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‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ reminds women that they’re remembered for their looks and not their brains

Taika Waititi (left) returned to the MCU to direct Thor: Love and Thunder, starring Chris Hemsworth (right), but the movie doesn't live up to the pair's previous work together.
Taika Waititi (left) returned to the MCU to direct Thor: Love and Thunder, starring Chris Hemsworth (right), but the movie doesn't live up to the pair's previous work together.

It’s not my ideal Sunday afternoon to sit across the theater row from a family with small children while Thor murders a bunch of other gods, spurring gold, glittery blood from their wounds. I’m not sure what Marvel or Taika Waititi were thinking with “Thor: Love and Thunder,” but nothing in this movie should be seen by kids. 

Warning: pointless spoilers ahead.

After the fallout from Ragnarok and Endgame, Thor has decided to renew himself by teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy on what he calls “classic Thor adventures” where he saves the day just in the nick of time. Marvel fans love Thor’s himbo energy, but it drifts more toward toxic masculinity and stereotypical male standards for a pretty boy like Thor. 

But before Thor even appears on screen, a revenge-driven psychopath named Gorr the God Butcher gains a necrosword. He was my favorite part of the movie, and not in the rooting-for-the-villain kind of way. 

The tender moment that happens between Gorr and his daughter right before her death left me heartbroken, especially since Gorr’s planet was plagued with climate change and drought. He then begs the god he worshiped his whole life to bring his daughter back, but he’s only met with laughter and then violence. Taking up the sword from a recent kill, he slays the false god who failed him, vowing to purge all other gods from the universe.

This happens within the first five minutes of the movie — nothing to do with Thor. I expected nothing less from a Marvel movie, to throw in an interesting plot point then toss it in the trash before anyone questions its meaning.

I couldn’t keep track of anything in this movie; character development, plot details, even the villain lacks depth even with such a powerful backstory.

If there’s one thing that angered me more than anything, it was the representation of Natalie Portman’s character, Jane Foster, as Lady Thor. I was never a fan of Jane as a forced love-interest for Thor, but this movie somehow made my disdain worse.

Jane first appears in a medical chair receiving chemo alongside another patient. She reveals to a friend that she’s only shared her stage four cancer with one person, and needs to search out an alternate solution or a miracle, such as Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.

I have many issues with Jane’s cancer, but the main three things that I couldn’t get out of my mind are how her cancer was represented, her physical changes after becoming Lady Thor and the self-sacrifice that occurred from her incurable disease and desire to become the hero. 

As a cancer survivor, I know the complexities of cancer, courses of treatment and depressive episodes that occur in the aftermath of distressing news. I would have enjoyed this movie so much more if they hadn’t made Jane’s entire character about sacrificing herself to become a beautiful, tall, blonde superhero who isn’t dying of cancer. 

In the middle of battle, Jane is stripped of her powers, revealing the stress and fatigue of a patient consumed by cancer. She still has her hair, an unrelatable detail for most cancer patients, and lacks any implant for consistent chemo treatments (her veins would be destroyed after six months of consistent injections). 

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Jane’s beauty and increased height was also insulting to her character and people who’ve dealt with cancer. In order to be seen as a hero, she must alter her physical appearance to be the ideal woman. She is a renowned scientist who discovered countless new scientific phenomena, but people will only remember her as Mighty Thor, the pretty blonde woman with muscles and a hammer. 

I could discuss the multi-layered villain that got a proper ending, Thor’s erratic character development or the CGI that tried to distract everyone from the lack of plot in “Thor: Love and Thunder.” But I’m not going to, because I’m on hiatus from Marvel content after watching this movie.

If Marvel becomes less gory and more appropriate to a wider audience, let me know. If you need me, I’ll be rewatching the Batman movie that came out earlier this year.

Rating: 2/10

elizonar@miamioh.edu 

@earlgrey_incense

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