Thor Rescues Woman Who Should Save Herself

Nathan Fisher

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Illustration by Lya Hernandez

Think about the formula for some of the most successful movies in recent history: a little humor, maybe a touch of violence and throw in a superpower or two and I’m sold. Add in Marvel’s magic and the whole world will line up to see the movie. This past week I donned my Avengers t-shirt and headed down to the theater to see “Thor: The Dark World,” the newest installment in the Marvel Universe.

Although not my favorite superhero (or actor), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is arguably one of the hottest hunks, and combining his caveman-like acting abilities and muscles, he wins over and saves Natalie Portman’s character, Jane Foster. In between the humorous interactions and constant death, destruction and mayhem, I had this gnawing irritation with the “damsel in distress” theme in this film. Really, aren’t we over the notion that women can’t fight for themselves?

First a little context: “Thor 2” is set after “The Avengers” with Thor back home in his own world, Asgard. Naturally we just so happen to be witnessing the “lining up” of all nine realms/worlds which, for some reason, wreaks havoc on physics on Earth (one of the nine realms) and creates the perfect opportunity for someone to take control over the universe. If that didn’t make sense, it’s probably because the screenwriters didn’t bother to explain exactly what this gobbledygook means. All you need to know is that a dark, evil power just happened to pick Natalie Portman’s character as a host, causing an evil alien to awaken from a 5,000 year slumber and try to reclaim the power from Portman in order to rule over all nine realms. And who comes to save the day? Well that hunk of a Viking Thor, with his gigantic muscles and flowing mane!

You would think that a smart, successful woman like Portman’s character would be able to fend for herself, but apparently she still needs a muscular manly man to save the day. When Jane has the evil power inside of her, Thor literally swoops in and grabs her. Although it’s been two years since they’ve last seen each other, she doesn’t exactly put up a fight before they make out. Evil power after evil power try to kill Jane, but Thor always swoops in to save her. At one point Jane tries to save Thor, but is even powerless to move him an inch! Thor constantly watches over Jane. Not once is a woman given power and rewarded for it.

While for the most part the violence and humor of the movie masked this misogynistic theme, “Thor 2” was not kind to women. Apparently in the world of Thor, if a woman wants to be with a man, she has to either act like a man, or act like she needs him to save her. The whole point of “Thor 2” was Thor saving Jane from death. Because a brilliant physicist who knows everything about the universe is realistically unable to save herself! 

Now, although I was slightly peeved, I definitely enjoyed “Thor: The Dark World” even though the plot was predictable and half of the characters looked like they were taken out of “Lord of the Rings,” “Star Wars” or “Star Trek.” The highlight of the movie was Thor’s sassy brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Loki steals the show with his wit and humor. While Thor may not be my favorite Avenger (cough, cough Iron Man), I had more fun the second time around than I did the first. But please, Natalie Portman, you are a strong, smart and savvy woman who should demand that your character at least partially fights her own battles.

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