There are more than 20 Academy Award-winning actors who are inexplicably in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead of using their generational talents to advance cinema as an art form, they are putting on silly little costumes and yelling about infinity stones in front of a greenscreen. It’s a sad state of affairs.
Natalie Portman was once one of those actors, appearing in the first two Thor movies before finally escaping from Marvel’s grasp to deliver nuanced performances in movies made for adults. The intellectual thespian — she graduated from Harvard, remember — spent that time making weird, cool movies like Jackie, Annihilation, and Vox Lux. She had the hard-earned reputation as an actor’s actor, a French choreographer for a husband, an Instagram book club — what more could she need?
The answer, apparently, is a big, fat paycheck.
The teaser trailer for Taika Waititi’s upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder was released today, and at the very end you catch a glimpse of the three-time Oscar-nominated Portman dressed as the titular Norse god, wielding Mjölnir (that’s the hammer). It’s truly devastating.
This is my formal plea to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige: Enough. Free our finest actors from this hell you’ve created. I say actors (plural) not because I think Chris Hemsworth is a once-in-a-lifetime talent, but because there is another Oscar winner in this cast. Take a guess. You’ll never get it.
Trick question: There are actually two more Academy Award winners joining the MCU in this movie. Did you guess Christian Bale, starring as “Gorr the God Butcher”? Or maybe you went with the more obvious answer of “Russell Crowe as Zeus”? Between the two of them, they have two Oscars, another five nominations, three Golden Globes, and one AARP Movies for Grownups award. Apparently that is not enough to shield you from having to do comic book movies.
What is there to be done here? Well, probably nothing. This is just what movies are now. The only saving grace of finding out that Natalie Portman is appearing in the next Thor installment is that I also learned she is going to be in a Todd Haynes movie with Julianne Moore. Now that is cinema.