It’s been a wild year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Kevin Feige’s ever-growing tapestry about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes has continued to flourish. The Marvel chief has added a number of new costumed crusaders to the ranks since last summer — including Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac), Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), and She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany). But the studio has also taken the opportunity to recontextualize some supporting heroes and villains along the way, including Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in “Thor: Love and Thunder.”
The last time audiences properly saw the scientist, aside from the time-travel shenanigans in “Avengers: Endgame,” she was still filling the stereotypical damsel-in-distress role in “Thor: The Dark World.” Thankfully, the Asgardian’s 2022 sequel takes its cues from Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s “Thor” comics run from 2014 (via Marvel Database), which explores the mystery of a female Thor, eventually revealed as Jane. The tragic twist is that she has cancer, and every time she transforms into her alter ego, it wipes out all the effects of the chemotherapy.
Portman told Variety that this forces Jane to think differently, saying that being Thor “might give you a different perspective on your human life.” It’s a good thing that Jane gets new powers, because she teams up with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to go up against a dangerous new villain: Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale). But there’s one scene involving Gorr’s plans that has been changed in the Disney+ version of “Love and Thunder,” and it’s an eyebrow-raising change.
The floating head effects have been sharpened
Gorr the God Butcher’s whole plan is to find his way to Eternity and wish all gods dead. To enter its realm, however, he needs Stormbreaker, so he lures Thor to him by kidnapping all the children in New Asgard. Luckily, one of those kids happens to be Axl Heimdallson (Kieron L. Dyer), and he possesses the same cosmic Skype powers that his father, Heimdall (Idris Elba), had before he died in “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Thor taps into those powers to reassure the children that he’s coming to save them, but the Disney+ version of the film has included a new version of the visual effects used in the scene — and it’s getting an interesting reaction from fans.
Fans on Twitter were quick to compare the two versions of the scene, with @comicxbook tweeting, “They patched Thor: Love and Thunder for the Disney+ version and it looks even worse now.” When comparing the two images, it’s easy to see that the theatrical version of the scene uses a lighter, fuzzier effect over the top of Dyer’s performance, while the Disney+ edition is much sharper.
Unfortunately, that only makes the special effects stand out more against the backdrop of the set, so it’s a rather odd-looking visual that might’ve been better had Dyer’s whole body been included rather than just his head and neck. Sure, his powers might not be as strong as his father’s, but the scene definitely pulls audiences out of the moment.