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'Thor: Love and Thunder' -- A Quick Guide on What to Remember Before Watching

When it comes to Thor 4, you should know where he's at in the journey of life.

thor-love-and-thunder-6
Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth as Mighty Thor and Original Thor.
Jasin Boland/Marvel Studios

Heading to Thor: Love and Thunder, aka Thor 4, tonight at the movies? According to Thor actor Chris Hemsworth, it's a "wacky romantic comedy set in space." For the less well-versed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it sounds like you don't really need to know many specifics before going in.

Except maybe you should be primed with a different kind of knowledge. Let's run through the basics -- particularly where Thor is in the journey of life -- before addressing the best way to approach watching Love and Thunder.

What happened to Thor before Love and Thunder?

Let's go through the key takeaways from Marvel movies Thor has made appearances in.

Marvel Studios

Thor (2011)

The movie that kicked off the adventures of Thor, the god of thunder.

Key takeaways:

  • Astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her assistant Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) find Thor when he's exiled on Earth
  • Thor leaves his new love Jane to defeat Loki on Asgard
  • Loki apparently dies after being rejected by his father and intentionally falling into an abyss
  • But psych! Loki appears in a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, where he's interested in the Tesseract, aka a containment vessel for the Space Stone
JAY MAIDMENT; Jay Maidment

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

In Thor 2, Jane travels to Asgard and meets the parents.

Key takeaways:

  • Thor's mother Frigga is fatally stabbed while protecting Jane from the ruler of the Dark Elves
  • Loki is killed while helping Thor fight the Dark Elves
  • But psych again! Loki is alive and impersonating his adoptive father Odin, the king of Asgard
  • Thor remains on Earth with Jane until the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Marvel

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

The first Thor movie directed by Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Hunt for the Wilderpeople).

Key takeaways:

  • It's revealed that Jane and Thor have broken up
  • Odin dies of old age
  • Hela (Cate Blanchett), the god of death and Thor's sister, is killed in the destruction of Asgard
  • Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) was one of the warriors sent by Odin to kill Hela, but all her warrior companions died. Valkyrie is now dealing with PTSD
Marvel Studios

Avengers: Infinity War (2019)

Thor briefly teams up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and commits his greatest mistake.

Key takeaways:

  • Loki is killed by Thanos (Josh Brolin)
  • The Asgardians, including Heimdall (Idris Elba), on Thor's ship are killed
  • Thor is rescued by the Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Thor creates battle-axe Stormbreaker using a blazing neutron star
  • Thor severely wounds Thanos, but not enough to prevent him from using the Infinity Stones and deleting half the population of the universe
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

The movie that introduces us to "Dad Bod" Thor.

Key takeaways:

  • Thor finally takes his revenge on Thanos, decapitating him when the Avengers locate him on an uninhabited planet
  • Five years pass and Thor is an alcoholic, drinking and playing video games in New Asgard on Earth
  • After helping to restore the population of the universe, Thor appoints Valkyrie as the new king of Asgard (she'd already been doing those duties)
  • Suffering a midlife crisis, Thor joins the Guardians. "It's time for me to be who I am, rather than who I'm supposed to be."

And this is where we find Thor at the beginning of Thor: Love and Thunder. His parents, brother and sister dead, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery, the first time in a thousand years he has no path.

Some advice on watching Thor: Love and Thunder

According to director Taika Waititi, Thor 4 is as if "10-year-olds told us what should be in a movie and we said yes to every single thing." He also said that, "If you wrote down all the elements of this film, it shouldn't make sense."

Basically, what's happening here, is that this section is an extra primer for what to expect from Thor: Love and Thunder as a Film (capital "F").

The advice: Don't watch Thor: Ragnarok, the popular third Thor movie, before the latest. Allow your expectations to be free from the influence of great Films that came before.

Here's one more Waititi quote (via Empire) to prepare you:

"It's almost like it shouldn't be made. If you walked into a room and said, 'I want this and this and this.' Who's in it? These people. What are you going to call it? Love And Thunder. I mean, you'd never work again. Maybe I won't after this."