Thor: Love And Thunder's Trailers Hid The True Meaning Of Love

Note: this article includes spoilers for "Thor: Love and Thunder."

At this point, it's de rigueur for Marvel movie trailers to hide major chunks of plots from the general public for months on end. "Spider-Man: No Way Home" hid the three Peter Parkers. "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" hid Scarlet Witch's villain status. And "Thor: Love and Thunder," it turns out, was hiding the full meaning of the "love" in the title.

On the press tour ahead of the film's release, the cast and crew touted it as the Marvel version of a rom-com: a chance for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to finally reunite with his lady love, scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). He does, sure, but it's clear from the movie's opening (and closing) moments that it's actually about a wholly different sort of love.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" begins with Gorr (Christian Bale), a father lost in the desert with his daughter (India Rose Hemsworth). He's a devotee of an ancient god, one he expects to provide for him, but the god doesn't: his daughter dies, and when he finds a god-killing blade, Gorr executes the deity who was meant to protect them. This sets the tone for the rest of the movie, which turns out to be largely focused on the love and responsibility that comes with caring for kids — both within and without a traditional nuclear family.

Thor believes the children are the future

The latest "Thor" film isn't the best "Thor" film. Parts of it are unfocused and it doesn't always succeed at balancing humor, internal character growth, and the kind of large-scale superhero antics audiences expect from a Marvel movie. Yet the parts that work best are the parts that audiences wouldn't expect. For all the Disney-owned franchise's talk of family entertainment, few Marvel movies have ever actually been about kids, or chosen to give kid characters the power to overcome big challenges. This one does.

When Gorr captures the children of New Asgard, they fight back — led by Heimdall's son, Axl (Keiron L. Dyer). Early in the film, Thor heads to Omnipotence City to try to appeal to Zeus (Russell Crowe) and the gods for help. But, much like plenty of real world leaders, Zeus doesn't seem to care about anything beyond his own popularity. In the end, the solution comes when Thor shares his own power with a new generation of would-be warriors, (temporarily) empowering the kiddos to take on Gorr's monsters and save the day themselves.

In the end, "Thor: Love and Thunder" is less interested in superheroes falling in love, and more interested in people with power making sure the kids in their communities are equipped to face all the garbage this world will one day throw at them. It's a bold idea for a Marvel movie, and while it's not executed perfectly, there's a whole lot of heart to this premise that I can't help but admire.

The 'Love' in 'Love and Thunder'

There's also the fact that the "Love" in the movie's title ends up referring not to a feeling, but a person: Gorr's daughter, whom he resurrected with his Eternity wish before dying — drained of life by his campaign of vengeance with the Necrosword. In the film's final scene, we see that Thor is her caretaker, and that he's really thrilled about living the #GirlDad life despite the fact that she wants to wear fluffy slippers outside and refuses to eat the "panflaps" he cooked her. The legend of "Love and Thunder" actually refers to the superpowered little girl and her superhero dad, who end the film saving the world side-by-side.

It makes sense to me that Marvel would boil all of these character dynamics down to the misleading description of a "rom-com," because what "Thor: Love and Thunder" is actually going for isn't the type of love story most audiences are used to. Not only is it a story about familial love, but it also encourages a type of sprawling love that goes far beyond the borders of a nuclear family. The children of Asgard aren't just their parents' responsibility, but the responsibility of the whole New Asgard community. The film doesn't end when they get back to their houses and shut the doors, but instead shows them together again, being mentored by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson).

The biggest twist in "Thor: Love and Thunder" is that it isn't about romantic love so much as it's about all the types of love that fill our lives: friendships, mentorships, familial and communal bonds, and everything else in between. It may not be the most thrilling misdirect, but I think it's a pretty lovely one nonetheless. Take that, three Peter Parkers!