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Christian Bale Is Marvel's Best Villain Ever, According to Test Audiences

Christian Bale, Thor, Gorr
By Savannah Sanders

Set to release on July 8, Thor: Love and Thunder may be the next chapter of Thor Odinson's story, but he won't be alone. In fact, Thor 4 boasts an Olympic-sized cast including Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie, director Taika Waititi's Korg, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Natalie Portman's Jane Foster as the Mighty Thor. However, when it comes to bringing the thunder, it sounds like Thor and Jane may have competition courtesy of Christian Bale's Gorr the God Butcher. 

In the months leading up to Thor 4's marketing campaign, fans could only speculate about the Dark Knight actor's MCU debut and his portrayal as the film's murderous Gorr. Then, in Love and Thunder's second trailer, audiences finally got a glimpse of the actor's take on the vengeful antagonist; and from what the footage had to offer, he didn't disappoint. 

Now, just weeks away from Love and Thunder's theatrical debut, Marvel Studios is claiming that Gorr might be the MCU's best villain ever.  

Thor 4 Cast Praises Christian Bale's Villain

Christian Bale, Thor, Gorr
Marvel

In a video shared by Fandango's Erik Davis, Thor: Love and Thunder's director Taika Waititi revealed Gorr the God Butcher, played by Christian Bale, is one of "the most sympathetic villains they've had" and, according to audiences, he's "tested the highest" of any Marvel villain to date. 

"So I'd say he's the most sympathetic villain they've had. He's also tested the highest out of any villain that Marvel's had."

In the comics, Gorr the God Butcher's family all died horrific deaths, despite his diligence in honoring the gods. After trying to convince his people to reject their deities, he finds the Necrosword and launches a crusade to destroy the gods who failed him. 

If Thor 4 intends to keep Gorr's backstory, he certainly has an understandable motive. Couple this character with a talent like Christian Bale, and there's no wondering why test audiences already feel Gorr the God Butcher is Marvel Studios' best baddie yet.  

When Chris Hemsworth was asked what Bale brings to the villain, the Thor actor described Bale's portrayal of the character as having "complexity, depth, a sort of quirkiness" and that "you find yourself empathizing, or asking questions that they're asking:"

"Exactly what you’d want, hope and expect. Nuance, complexity, depth. A sort of quirkiness to it which I didn’t see on the page and with any sort of classic villain. The fact that you find yourself empathizing, or asking questions that they’re asking, or the ideas that they’re posing. It’s not just stock standards sort of evil. 

Valkyrie's Tessa Thompson also chimed in, saying, "Yeah, you like root for them sometimes. Hate him sometimes."

To which Hemsworth added, "Yeah, it’s just great if you’re playing the hero if everyone’s rooting for the villain.”

As to why audiences may empathize or relate to Bale's Gorr, Thompson noted that there's a thin line between hero and villain, "which is that your trauma is the thing:"

"Well, it’s also this thing like that Stan Lee talked about, right? Which is that your trauma is the thing both that makes you a superhero and a villain, right? It’s just in the case of a villain, it’s unchecked. That your source of pain is what manifests into your villainry."

As to how Bale used that in his performance, she noted that the actor "captures that so well" and how "it was just so fun to watch:" 

"And I think he captures that so well and he just also was so surprising, you know? Like he just would make choices that you’d be like, ‘Oh.’ It just was so fun to watch and such dexterity and also what he did with his body and he’s really in it and the way that you would assume Christian is but he also has a sense of humor about it…”

How Much Screentime Will Gorr the God Butcher Get?

Leading up to Thor: Love and Thunder, it was expected that Christian Bale would top the list of Thor's villains. While Ragnarok's Hela was a force, her tenure was short-lived; and apart from Loki, Thor has always been his own greatest adversary.

However, learning that Gorr is testing higher than any other Marvel villain is huge. Not only is he keeping company with Thanos, Loki, the Scarlet Witch, Agatha Harkness, Vulture, and Erik Killmonger, he's topping them. 

Of course, this is fantastic news for Thor: Love and Thunder. Marvel's decision to cast Bale in the film as a villain had already drawn significant attention to the project. Couple this news with the film's already extensive cast of fan-favorite characters, and Thor 4's box office hopes are likely higher than ever. 

The only question now is just how much screentime Gorr will receive, considering how long the cast list is and the film's surprisingly short runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes

While that remains to be seen, for now, fans can only hope that Thor 4 will live up to Christian Bale's performance and maybe even leave room for the villain to return in the future.

Thor: Love and Thunder is set to release in theaters on July 8.