Why The Goats In Thor: Love And Thunder Are The GOAT

I have seen "Thor: Love and Thunder," and I am here to tell you about the most important part of the film: the goats.

Let me explain: After saving a planet from invaders that look like some sort of sentient chicken people on motorbikes — and if that doesn't describe this film for you, nothing will — the leaders of the planet give Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Guardians of the Galaxy two giant goats named Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder as thanks. They smash up the Benetar a bit, before Thor, Korg (Taika Waititi), and their new goat buddies take off on adventures. 

I don't know what it is about goats yelling, but there will never be a time when it doesn't make me laugh. It's a ridiculous sound, and these are very, very large goats. Like, you do not want to do goat yoga with these two. The screaming would not be conducive to relaxation. 

Those planetary leaders seemed to really want these goats off their rock, but Thor is thrilled to get them. He calls them "wonderful," and assigns them to pull his flying boat. You cannot underestimate how funny it is to watch them dragging the boat across the Bifrost while yelling.

But the goats are more than just a gag — these guys have a history in Marvel comics, as well as in Norse mythology.

'They also scream quite a lot'

In Norse mythology, these two goats of war are named Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr, and in the tales we find out that Thor can eat them every night (eew), and they resurrect themselves the next morning. Even worse? If someone sucks the marrow from the bones while snacking on them, the goats end up lame. I mean, that doesn't sound great for the goats, but that's not our version.

Our MCU Thor wouldn't do that sort of thing, of course. He's so delighted to see them, no matter how much destruction they cause. His face is like that of a kid getting a pair of puppies. Screaming puppies with very large horns and crazy eyes, but still, his joy is clear. 

These two screaming beasties have a Marvel Comics history as well, with Thor able to summon them to drive his chariot. I don't remember a run where said chariot had "Cocktails and Dreams" in neon on the wall and a whole lot of touristy commemorative mugs inside, but this is a Taika Waititi film. It just fits.

Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder were created by writer Steve Englehart and artist John Buscema in "Thor Annual #5" (1976), and got an origin for their partnership with Thor in "Journey Into the Mystery #623." Loki wanted to embarrass Thor by making him think he should have different chariot pullers than everyone else, and Thor shows up with goats! Though we don't see Loki here, I bet after his recent adventures, he'd really appreciate these guys.

Insert goat screaming here

Why are the goats the GOATs of the movie? "Thor: Love and Thunder" swings between moments of deepest sorrow and riotous laughter, and the goats are a huge part of that. I mean, look at that face! You cannot see that and keep from giggling. The goats don't talk, but they're a huge presence in the film, and they sort of embody the spirit of fun that director Taika Waititi brings to his work. 

The Thor of the MCU is goofier than the one of legend, and though these goats are pretty goofy themselves, they do tether Thor to Norse mythology. In a way, it's emblematic of the film, with the pantheon of gods from all over our world and the universe. They're all pretty silly (extra kudos to Russell Crowe as Zeus) and really, really fun, but the film does say something about society's collective feelings about gods, religion, worship, and faith. Why are the gods there? How much do they control? Are they out for themselves or there for the people?

Our mythologies are stories that cultures tell themselves to explain the mysteries of the universe. In a way, comics have done the same. We explore our thoughts on relationships, on morals, on love and war, with these stories. Those can be heavy subjects to tackle, and telling a story like this with so much humor and fun allows some of those messages, like prizing love above all else, go down easier with laughter. 

If there's one thing those goats are great at, it's making me laugh!

"Thor: Love and Thunder" is in theaters now.