As BMW aficionados, we often lament the disappearance of manuals in newer BMWs, but we shouldn’t. Sure, it would be lovely if you could still purchase a 3 Series–one of the few authentically BMW-like BMWs on the market–with a manual transmission. Obviously. However, BMW continues to offer its sportiest and most enjoyable vehicles with manual transmissions. Some brands are no longer receiving that, and the situation is deteriorating. Mercedes-Benz, which only offers a few low-cost manual vehicles in Europe, is planning to phase out the row-your-own gearbox completely.
“We perceive that consumer demand is turning towards electric mobility components, batteries, and (partially) electric drive systems as electrification increases,” a Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman told Automobilewoche. As a result, the company will “gradually discontinue manual gearboxes.”
To be honest, I’m amazed Mercedes-Benz has waited this long to abandon manual transmissions. There isn’t a single manual Benz on the market in North America, and there aren’t any manual Mercedes-AMGs either, although there are a few entry-level stragglers in Europe. Soon, they will be gone as well, and Mercedes-Benz will say good-by to the three-pedal ‘box.
Audi is the same way, with just a few entry-level manual cars on the market in Europe and no performance manuals. Only BMW, Volkswagen, and Porsche offer real high-performance manuals in Germany, and it wouldn’t be unexpected if VW withdrew the manual soon as well.
The manual gearbox is clearly and has been for a long time a dying breed. But it’s still strange to hear manufacturers admit outright that manual transmissions are almost extinct. It also adds perspective to BMW’s existing manual lineup. Sure, the manual transmission in the M3 isn’t particularly good, but it’s there. Furthermore, the new BMW M2 will have a manual gearbox option, which will appeal to the enthusiast client base, and BMW is working on a 3.0 CSL rebirth with solely a manual transmission. So appreciate BMW’s stick-shift gearboxes while they’re still available, since they won’t be around much longer.
The Boys Greatest Powers Is Love
It’s no secret that, with a few notable exceptions, the supes in The Boys are a group of conceited, entitled, and egotistical individuals who will do everything to further their personal agendas. Their abilities come from Compound V, a mixture created to offer people the ability to achieve things that normal people cannot, but love is a more potent motivating factor that gives the story its core. The majority find their views anchored in love, or at least what they think to be love in some circumstances, whether it’s from members of the eponymous group or the supes themselves. The series wouldn’t have as much heart overall without this unadulterated feeling, and it would no longer rise above the level of being a demonstration of violence and evil schemes.
Our screens are immediately bombarded with messages about love. In the first episode, Hughie (Jack Quaid) is introduced with his devoted girlfriend Robin (Jess Salgueiro), but she is soon killed by an irresponsible A-Train (Jessie T. Usher). As he swears revenge for her passing and sets out on his mission to stop the supes, Hughie’s love for Robin emerges as his motivation and the catalyst for his entire arc. Naturally, Hughie soon develops feelings for Starlight (Erin Moriarty), and this love feeds his fire to stop the evil Seven from causing destruction everywhere they go. Now, he wants to do everything he can to support her, keep her safe, and ultimately, save her. Hughie’s love for her pushes him to go to depths he never dreamed he’d go, despite her persistent insistence that she doesn’t need saving. He starts injecting V-24 so he can fight back against individuals who mistreat other people. On the surface, it appears that he uses it selfishly and rejects Starlight’s warnings to quit putting himself in danger, but in his heart, he is acting in her best interests out of love.
In terms of selfishness, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) is probably the most maniacal character on the show, ranking right up there with Homelander (Antony Starr), yet he has done everything for his wife, Becca, out of love for her (Shantel VanSanten). As payback for Homelander’s sexual assault of Becca, which he believes caused her death, he initially starts looking for the supes. He makes every effort to locate her after learning that she is still alive, but sadly, their reunion is brief because she perishes as a result of Ryan’s (Cameron Crovetti) deadly blast sent at Stormfront (Aya Cash). Butcher’s troubles are far from over, as he now has a new task to complete. Ryan’s safety was Becca’s final request. This pledge is what ultimately leads to maybe the best illustration of love triumphing over all. In the Season 3 finale, Butcher is finally given the opportunity to eliminate Homelander with the aid of Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), but she refuses to do so in order to preserve Ryan. His ultimate objective has been to kill Homelander from the beginning, but the strength of love comes through as he defies it to carry out Becca’s request. This deed demonstrates Billy Butcher’s heart, despite the moments when it seemed like he only cared about himself.
The protagonists are occasionally motivated by platonic love or familial love rather than romantic love. Homelander is undoubtedly not the first person who springs to mind when considering love, as he frequently behaves selfishly. He has, on a few rare occasions, though, displayed a more tender side to his character. Ryan, Homelander’s kid, is the object of his devotion in the most significant way. He hasn’t always been an ideal father figure, as evidenced by the moment where he pushes Ryan over the roof, but there have been times when Antony Starr has successfully portrayed a caring father. For instance, in the most recent season finale, Homelander rushes to save Ryan when he is hurt by Soldier Boy, placing himself in danger without thinking twice. Given how narcissistic Homelander has always been, it is a little surprising to realize that he is also capable of love. Homelander has occasionally displayed emotional sensitivity, but his love for Ryan compels him to prevent his son from going through the same suffering he did as a child growing up without a father.
Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), who is trying everything in his power to stop Soldier Boy, is another example of the extent to which a father can go in order to defend his family. After learning that Soldier Boy killed MM’s family, MM is now determined to stop it from occurring to his new family, particularly his daughter. In addition to abhorring everything supes stand for, he is outraged that Todd (Matthew Gorman), a rabid supe enthusiast, is raising his daughter. MM frequently finds himself facing up against strong supers armed with weapons he knows are inadequate to stop his enemies while well conscious of the risky scenarios he is placing himself in.
Out of genuine love for his daughter, he nevertheless continues to take the threat head-on. This is one of the few instances where love isn’t tainted by ego or used as a justification for moral relativism. This is demonstrated by the fact that Hughie and Butcher take V-24 without hesitation, but MM stands by his principles and declines to grant himself superhuman abilities. He is aware of the risks it poses, and he would rather fail while attempting to protect those he loves than give his daughter a negative example.
Even though the Boys universe is filled with gunfire, explosions, and bloodshed, if you look closely, you can see that love permeates everything. It appears in a variety of ways and is frequently combined with other feelings, but it dominates everything else and gives the series the heart it needs to stand out as a truly significant program.
Taika Waititi Would Return for Thor 5 on One Condition
Thor: Love and Thunder, the latest feature picture from Marvel Studios, is now in theaters! The sequel, directed by Chris Hemsworth, reunited numerous cast members from previous Thor films, including, but not limited to, Dr. Jane Foster, who discovers she can wield Thor’s hammer Mjölnir, which provides her superpowers. Taika Waititi was back in charge as director. Thor’s character was revitalized by the New Zealand filmmaker in 2017’s Ragnarok.
If you watch Thor 4’s end credits all the way through, you’ll notice not only the conventional post-credit scene, but also a single but significant message: “Thor will return.” Now, no new Thor solo film has been revealed, nor has Hemsworth been confirmed to appear in any upcoming MCU production. However, the actor has previously claimed that he is eager to reprise his role as the character.
What about Waititi, though? Will he return to direct the third installment of the Thor franchise?
Waititi Talks About a Possible Thor 5
Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi spoke to Insider about his reaction to the “Thor will return” message at the end of the film, stating that he was initially unaware of its inclusion.
“So, guess what? That surprised me as well. I’m not kidding. I saw it in the theater and thought, “Oh my god. Really?” “What?” Chris exclaimed. But, of course, he’ll return. He’s the most interesting character. I mean, I may be biased, but he’s the most entertaining to watch.”
Waititi also talked about what it would take for him to make another Thor picture. He added one specific requirement: Chris Hemsworth must also return.
I’m not sure what happens next. I would definitely participate, but only if Chris did. But it would have to be something unexpected and surprising for me to want to do it. What, for example, would be the new perspective? The fights and combat are good, but when it comes to the story, I’d want something unexpected. As if you were filming a $5 million film with no combat at all, just Thor on a road trip. Like “Nebraska,”
There are numerous ways in which the next Thor film might be unexpected and unforeseen. Taika Waititi, who does not appear to be one to rest on his laurels, would most likely want to continue pushing the boundaries of what Thor and his film franchise can be.
Prior to Thor: Ragnarok, the character was a stoic warrior with the occasional wisecrack or amusing quip. For Hemsworth, this attitude had become so monotonous that he was considering leaving the part. Waititi brought his signature wacky, irreverent comic flair to the franchise when he joined. Love and Thunder is very much in the same style, and may even have increased the comic factor.
The director is certainly a fan of Thor, as indicated by his comments above. Saying “He’s the best character” is excellent praise, especially considering how many other wonderful Marvel characters there are. Taika Waititi listing Hemsworth’s participation as a supposedly hard and fast criteria for him to make another film says a lot. But the two get along well, and Waititi looks to know how to get the greatest performance out of the actor.
It should be noted that Waititi had previously been tight-lipped regarding his role in a possible sequel. He appears to have softened his tone after making those remarks.
As for the promise that the character will return, it’s curious that Marvel would include that without first consulting with Waititi or Hemsworth, but as the former stated, “of course he’ll be back.” After all, as previously stated, Hemsworth has stated his willingness to reprise his role as the Asgardian god of thunder.
Why Taika Waititi Limited the Guardians in Thor 4
Following the theatrical release of Thor: Love and Thunder, reviews from fans and critics have been varied in terms of its comic tone and the disproportionate screentime given to its all-star cast. While some audience members wished for more of Natalie Portman’s Mighty Thor and Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher, others felt that some characters, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, were underutilized.
Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, first met the Guardians of the Galaxy in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, shortly after Thanos killed Heimdall and Loki.
The connection between Thor and the Guardians team was one of the film’s best crossover moments, and Thor travels to Nidavellir alongside Rocket Raccoon (aka “Sweet Rabbit”) and Groot in search of a Thanos-killing weapon.
When Thor chooses to join the Guardians at the end of Avengers: Endgame, many fans anticipated an As-guardians of the Galaxy project or more of this successful crossover before Thor: Love and Thunder. Unfortunately, that is not what occurred.
Reality vs. Expectation
The rest of this article includes Thor: Love and Thunder spoilers.
Fans were naturally pleased to learn that the Guardians of the Galaxy would play a role in Thor: Love and Thunder, given their interactions in both Infinity War and Endgame.
People had yet to see Thor or Star-Lord and company in Phase 4, and because early promotion for Love and Thunder emphasized Thor’s hilarious encounters with Star-Lord, audiences expected these bits and exchanges to be only the tip of the comedic, cosmic iceberg.
However, the majority of what was revealed in the Thor 4 trailers and TV advertisements was the extent of the Guardians’ role in the film.
Due to the casting of Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, and Russell Crowe in the project, few expected the Guardians to be a part of the entire film due to its already crowded call sheet. Few expected the funny ragtag group to be reduced to background characters with less to say than the unremarkable alien ruler who gave Thor his screaming goats.
Why Did Thor 4 Require More Star-Lord?
Before the Guardians parted ways with Thor, each member of the cast had a brief exchange of words, with only Star-Lord having a genuine chat with the film’s star.
Even though Quill was essential in lowering Thor’s emotional shields and choosing love over heartache, the situation of their own relationship lacked context.
Quill certainly feels the urge to compete with the God of Thunder in Infinity War. Their final scene in Endgame seems to lay the setting for a comedic power struggle about who is in charge of the crew.
However, in Love and Thunder, while Thor is still seeking for dominance, Quill appears to have surrendered himself to Thor’s pranks and passively tolerates him.
Again, this is a 180-degree turn from Infinity War and Endgame, where Quill was starving for recognition. Clearly, their dynamic has shifted, but that shift is never articulated. It not only denies the audience that amusing relationship, but also the potential to relate back to previous MCU flicks.
Also, given Gorr’s danger to all gods, it’s strange that Quill wasn’t brought in for that phase of the plot. Quill did give up his godlike abilities in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but given his heritage, he had a chance to contribute to the tale.
Why Did Thor 4 Require More Rockets?
Thor and Rocket formed a humorous, unusual team in Avengers: Infinity War. And, despite his own troubles, Rocket counseled Thor through Infinity War and Endgame, and even supplied the God of Thunder with a new eye.
But, other from a few quips in Love and Thunder, there was no catch-up between Thor and his “Sweet Rabbit,” which was especially odd given their previous personal encounters. In fact, it would have made more sense for Rocket to be Thor’s voice of reason rather than Star-Lord.
Why Did Thor 4 Need More Groot?
While Thor’s armory has always been an important part of his saga, Love and Thunder established that both his hammer Mjolnir and his new ax Stormbreaker are sentient.
Given Stormbreaker’s jealousy of Mjolnir in Thor 4, and the ax serving as a MacGuffin for the film’s third act, it’s remarkable that Groot was never reintroduced or even mentioned after sacrificing his arm to build Stormbreaker’s handle.
And, while Rocket and Thor had the closest relationship in the most recent Avengers films, Groot was along for the trip. Plus, Thor is one of the only characters who understands Groot!
Why Did Taika Waititi Restrict the Guardians in Thor 4?
When asked if there was a version of Thor: Love and Thunder with more Guardians, director Taika Waititi admitted that there was.
The following is the director’s statement:
“The plan was always to have one at the start and then move one. Because they have their own feature film. There was talk of having them return at the conclusion.”
Waititi felt that returning as a source of reinforcements would have been too repetitive and preferred Jane instead, saying:
“The issue is, it happens in every film. No more. There will be no more cavalry at the end. So we put that notion on the back burner. We only wanted Jane to enter at the end.”
Waititi has a valid point. Someone will swoop in at the last second to change the tide at a hero’s darkest moment, when all hope is lost, according to a long-standing trope in cinema and television.
The issue here is that Waititi created the very cliche he stated he intended to avoid, and he also stated that the Guardians were substituted out because they wanted Jane.
Was the decision appropriate for the story being told?
Absolutely. However, by electing not to employ the Guardians at this point in the film, their brief appearance at the beginning of the film feels less significant and more like an obligation.
While the film confirmed that the Guardians would travel to other planets to assist them in their grief over the loss of their gods, the lack of the MCU’s cosmic, comedic team appearing in any of that on-screen action – or even bothering to check in on their buddy Thor – makes their limited screentime all the more noticeable.
How Thor 4 Affects Infinity War, Endgame, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
The issue now is that Thor’s team-up with the Guardians in Endgame will not have the same impact or enthusiasm as it had in Love and Thunder.
Because Thor’s time with the crew barely moved the needle on his own voyage and finished as swiftly as it began, it will appear as an useless detour or hiatus rather than an exciting next chapter in the God of Thunder’s adventure.
While Guardians director James Gunn has kept the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 under wraps, many expected Love and Thunder to handle some of the post-Endgame labor, allowing Vol. 3 to dive directly into its own tale.
Apart from Star-Lord mentioning his anguish for Gamora’s death, there was no mention of his desire to find her Variant (which is something Endgame seemingly laid the groundwork for).
Not only will Vol. 3 need to revisit that story point, but so will Thor’s departure from the Avengers and the Guardians’ assistance to planets that lost their gods in Thor 4. It’s almost as if they were assigned tasks to complete rather than adding to this story.
Overall, Marvel Studios granting creative flexibility to filmmakers and writers is a good thing for filmmaking, storytelling, and the Marvel brand. However, it can also be detrimental.
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe laid the scenario for the Guardians of the Galaxy to have an impact on Thor Odinson’s saga, Taika clearly did not want that to happen. He preferred a Jane Foster story.
Looking at Thor: Love and Thunder through the lens of the Thor franchise, Taika’s judgment is sound. The problem is that he’s much bigger than that.
Thor is a prominent protagonist in the larger cinematic universe, and he was coupled with an ensemble cast whose characters played important roles in Thor’s voyage in one of the biggest crossover blockbusters in cinema history.
Ignoring that, as well as the Guardians’ only capability for humor and action in the cosmos, explains why their little roles in Love and Thunder were not only unsettling but also a waste.
If there’s one thing Thor: The Dark World did better than Thor: Love and Thunder, it’s that the first Thor sequel included events from both 2011’s Thor and 2012’s The Avengers into its plot.
Aside from a training montage and the presence of Stormbreaker, Thor 4 appears to have had no interest in continuing or resolving storylines introduced in Endgame.
Yes, Thor: Love and Thunder is a Thor film and a Taika Waititi film, but it has little interest in being an MCU feature, except from a few Easter eggs.
Thor: The Dark World is currently in theaters.
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