Don't let yourself be fooled by Taika Waititi's previous light-hearted stuff: this one is bittersweet and unexpectedly heavy.
While 'Thor: Love and Thunder' begins screening in theaters July 7, pretty extensive spoilers have already surfaced; at this point basically the whole plot of the movie is at least partially leaked, and so we know how Waititi's latest deals with the most important – and heavy – theme: Jane Foster's cancer diagnosis.
Back in April Jane Foster's cancer storyline, adapted from original comics, was confirmed by 'Thor: Love and Thunder' merchandise, reminding fans that the newest Taika Waititi-directed Marvel blockbuster weren't going to be your typical summer popcorn movie.
Jane's arc as The Mighty Thor was introduced in 'Thor' #1 back in 2014; in the comics she was able to wield the Mjölnir, but every time she'd use it, all the effects of the chemotherapy treatment Jane was undergoing were gone. While we still don't know exactly just how Waititi's chosen to deal with this character arc, 'Love and Thunder' plot leaks suggest the director delving into darker, more serious approach. Please keep in mind, however, that, like any other plot leak, spoiler or insider information, the following spoilers can be inaccurate or entirely false.
Warning: major plot spoilers ahead!
Now that you've been warned, let's take a look at how 'Love and Thunder' handles the cancer diagnosis storyline. First of all, those who've already seen the movie warn that it's going to be surprisingly bittersweet: if you're expecting something along the lines of previous Waititi films, much more comedic in tone, you're going to be – well, not disappointed per se, but perhaps a bit disheartened. And it's understandable: after all, it is a story about battling cancer.
Moreover: some insiders warn against watching 'Love and Thunder' at all, if the topic hits just a bit close to home for you.
"I recommend to not watch the movie if you're a cancer patient/ survivor & are sensitive about it. The film uses the subject as a shock factor for Thor's character development. Stay safe," – @dusa_ni.
In some sense, 'Thor: Love and Thunder' is more of a drama than any other Marvel movie: there's a very humane, very relatable undercurrent there about dealing with something inevitable. Thor realizes that not only Jane has cancer, but the Mighty Thor form is actively killing her; he begs Jane to stop, but she chooses this mission, this opportunity to be a protector as some way of escaping her terrible reality, at least for a time being.
Frantically searching for some way to save Jane, Thor finally has to come to terms with the fact that Jane's dying, and there's nothing he can actually do. And this process of going through stages, first trying to avoid the inevitable and then ultimately accepting it is what makes 'Love and Thunder' one of the most emotional, bittersweet and, it seems, difficult to watch – thus all the warnings emerging online for cancer patients of those whose relatives were diagnosed with it.
If you're expecting a traditional happy ending, that's where you're going to be wrong – again. After giving up her powers, Jane Foster can't battle cancer for long and dies; Heimdall himself welcomes her to Asgardian afterlife, Valhalla, in a very emotional, somewhat of a closure, post-credit scene. Unlike in the comics, Jane's arc after that feels complete and doesn't set up some future Marvel projects with Natalie Portman as Jane Foster (but, Marvel being Marvel, you never really know for sure, right?)