Thor: Love and Thunder, the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has made $302 million at the global box office in less than a week. It’s a success by any objective measure, even if critically, the response has been more mixed.
The movie, written and directed by Taika Watiti (who also wrote and directed Thor: Ragnarok) has the director’s signature flair and breezy humor. It has great performances by Christian Bale, who plays Gorr the God Butcher, and Natalie Portman, who reprises her role as Jane/Mighty Thor. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is funny and at ease with himself, and he looks godlier than ever.
The criticisms about Thor: Love and Thunder seem to be less about what the movie is–a frothy bit of fun–and more about what the movie isn’t. Six films and seven television series into Phase 4, and we still don’t have a clear direction of where the MCU is headed. Kevin Feige and the rest of the Disney/Marvel brain trust seem content, at the moment, to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.
And that’s actually fine—for now. It will be cause for concern if after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, we still don’t see a main plot emerge from all this. But not everything has to be done in service of The Big Plot; going down little tributaries and ancillary routes is what fleshes out a fictional universe, and makes it feel bigger and more expansive. And just because we don’t see the bigger picture yet, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Let’s dig a bit beneath the surface. Here are 33 Easter eggs and references in Thor: Love and Thunder, plus a breakdown of the mid-credit and end-credit scenes. They give us more context about what has already happened and provide some tantalizing breadcrumbs for what’s to come.
2. Groot Hammer
3. Enya Needle Drop
5. Guns N' Roses
6. Strongest Avenger?
The design on Thor’s T-shirt during the opening fight is a depiction of Yggdrasil the World Tree from Norse mythology, binding the Nine Realms. You can buy the official version of it on Amazon.