Last Monday was my 63rd birthday and the day before to celebrate I went and saw Thor: Love and Thunder. Which was a pretty big deal, seeing as how I hadn’t seen the inside of a movie theater since 2019’s Frozen II and I really love going to the movies. I love the whole movie-going experience; arriving 20 minutes early to get the snacks, find the perfect seat, then mock trailers for films you’ll never see, many of which are too ludicrous to be real -- but somehow are. And the credits; you’ve got to stay for the credits! Not to see the inevitable post-credit scene, I mean, sure, you’ll want to see that, but mostly because people who really love movies stay for the credits.
Over those two years, I’ve wanted to see a lot of movies, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Eternals, and most recently Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. But an overabundance of COVID-related caution has kept me at home all these months. So, what was it about Thor: Love and Thunder that made me throw aside all of that caution? Well, it is a sequel to Thor Ragnarok, which in my opinion is one of the best, and definitely the funniest of the MCU movies, and its also directed by the great Taika Waititi. So, I avoided the opening weekend to avoid a crowded house the same way I carefully avoided all spoilers and reviews afterward.
I like to say nothing can “spoil” a movie for me, but I didn’t want to chance it with this one as I found myself in the unfamiliar position of having unreserved great expectations for a movie. I had also didn’t click on any of the reviews, which were decidedly mixed, with the negative ones being spectacularly over the top. From the headlines I was assured “this movie hates you”, that it was “a mess” and “hot garbage”; one person even compared it to dog excrement.
And it wasn’t until I had seen the movie, I avoided reading about the controversy over just how “gay" Thor: Love and Thunder is. Both director and actress Natalie Portman have called it “super gay” in interviews, but there are online pieces that accuse it of queerbaiting and pandering. And, naturally the conservative organization One Million Moms is demanding the film be boycotted for “pushing the LGBTQ agenda.” The OMM websiteidentifies the “queer themes” that appear in the movie:
- “The alien character named Korg mentions having two dads, and he has hand sex with another member of his species.”
- “The bisexual goddess, King Valkyrie, kisses another woman’s hand to show interest.”
- “An Asgardian kid insists on going by a gender-neutral name.” (Actually, the name in question is “Astrid” which means either “divine beauty” (explaining why it’s exclusively a girl’s name) or “divine strength”, making it, as Thor points out, “a good Viking name.” Astrid decides he wants to be called “Axl”, for Axl Rose, which is a Hebrew boys name that translates as “father is peace.”)
- “And the gay romantic tension between Thor and Star-Lord is apparent but played off as a gag.”
But after seeing Thor: Love and Thunder, not only don’t I know what those people were thinking, I don’t even know what movie they saw because the one I did was great.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.