You might have been following the news recently when there was talk of Valkyrie in Thor Ragnarok being bisexual. You, like me, might have seen the movie and thought ‘well, when it comes to representation, that was a whole lot of nothing’. Later interviews revealed that the scene had been cut for timing, or pacing, or such. However, it might have struck you about how often that we might hear about a character potentially being LGBT or such in a major blockbuster and then nothing comes of it. And why you may ask?
[Spoilers for Thor Ragnarok]
So, some weeks ago I was watching the latest offering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe about a superhero whose mythos and supporting cast are drawn from Norse mythology. Here’s the thing. I know most of the work of director Taika Waititi and eagerly awaited Thor Ragnarok purely because of the comedy stylings of its director meeting the solid structure powerhouse that is Marvel Studios. The film was loved for its humour and action. For my money, it’s not my favourite Taika Waititi film (What We Do in the Shadows) or my favourite Marvel movie (Captain America The First Avenger), but that’s a matter of personal taste and there’s certainly lots to love about the film. The thing I want to discuss in regards to Thor Ragnarok is a couple of scenes in particular. However, first, I have to talk about Hela.
So, at this point in history, we’re nine years in and sixteen films deep (seventeen as of Thor Ragnarok) with this Marvel Cinematic Universe thing. Next year will mark the ten-year anniversary of the MCU and the culmination of an arc that started in the first Avengers film. With the MCU officially being the biggest grossing film franchise of all time, the question might arise: how did they do it? It might seem obvious in retrospect that the MCU is the biggest franchise in the world but this has only been the state of the world for about five years. There are a few things I want to look at with this piece, all tying back to the central idea: The Marvel Experiment. What were the risks? How did they pay off? How did they not? Finally, what makes the whole universe tick? How does this monolith shake off the legitimate critiques of its world, i.e. lacklustre villains, same-y plots, and the like?
So, YouTube is a thing. Like all Internet things, it can be hard to navigate the area without some guidance. So, I’ve come here to guide you through possibly the first part in a series about the YouTubers who have educated and influenced me. If any of them interest you, be sure to give them a look.
From the desk of Hugh Williams – Head of Finance at MI6
Costing of last mission – to be raised with Mallory:
- Q Branch
- Exploding pen – £62
- Cufflinks, filled with nerve gas – £131.20
- Aston Martin V8 Vantage, plus accessories and weapons – £246,996
- Walther PPK, with biometric scanner in handle (plus ammunition) – £623.10
- Holsters (shoulder and leg) – £116
- Damages to country infrastructure
- Soviet-era tank, hijacked and driven through downtown Kiev – £38,605.80
- 18 civilian vehicles, insurance payouts – £160,564.90
- 3 local police cars, insurance payouts – £33, 812.90
- Damage to local roads – £6,4001,948.25
- Damage to private property – £39,385,814.30
- JB, personal expenses
- Salary – £1,538
- Flights – £382.20
- Equipment (see Q Branch a-e, shipping and handling costs) – £672.80
- 3 tailor made suits – £11,666.70
- Rolex watch – £27,170
- Firearm licence (domestic) – £62
- Hotel Room, five nights (+ lost deposit) – £3,171.45
- Meal costs – £2,500
- Casino money (to infiltrate criminal organisation) – £9,156,946.40
- Healthcare plan (venereal diseases) – £256.30
- 7 Vodka Martinis, shaken, not stirred – £140
- 6 Heinekens – £8
- 3 shots of vodka – £21
- Total costings – £113,073,209.30
So, we’re about nine years into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with sixteen films under their belts. We’re about five years in from the Hollywood-shattering movie that was The Avengers. This will be the first year that three MCU films will be released in the same year. With Thor Ragnarok coming out later this year, and being directed by one of my favourite contemporary directors, I thought I’d look back at the first Thor film and uncover the thinking behind the film; how it works to its own goals and to the wider goals of the MCU.
The first Thor film was notably directed by Kenneth Branagh, which might seem like an odd choice. The dude known for mostly doing Shakespearean films decides to do a superhero film about Norse Gods. On the surface of it, it doesn’t make sense. However, there is method to Marvel’s madness.
[Author’s Note: Because of the readily available information on film, Hollywood, and demographics of America, most statistics given are relevant to that scope. However, that doesn’t undermine the central point, if anything it makes it stronger with the monolithic nature of American culture in the current world landscape.]
So, the somewhat recent Doctor Who recasting sparked a wildfire of debate about gender bending traditionally masculine characters. Now, look, in my original draft of this piece I was very unfair towards those who were against the decision. I want this article to be more even handed, because I get how it can seem. If you focus on what is being taken away, it can seem unfair. Like Dudley Dursley bemoaning that he has one less present than last year, rather than focusing on the increased size of some of the presents. You know.