I’m fond of repeating Howard Taylor’s commentary of Man of Steel: “It would have been better in color.”
I’m liking the humour in Thor, and in most of the MCU. The first Thor film was pretty funny, but I think when Deadpool first hit the screens and made a fuck-ton of money, the producers really got on board with how much funny really works.
Just my tuppence.
I would argue that Taika Waiti’s contributions to the MCU are some of the best… I enjoy levity in things like superhero films/shows, honestly.
And for a non-superhero take on Thor, how about Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythologies!
Simonson’s run is anything but grimdark. It includes the storyline where Thor gets turned into a frog. And leads the Frogs of Central Park in a war against NYC’s sewer gators (Edit: it was rats, a Sewer Gater definitely appears but I remembered it wrong). Let that sink in. It’s basically a big, tongue in cheek pastiche of Red Wall.
Simonson is certainly more epic fantasy than MCU Thor. And Simonson takes the literary and folklore sources seriously. It’s just in those sources Thor is often portrayed as an idiot, and the butt of jokes.
The stuff in Simonson’s run focusing on Baldur, which is great, is a little more austere. But it more resembles Price Valiant and mid century Arthurian media than “Thor is a total badass who never laughs”.
Here’s the thing.
It’s certainly close to the Thor of my youth. And the Thor of the more recent comics too. Not many people I knew were reading Thor when I was a kid getting into comics. Late 80’s, early 90’s. Certainly not by the late 90’s and 00’s when I was in high school. When we did. They were re-prints of Simonson’s run.
Where again. There is a sizable story where Thor is a frog.
Anyone complaining that the MCU Thor has been ruined by not taking him seriously. Isn’t over familiar with the comics character. Nor the actual literary sources they draw from. The noise seems to be rising up from the “Marvel too woke” brats. Pissed that Thor isn’t a white supremacist fantasy.
Love and Thunder had me from the get-go. For me, it really found proper comedy gold in a cinematic universe that could easily have taken itself too seriously. The MCU doesn’t just have to be one thing, or one flavor. Of course, often we see movie franchises where the sequels take a different tone or tack, sometimes for the better, sometimes not, with each viewer deciding for themselves what’s what. Love and Thunder may not appeal to the same crowd who just want to see supes smash other supes, but for me, a long time nerdy-ass loner who hid in comic books, it was fun and funny.
For lovers of Norse mythology, there is at least one…no, two!..nods to the original myths that will have you howling. For myself, howls of glee.
I enjoy levity too. I’m a Superman and Fantastic Four guy over Batman and X-Men. In other words, I gravitate towards tonally and visually optimistic superheroes.
Puerile jokes that shoot out at rapid fire, on the other hand, are another matter entirely. Taika Waititi’s jokes undercut and belittle a characters, in my opinion. I personally think he’s a hack, but I know I’m the outlier on this one.
I think in 30 years, we’ll look back at his- and most of post 2014 Marvel- like we do with the Adam West Batman films compared to the Nolan or Reeves stuff. Campy pieces of disposable media that were beloved in their era, but utterly devoid of any strong message, metaphor, artistry, or innovative filmmaking.
But, again, that’s just my opinion.
Alan Moore also believes that they should have stopped making superhero comics after DC published Watchmen.
Moore is an OG, but he can be- and frequently is- wrong.
But, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Adam West Batman. I just don’t hold it in the same esteem as The Batman or The Dark Knight on a cinematic level. Plus, we had to spend years wiping away the stain those flicks left on the public consciousness.
Little confused. “Those flicks”? There was only one Adam West Batman movie, so you mean the TV shows?
If so, saying they left a stain on the public consciousness doesn’t sound like you LOVE Adam West, but maybe I’ve misunderstood.
I can appreciate different interpretations of Batman. I love the Adam West movie because I grew up with it. I’ll always have a nostalgic love for it.
That doesn’t mean I have to ignore the damage that it did to superheroes in the public consciousness. We’re still living in the fallout of “Biff” “Bam” “Pow”.
In fact, I’d argue that the super serious, ultra edgy, Zack Snyder type films are made in response to people reflexively associating superheroes with silliness. Guys like Synder are constantly trying to make superheroes “gritty” to justify their own interest in the characters.
“You think superheroes are for kids? Well, here’s Batman carrying a gun and doing drugs. This ain’t your dad’s Batman. This is HARDCORE !!!1!”
I think Zack Snyder and Taika Waititi are two ends of the same spectrum in superhero films, and I loathe them both. The middle path is where my heart lies.
TLDR; Superheroes are inherently silly. Thor is historically silly in Marvel and in his myths. But there’s a difference between jokes that serve a character and jokes that undermine them. Take a look at the difference between early Homer Simpson and "Jerk Ass" Homer Simpson. Just because a character has or can be silly doesn’t mean that all forms of silliness are equivalent or constructive.
Please. We’re aiming for a PG-13 rating.
I’m not sure I agree, at least on his previous films I’ve seen… Have you seen his film Hunt for the Wilderpeople? Pure optimistic magic!
I think phase 3 is relatively solid set of films. I thought they attempted to say something deeper with say, Civil War, where they attempted to wrestle with issues of state power and individual actions. Black Panther had some interesting things to say on state power and racism. And the debate it sparked over western imperialism and whether Killmonger was right was interesting. Not as deep as a high art film, but certainly not entire devoid entirely of meaning.
I also wouldn’t call it campy, either, but I have a high standard for what I consider camp! I am a huge John Waters fan, of course, and grew up watching low-budget horror and sci-fi films, so!
What, all this talk of Thor and no mention of the infinitely more interesting Ragnarok on Netflix?
That’s fair. I dig on some John Waters too.
I guess I’m very protective of superheroes because I had to battle all of the negative perceptions and associations of the genre in my youth. I would argue with lit teachers about the artistic merit of writers like Morrison and Waid. Whenever it seems like interlopers that don’t care about the characters start profiting off superheroes, I get a little prickly.
I’m still seething about “Love and Thunder” but I respect your reasons for digging it. I enjoy people enjoying stuff, ya know?
Gaiman has had a lot of fun with interpretations of that character over the years. I liked the part in the Sandman comics where he makes a drunken pass at Bast and almost gets his eyes clawed out.
Marvel owns your beloved character and is free to turn them into a living joke for a quick buck.
…is what it should say above the door of their writers room.
I have that book and it is great!!
Neil also points out that myths are to be told and retold in your own way, that’s what they are for. Retelling, not for keeping.
19 posts were split to a new topic: On #boing authors and their relationship with the community
Moving the “power dynamics” conversation to its own topic to keep the general discussion here focused on the original article.
And the letters page was full of readers complaining about it back then. I loved it.
Honestly, I worry about people who don’t like him.
I get that. I think all of us who grew up with genre fiction when it wasn’t as mainstream are probably feeling a bit torn about how popular they’re getting. I’m a huge Sandman fan, and I’m nervous about the show. I know that Neil Gaiman is deeply involved in it, so I’m sure it’s going to be great, but it also feels like I’m sharing something that’s really formative to who I am that was once part of a sort of subculture with the same mainstream culture that used to look down on that subculture…
I think what happened is that people like us ended up getting into academia and hollywood and trying to bring that to a larger audience - with mixed results.
Indeed! Sandman is rich with mythologies!
Well, no… expressing his opinion, which he’s entitled to. That’s pretty different from a teacher or professor using their position of expertise to dismiss literature. I may not fully agree with him, but he’s never acted like his opinion is fact, like some fanbois who pop up here from time to time like to do…