Sunday, November 17, 2013

The 4 Ways Marvel Really Got Thor Wrong

Recently, Marvel Comics released their second movie about Thor. It’s part of their Avengers franchise of movies, which show very little scholarship about mythology. Many of us wonder if Marvel cares about anything more than making lots of money by way of vapid movies that are a lot of fun to watch. In doing so, they've utterly ruined the character forever. This must be remedied. Here are their four greatest transgressions.

Why would they do this to him?

1. Thor Speaks English At All
Some critics have pointed out that, historically, Marvel made Thor speak in a bad impression of Shakespearean English. A Norse god wouldn’t sound like Shakespeare. But this ignores the real contention: a Norse god wouldn’t be speaking English at all. He should be bantering in a dialect of Old Norse that’s unrecognizable even to modern Scandinavians. It would seriously help the authenticity of Marvel films if everything Thor said was utterly incomprehensible to any typical American moviegoer.

They didn't have contact lenses, either.

2. The Race Card
Some people have complained that Heimdall is blackwashed in the Thor movies, played by Idris Elba. Idris Elba is blacker than the average American imagines the average Icelander is. The average American doesn’t know much about how many ethnicities spread across Europe by the 13th century, and the average theologian has barely cracked why gods do anything, much less why they pick a specific skin tone or bone structure. However, Idris Elba has an amazing gravitas that we can all agree every god should have. Because Idris Elba is only one actor, most of the gods in the Thor movies don’t have this gravitas. Marvel screwed this up big time by not cloning Idris Elba.

No one asks if Tom Hiddleston is the right race to play a trickster god.

3. Thor Coexists With The Hulk
Look, it’s not that hard. The pre-Christian Nords didn’t know about radiation. There is nothing in their lore or cycles that references gamma waves or their implausible relationship to human emotion. The Incredible Hulk is simply irreconcilable with any of Thor’s mythology. Any modern science has no place in a shared universe with Thor, even science as miraculously bad as what supports the Hulk’s existence.

Yup. Pride, Instagram and Haar.

4. Thor Wasn’t a Comic Book Character
Our primary sources for the Norse gods are the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, and the Gesta Danorum. While some of the manuscripts in the Prose Edda were illuminated with beautiful imagery, the stories of Thor were never relayed in screen-printed sequential art. Frankly, everything Jack Kirby ever drew looked entirely inaccurate to visual stylings of the 13th century Scandinavians. Worse: they didn’t have movies. Making the things into movies is fundamentally inaccurate. If Marvel had any cultural sensitivity, they would force audiences at all their premieres to starve around camp fires in the middle of a blizzard and have Stan Lee recount the tales orally. He’d probably do it. He loves cameos.

This is actually 100% historically accurate.
It's my hope that by starting a dialogue about Marvel's failure to accurately capture their source material, that we will bring about change. By forcing blockbuster movies to be entirely accurate to someone else's vision, and by stripping anything that anyone was having fun with, we will create films that no one wants to see. And once no one will go see them, no one will ever complain about them again.

The future is in your hands, True Believers.

15 comments:

  1. Create films no one wants to see... Funny! That's why we are thankful Lucas no longer has anything to do with Star Wars.
    And everything is cool, John. I mentioned in my post last Monday I was on vacation. Just got back! Now I need another one...

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  2. I'm sorry, the minute I saw the first picture of Chris Hemsworth everything you said was just blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. You know, like Charlie Brown's teacher! Seriously, you're a funny guy, Mr. Wiswell. Thor is actually one of my favourite characters in the Marvel franchise - him and the dude in the iron suit. We're going to see the new Thor on Tuesday (cheap night) and can't wait!

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    1. I completely understand, Cathy. It's a common disability, and he is a stone cold cutie.

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  3. sir , if it wasn't for the Thor comics I read back in the 70's I would have never developed my love for Norse mythology and Asatru as a spiritual path, HAIL ODIN!

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    1. All roads to Beta Ray Bill are fine by me.

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  4. I am in total agreement with your closing statement. Why make movies people want to see? It's insane! ;)

    PS Did you know Thor and Loki are on twitter?

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  5. How many would travel in a blizzard to hear Stan Lee recount a tale? If nothing else, I enjoy his movie cameos.

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  6. Plus Thor is of the Aesir, gods said to have originated in Asia. So really the purists should be angry at both Marvel and the ancient Norse for depicting him as a blonde European instead of an Asian.

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  7. Nice! Can we get you to reply about some the terrible inaccuracies of other blockbuster films? I’m sure that there’s a large audience that would love to not see the next installment of the Sherlock Holmes franchise.

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    1. The films? That would be me, because though I love Holmes, I hate what they did with him in the latest films. I've only ever seen the first one, though.

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  8. Interesting point of view. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. You bring Stan, I'll bring the smores. :)

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  10. ...Or they screwed it up by blackwashing a canonically white character, something that would be seen as completely unforgivably were the races revered.

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