At the London premiere of Marvel’s latest CGI-laden film, Thor: Love and Thunder, an audience member asked, “How gay is the film?”
The world’s longest pause followed before director Taika Waititi singled out Natalie Portman, married to man and playing the female girlfriend of Thor, to answer the question. Looking unsure or embarrassed or both, she responded directly into the mic at half-volume: “So gay.”
“Super gay!” Waititi, who is engaged to Rita Ora, screamed into the mic. The crowd erupted in laughs and cheers.
Is Waititi right? Well, no, not at all. Thor: Love and Thunder confirms that Korg, the rock alien played by Waititi, comes from a species known as the Kronans, in which males reproduce with other males. How do they go about doing this, you may ask? By holding hands. Nice.
And what about Tessa Thompson’s character Valkyrie? In The Los Angeles Times, Thompson explained the allegedly queer Valkyrie's lack of partnership by saying, “I think there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I. But I also think [it’s important] not to hang the character’s hat solely on her sexual identity just because she’s a queer character. I think that’s one way of minimizing her humanity, actually, if that’s the only facet that you get to explore her in.”
That is so true. Let’s try to translate:
“I think there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I.”
“People wish these movies were gay. I do too.”
“But I also think [it’s important] not to hang the character’s hat solely on her sexual identity just because she’s a queer character.”
More important than that, it’s actually homophobic (jk… unless?) to define a character with her sexuality.
“I think that’s one way of minimizing her humanity, actually, if that’s the only facet that you get to explore her in.”
Not only is it homophobic, but it’s actually anti-human to want her to be gay rather than “on a journey,” as Thompson later states Valkyrie is.
Who do these people think they are, Kamala Harris? When addressing gay fans, the movie is “super gay,” when addressing the gay-skeptical, “that’s actually minimizing humanity,” and don’t forget, all of these movies are made such that gay moments can be edited out depending on the audience. So what’s the end game (ha) here? Should we stop looking to Marvel Studios for moral leadership and artistic courage or keep endlessly debating their mealy-worded excuses as though they are U.N. tribunal findings? Neither of these options feels very gay. Maybe we should all just rewatch Jackie.