As the Marvel Cinematic Universe marches on, directors have been given a tiny bit of leeway to add their personal touch to the franchise, lest the formula get so stale that it stops being profitable. Chloé Zhao got to use natural lighting for Eternals. Sam Raimi made Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness more of a horror piece. And Taika Waititi is infusing the Thor series with a something sorely lacking in most comic book adaptations: sex appeal. At the end of the trailer for the forthcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, the Norse god, portrayed by a sculpted Chris Hemsworth, is disrobed before a crowd, many of whom faint with pleasure at his nude figure.
So, is it a moderately risqué gag for a PG-13 audience? Or could it be — wait for it — evidence that we don’t respect men’s privacy and autonomy? Let’s ask Reddit, I’m sure they have a take:
In fairness to this critic, r/shittymoviedetails is a forum where you identify and create deliberately stupid film trivia and Easter eggs. He acknowledged that this post is a “dumb joke,” but at the same time, he didn’t back down. While Hemsworth of course had the choice of whether to do the scene, he wrote, that wasn’t the point — it’s that the character, Thor, chained in place, had his clothes torn off without consent, to be objectified by a crowd. He’s actually mad about this!
Predictably, the opinion has spread. A handful of Marvel fans on Twitter are condemning the scene as offensive, and you can find a lot of them by searching their favorite catchphrase: “double standard.” It seems that if you have no problem with helpless naked Thor being admired by women, you are part of an institutional problem. Male superheroes are not your sex dolls.
I wonder if any of these dudes have noticed how women tend to look and behave in this kind of blockbuster. Also, one of the characters checking out Thor’s dong in that trailer is played by Natalie Portman, who had part of a skin-tight outfit ripped off by a monster in a Star Wars prequel — would they care to register the same complaint? The way this kind of guy cherry-picks and bemoans “misandry” in media, you just know he masturbates to famous women’s leaked nudes on the reg. Besides, I don’t think any of us need to be worried that we’ll find ourselves in a tribunal before Zeus. What happens in Marvel says very little about society.
I’m not sure how I can help anyone who cares that a Thor sequel may feature his CGI-enhanced butt for a split second — let alone thinks it’s a huge moral failing for the entertainment industry — though I’d discourage them from watching any films made for adults, since they’re full of gratuitous, exploitative nudity. And as far as the outrage at making the male body into a “joke,” I hate to break it to you: We’ve been waggling our dicks at each other for a laugh since we were monkeys.
Try the advice you’re always giving everyone else — get over it.