uhura: fierce

Dear Thor, wtf?

Every time I go to see a movie, I am reminded by why I do not go to see movies: they make me feel old and curmudgeonly because I invariably dislike films most people enjoy, and they make me feel like the evil shrew of feminism because I get pissed off somewhere in the previews about the number and quality of roles for women. And really, Thor was no exception.

1. If you want to make a political thriller set in the kingdom of the Norse gods, go ahead. If you want to tell the goofy story of a Norse god forced to function in the human realm, also go ahead. Not in the same movie though.

2. If you want us to connect to your zany kingdom of Norse gods, you have to make sure we connect with the characters there on an emotional level. Note characters, plural. If we can't connect to them as people, we mostly look at your zany kingdom of Norse gods and think, wtf?

3. FROST GIANTS???!!! Really? The best enemy you could think of looks like Darth Maul and has the "superpowers" of Mr. Freeze?!

4. Ensemble casts are only interesting if you have time to give everyone a bit of a story. WARRIOR WHO EATS and WARRIOR WHO IS FEMALE does not constitute characterization.

5. Everything in your movie was just familiar enough to feel derivative. The kingdom of the gods? A little to LOTR. The frost giants? I'm pretty sure I've seen something that looks like that on Buffy. Also, see above about Darth Maul.

6. I am really tired of seeing waif-like women crying over the not-really-dead body of their loves. Just sayin'. For one achingly beautiful moment, I thought that hammer was going to come flying into Natalie Portman's hands. I don't know why I thought it would, but it would have been neat. And really, movie, you did a better job with ladies than most. Still, I wanted Natalie to get that hammer...

7. Is it important in some way that Loki is a frost monster? I don't think so. Actually, I don't think anything that happened in the realm of the gods was important except for Thor getting banished. Too bad you had to tell me about it.

8. Good superheroes are ambiguous characters. Like, say, Tony Stark, who edges a little closer to redemption in every movie without ever quite getting there. Thor's emotional arc goes like this: ME LIKE HAMMER. SMASH SMASH SMASH!!! NOW THOR SORRY. THOR CHANGE. Now add stirring music and a really "touching" father/son scene at end just in case some audience members did not understand. Now add cheesy music in case some audience members still did not understand.

9. Dear Thor, Natalie Portman is not in love with you. She just thinks you're hot. Oh wait, according to the script she does love you after all. Sigh.

10. I just have to say it again: FROST MONSTERS?!

Also, why is it that the only female avenger is the one who doesn't merit her own film? And why does the (male) physics professor from Thor, who is not a very interesting character, get to be in the Avengers film but Pepper Pots does not? Sometimes these comic book super hero movies make me feel sad and trapped. I love the genre, but because we're recycling material from a much less enlightened age, of course none of the films are about women. They contain women, sometimes very cool ones, but they are not about women, and that is sad.
Haven't seen the movie, but the frost giants are from Nordic mythology, so that's probably why they chose them. Their home was Jotunheim. Similarly, Loki being a frost giant is important in the mythology. It sets him a bit apart from the other gods and is a source of him not quite fitting in - he later murders Balder, one of the gods, out of jealousy. He is the herald of ragnarok, the end of the world, as well.

That's not to say that the movie - or rather the comic on which it's based - hasn't changed around a load of things. Nordic gods are not aliens, for one thing. But they did also use some elements that are in our mythology, so it's not out of nowhere. It's out of my cultural heritage, some of this.
Yeah, I feel like the problem with the film was that they tried to include ALL the mythology, even parts that didn't make sense to the overall narrative arc. Like, there's this huge scene where Loki finds out his true heritage, but it's forgotten five minutes later because it has nothing to do with the plot of the film. The frost giants probably just needed to be done better -- in the film, they were campy and non-threatening, so it was hard to see why they would even have been enemies. I think they could have made a really cool film about Loki's heritage and the political intrigue surrounding who would become king, but they went so far over the top it was ridiculous, and they split the focus too much to develop a good story.
There is some indication that Joss is talking with ScarJo about giving Black Widow her own movie, though nothing's confirmed.

And I see misscam said what I was going to observe about the Frost Giants and Loki's role.


Yes, it would have been mightily cool if she'd gotten Thor's hammer. And I'm really not looking forward to Cap. And there's a part of me really wants to see the X-men reboot, but I'd much rather someone went ahead and made an X-men movie set during the time Storm was the leader of the X-men and powerless because she was bad-ass.
Yeah, my problem with what they took from mythology was that they crammed in a lot that wasn't relevant to the story. Like Loki's parentage came out in this massive emotional scene but it had nothing to do with the plot of the film. And maybe the frost giants just needed to be better done? They were so campy it was hard to feel threatened by them, or to see why anyone else would have been.

It would be awesome if Joss made a Black Widow movie!
Haven't seen Thor. Don't want to see Thor. But...

I share your bitterness over a lack of female superhero movies. I mean, seriously. They've rebooted Batman twice on the big screen. They're rebooting Spiderman for a second time, and Superman for a THIRD time.


We're not even going to get the tv serious now. I have had it with superhero flicks. (Except possibly X-Men because, yay! Mystique! - but we'll see what sort of reviews the new film gets.)
The problem with WW is that she lacks a central villain (Thor v Loki, Batman v Joker, Spiderman v Goblin). When she started out she was fighting Nazis, which if they use makes her outdated and if they update means she's fighting terrorists(?).

Villains make or break superhero movies, it's why Wonderwoman, the Flash, Powergirl, etc don't get the movie treatment.
Ares? Cheetah? Or they could simply invent a villain.

Wonder Woman didn't just fight Nazis. She protected the environment sometimes, and stood up for women's rights. The reason there's no Wonder Woman movie is because nobody wants to invest in a film about a female superhero because they think it won't sell.
Yea but WW will never be able to battle Nazism, pollution and misogyny one on one, they're concepts she can't punch them and "win" that's what moviemakers base their plotlines on.

Ares is almost as much a concept and has constantly shifting motives; Cheetah starts as a delusional debutante (1 and 2), then she's a fake Lara Croft that WW has to occasionally rescue. And if they invent a villain than all the current WW fans are going to be mad, wondering who this new person is.
So, update the villains. If you're going to update the superhero, the villains need a modern spin too. Or have the film set in the past so she can fight Nazis. I'm sorry, but I just can't believe Hollywood screenwriters couldn't come up with something plausible if they really wanted to make a movie about this particular character. Or any female superhero.
But screenwriters aren't the ones that make movies, producers are and they don't do it for the story; they do it for the cash. When a superhero fits a profitable plotline they get a movie made, WW doesn't so they have no in incentive to made her movie.
But she could, which is what I'm saying. If producers and all the rest were willing to promote a female superhero as the star of her own film. Which they aren't. Hence, no film.
I don't think I agree with this. Captain America fights Nazis, and he still gets a film. They found a way to make that work with the Avengers plot, and people make films about Nazis all the time. And it wouldn't be that hard for them to create a new villain for her if they wanted her to live in contemporary society. That's what writers do, especially now that rebooting old stories is so popular.
But Cap's story is an origin one which is easy. Except for WW's which, even for comics, is fairy extensive. Her story is basically the origins of her entire society.

They do make Nazi movies but as regular guy v evil Nazis not superpowered hero v regular powered baddies. It make the hero look ineffective because they can't beat the enemy, which sucks because heroes can't exactly punch a concept. And, they may elevate a secondstringer (Ironman) but I can't think of a movie that introduced a new villain.
I'm with thistlerose. Writers are writers precisely because they are creative individuals who can work around storytelling issues like these. When you make movies about nearly every male superhero who ever existed and none about the women, the issue is something greater than a writing challenge: it's sexism.
I don't want to cut-paste my reply to thistlerose but, writers don't make movies. I'd argue that if the comic writers positioned WW in a more movie accessible plotline than the movie would get made. Because then the producers would see the appeal and hire some writers to get in on screen.
This made me giggle, because my mind was in the same place yours was. Except when I was done, I thought, "hmm, that was a bland movie" and promptly forgot nearly all of it.
Yeah, I definitely agree that the Random Cast of Gods who are neither Thor nor Loki were . . . kind of useless.

Overall I kind of enjoyed the movie--it wasn't great but I didn't think it was terrible--but all of your criticisms ring true. *sigh*
I felt like the movie couldn't decided whether it wanted to be Serious Business or Embrace the Crack - it just didn't hit that balance that Iron Man rocked at. I remember exchanging at least half a dozen glances with my husband while watching, because, seriously, why the hell were they pretending that this isn't ridiculous? Also, I think hope that there were some Thor/Natalie Portman scenes cut, because the romantic subplot made no sense as shown.

I'm hoping they don't screw up Captain America. I have hopes - it's a good origin story, and come on, Nazis and WW2. It's a gimme. But, Hollywood, yadda yadda.
I'm okay with Black Widow not having her own movie, because I can live without two-and-a-half hours of Male Wet Dream and Scarlett Johansson's acting skills discarded in the name of black leather and her boobs. But I hear you. It is really aggravating that there is nothing remotely redeeming for women in these films, like the comics before them. We're getting every male superhero imaginable, even the less interesting, most poorly imagined ones....and we still don't have a workable Wonder Woman reboot. WTF.

Edited at 2011-05-29 11:00 pm (UTC)
Someone did mention that Joss Whedon might do a Black Widow movie, and I believe he could do that well. I don't think I've ever seen him exploit a female hero.
I waited to see this until I'd read the movie, and yes, you are absolutely right. God, what an AWESOME movie it could have been even with all its flaws to that point if Jane had gotten the hammer. *sigh*

Somebody pointed out that the B5 writer (I'd just mess up spelling his name) was involved in this movie and that the ice giants looked kind of like the Narn?
You're so right! Every time I looked at them, I kept wondering where I'd seen them before - it was so distracting!