his illness is mostly used to quickly create emotional stakes and get the viewer interested in this character again disappeared for almost ten years.
After reading a book on Norse mythology, Jane remembers that Mjolnir gives its wielder good health, so she books a ticket to New Asgard, where the fragments of the shattered hammer are. She hopes to use it to heal, and a timeskip or two later she has become Mighty Thor and faces the monstrous shadows of Gorr alongside Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), who has apparently become her best friend in off-camera adventures, then recounts that Jane has been collecting Mjolnir for some time. But at no time does the film examine her evolution, her transformation or her way of apprehending her powers, inherited from her former divine lover.
Even the scene where she changes into Mighty Thor was edited out, as set footage showed Natalie Portman mid-air during an ominous trance that seemed rather painful for the character.
Thor 4 Set Video shows Natalie Portman's Stunt Double Performing Airborne Scene pic.twitter.com/77DS5z4PQD
— Jungle Bandit (@mcu_decoded) March 5, 2021
Conversely, in the comics, when Thor learns that Jane has cancer and offers to help, she stubbornly refuses to 'use Asgardian magic. Later in Original Sin, Thor finds himself unworthy to wield Mjolnir, and his hammer lies abandoned on the Moon until a woman lifts it and becomes the new Goddess of Thunder.
Her identity remained secret for some time and she had to fight against monsters, ancient Thor or even Odin and the Destroyer to prove she was up to the task. It was only after the story revealed that it was Jane Foster, but also that each transformation reversed the effects of her chemotherapy and made her even sicker.
Her fight against her cancer and against the forces of evil was even more noble and poignant knowing that she literally sacrificed her life every time she grabbed her hammer to go and protect the Nine Kingdoms. In Thor: Love and Thunder, on the other hand, Thor discovers that the new Thor is Jane as soon as he meets her andchoosing Mjolnir has nothing to do with proving your worth or being worthy.
LOVE AS IT'S PRACTICAL
As Korg reveals in a flashback showing Jane and Thor when they were still a couple (and more in love than they've ever been in any other movie), Jane inherited Mjolnir because Thor had instructed his hammer to always protect his beloved.
So, unlike Captain America in Avengers: Endgame, who grabbed Mjolnir because he had proven himself worthy of lifting it, Jane did not earn the right to wear the hammer from herself, but because Thor gave it to her. Which just goes against the character and everything she stands for as the Goddess of Thunder.
While she reverted to the name Thor in the comics after retrieving Mjolnir (like anyone who lifts the hammer), which put her on a par with the former God of Thunder, Jane n' is more than a luxury sidekick and an ex to win backwho calls himself “Mighty Thor” (a name taken from one of the titles devoted to the Norse god at Marvel). Unlike her paper counterpart, she is depicted as a clumsy, inexperienced heroine and worries more about her superhero phrase to let go in a fight than her cancer or her new responsibilities.
Again, Jane's story is inevitably linked to her romance with Thor and the character, even as the Goddess of Thunder, cannot exist as a heroine apart wholewithout the handsome and strong Prince of Asgard (or only offscreen). Instead, the young lady is only there to crack jokes, smack digital monsters, and serve the hero's emotional journey to the very end.
While Natalie Portman's return as Mighty Thor would have fleshed out Jane Foster's character and finally tapped into the actress' talent, against all odds, Thor: Love and Thunder decides to kill her in a final sacrifice before entering Valhallain the second post-credits, as in the story by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman. But again, the film took an idea without realizing its impact or value.
In the comics, in order to prevent Asgard from being destroyed by Mangog, Jane sacrifices herself by throwing Mjolnir into the Sun and declares to the monster that she does it “for love”. On the other hand, this love is not only the one she feels for Thor, unlike Thor: Love and Thunder, but the one she has for the life to which she is committed. is hooked defying her illness.
When she is greeted by Odin outside the gates of Valhalla, she struggles to come to terms with his death and recounts that she “still had things to give”, that she “wasn't done telling his story”.
Thor: Love and Thunder would like to do believing that he changed Jane Foster into a heroic, feminine figure who would be equal to Thor, but the film doesn't care about her cancer, her backstory, or what she represents in the Marvel Universe . In the end, Jane Foster becomes a superheroine thanks to Thor, her cancer only matters to show how it affects Thor and her death only happens to save the children of Asgard and finally give Thor a purpose to exist.
Now that she rests in Valhalla with Heimdall (Idris Elba), it would be best to leave her alone and avoid bringing Natalie Portman back again. Especially if it's to do that.