July 25, 2019
The idea of a female Thor and a bisexual Valkyrie have the Marvel fanboys in a state … but the franchise is just reflecting the way the world is
‘White, male and brawny feels tired’: is this the age of feminist Marvel movies?
Captain Marvel may have ruled the box office this spring, but Avengers: Endgame was still Iron Man and Captain America’s show. So when female fans woke up last Sunday to the news of a female Thor, a Black Widow movie and a bisexual Valkyrie, some wondered if they were still dreaming. The announcements at San Diego Comic-Con about Phase 4 of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) appeared to promise a more gender-balanced future.
The most prominent was that Natalie Portman’s Dr Jane Foster would take the hammer from Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, becoming Mighty Thor. Social media exploded and divided, with fanboys declaring that Marvel had gone “feminist”. There was an easy comeback: the Thor story is based on an existing comic book plotline in which Foster temporarily acquires Thor’s powers. But the decision to use that specific story still speaks volumes. It is far less well known than the Captain Marvel series and could easily have been overlooked in favour of another story with Hemsworth front and centre, keeping Portman’s character as the astrophysicist love-interest (or out of the picture entirely, which was the case in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok).
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