I watched Thor: Love And Thunder last week at the London Leicester Square Cineworld IMAX screening. You may have heard the complaints, I am sure. "Thor: Love And Thunder is just Disney woke-go-broke leftist propaganda because it has a woman Thor and two MCU gay characters.". Well, let me reassure anyone with such worries; Thor: Love And Thunder is the very least woke Marvel movie ever made.
Because sure, it has Natalie Portman as Jane Foster as Thor. It has Valkyrie fully established as a bisexual character. And has Korg's race established as male only, though able to reproduce together and to see him in a loving relationship with one such fellow? But woke? "Alert to injustice in society?" No, no, and thrice no.
Two big reasons. First is Gorr, The God Butcher. A believer in his gods, whose daughter dies in his arms, only to discover that the gods never cared about him, their promises of eternal life were bogus, and they laugh in his face. And giving himself a mission to kill all gods as a result. He's a bad guy with a point, but his point is never actually tackled. We are shown many gods, all of whom are awful to a deity, who compete over the number of human sacrifices to this day. Who are vain, greedy, cowardly, and lacking in responsibility. And even Thor admits that the Norse gods used to eat children. Basically, Gorr is right; he is fighting against the original patriarchy, he is labelled the villain, and the film has its protagonists fight against him without at any point acknowledging that Gorr is… right. Gorr's position isn't even countered, just a platitude, "why not love instead of hate." Which isn't great when the thing you hate is terrible, and you can do something about it.
Secondly, the film gratuitously lionises, promotes, and celebrates child soldiers. When we first meet Thor, it is as a baby being carried into battle. Yes, it's cute and hilarious, but also troubling in a way that is never addressed. Thor helps a bunch of children go to war with whatever weapon they have to hand at a time when they aren't in immediate danger, just so as to give Thor some cover. Basically, they are child human sacrifices who get lucky, fighting to save the very Gods who might sacrifice them. But even when the battle is done, the continuing training of children for battle at Asgard continues. And the movie concludes with a child who has been turned into a warrior, fighting in the biggest of battles, now their life. This is the movie's happy ending. I am going to say now that the promotion of child soldiers without criticism or even acknowledgment that there may be an issue here is "the least alertness to injustice in society" thing a Marvel movie has ever done.
It's really, really weird! Great music, though. Thor: Love And Thunder is on general release now.