A new photo was released of Natalie Portman as Thor in the new Thor. You might wonder: I thought Chris Hemsworth was Thor? They’re both Thor: it is a name and a title. The new photo of Portman as Thor (the title) features, as did the last one of her in the film, sporting tanned, buff arms like many of the hairless Marvel men before her.
Included and beneath tweets of the jacked and self-serious Portman, sitting or standing or doing whatever she will now do as Thor, people write stuff like, “I can’t breathe,” or “I’m gay now,” or some semi-coherent version of their own excitement that Portman has returned to the franchise. Here is the thing, though: these people are lying.
Here are some sample lies:
Funny tweet if considered isolated, but a lie otherwise.
It doesn’t but if it does, stay there!!!
Girls don’t want this actually, because girls are hyper-aware of the intense, and likely dangerous body manipulation that male stars of Marvel films go through to get their bodies in shape in order to stand in front of a green screen wearing a plastic suit.
Portman is an multi-talented, Oscar-winning actress, known far beyond her Star Wars and now Marvel roles for having worked with Mike Nichols, Darren Aronofsky, Wong Kar-Wai, Wes Anderson, and Terrence Malick. Portman once said “sci-fi anthems” in Vox Lux, a movie about Jude Law vaping. Portman is a nervy, technical actress, known for precise, intense character work. Love Jackie or hate Jackie, you can’t deny that she was Jackie.
It's impossible to believe that what people want from Portman — who Thor director Taika Waititi is promising is “really funny” in the movie (she is funny in every movie) — is for her to get jacked. It is similarly tough to believe that people are happy about two minutes of Michael Stuhlbarg in the new Doctor Strange, or Rachel Weisz in Black Widow. Enough time has passed under the tedious reign of Disney’s superhero movies that we know legitimately great and versatile actors are wasted, smoothed out and plumped up, for less than ten minutes of screentime. Maybe if this was 2009, but if this was 2009, we would all still be tweeting hashtag jokes.
And so people lie, because the Internet is full of lies, and it feels better to lie about this instead of post, “this is a massive bummer AND it made me gay.” But you don’t have to lie for Marvel, or for Disney, unless they are paying you, in which case: carry on.