State of the Space Gay
November 8, 2017 11:16 AM   Subscribe

 
People who write about representation in blockbusters forget that these movies rack in huge money in markets like Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia. There will never be queerness in a Marvel movie that can't be edited out in post in all of two seconds.
posted by lilies.lilies at 11:20 AM on November 8, 2017 [23 favorites]


Which makes the "quietly the queerest superhero movie yet" thing kind of silly.
posted by lilies.lilies at 11:21 AM on November 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


I just ship every character I ever encounter on screen.

EVERYONE. CONSTANTLY. IN. MY. BRAIN.
posted by Fizz at 11:24 AM on November 8, 2017 [17 favorites]


It doesn't solve the problem of poor representation. But it helps me feel better in my head-space.
posted by Fizz at 11:24 AM on November 8, 2017 [9 favorites]


I'll tell you what it is not quiet about: Decolonization.

Maybe it's because it's a theory that's so far outside the mainstream that it could be the entire theme of the movie and nobody would notice, but this is literally a film about a colonial power that has hidden its past in a series of self-congratulatory myths.

And it's about the people who benefit from that history, but how the legacy of violence cannot be completely contained, and not only can return to continue to act in support of colonization, but subtly deforms the world around them so that even those who benefit from it suffer from it as well.

And the only way to solve the problem is literally to destroy the colonial institutions, even at the cost of losing land you think is yours and institutions that give you benefits. Even at the cost of becoming refugees.

I guess its not surprising that this is the plot of the movie, given that Taika Waititi is Maori and Jewish. But it's not even subtext! It's the whole freaking movie!
posted by maxsparber at 11:30 AM on November 8, 2017 [127 favorites]




The *other* thing I thought was striking about the decolonization theme was the garbage planet. Wormholes through space used to ... dump trash! With an economy apparently based on the heaps! Turns the Pacific Gyre soup up to eleven.
posted by clew at 11:36 AM on November 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


I can't remember the last time I so thoroughly enjoyed being schooled for my privilege.
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 11:42 AM on November 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'm an MCU fan who would fucking love to see queer characters explicitly on screen in the MCU. But I've long accepted that the best we will likely get is a tertiary canon queer character who has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it confirmation of their queerness, and it's all because $$$$$$. Or, if I'm really dreaming big, we'll get a queer main character, but it's going to be in the likes of a movie like Ant-Man or one of the TV offshoots, where they can be easily shuffled aside or forgotten under the deluge of the rest of the MCU's content.

It's obnoxious, particularly after, say, the press and review cycle for Captain America: Civil War, where the directors and writers went on about the totes PLATONIC love story of Steve and Bucky, and just about every damn reviewer was politely baffled by how unnecessary and shoehorned in the movie's obligatory heterosexuality was. Marvel, you cannot build the entire Captain America trilogy on the foundation of "Steve loves Bucky and will do increasingly insane things to save him" and then stick your head in the sand when some of the fans quite logically decide it's the epic love story of the MCU, and ask you to #GiveCapABoyfriend.

Queer readings of these movies and characters aren't and shouldn't be punchlines, and I get the sense that way too many of the studio and network higher ups still think of them that way. But it's not weird and unsupported to see the spark of a potential romantic relationship in Tony Stark and Bruce Banner's friendship. It's not just a joke to call Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson's first meeting in Captain America: The Winter Soldier a flirty meetcute. And would it have been a joke, or a distraction, if in Thor: Ragnarok we saw literally five seconds of Valkyrie grieving her romantic partner with a kiss on the battlefield in that flashback? Because no one would have thought so if it was a het relationship.
posted by yasaman at 11:56 AM on November 8, 2017 [18 favorites]


Also, another way in which Thor: Ragnarok was unexpectedly queer: Thor: Ragnarok should be renamed The Castration of Thor, because there was a lot of symbolic unmanning going on. Thor is stripped of a good deal of his hypermasculinity, and by the end, that's all framed as a net positive, and as what helps make him truly kingly.
posted by yasaman at 12:00 PM on November 8, 2017 [34 favorites]


Turns the Pacific Gyre soup up to eleven


Also very much like the shipbreaking and electronics stripping industries in places like Bangladesh.


Honestly, I'm just happy that Waititi went full Kirby.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:04 PM on November 8, 2017 [13 favorites]


Around the time that both Valkyrie and Thor leapt into the hold of the Grandmaster’s party ship and almost accidentally kissed, it struck me that according to the chronology of the movie, Valkyrie was already a disillusioned retiree by the time Thor was born. A May-December romance with Tessa Thompson as December!
posted by ejs at 1:06 PM on November 8, 2017 [6 favorites]


Thor and his magic patu: notes on a very Māori Marvel movie

Good On Ya, Mate: Taika Waititi’s Very Kiwi THOR: RAGNAROK -"The film's central revelation - that the legend of a benevolent Odin and Asgard ruling realms joined in peace is a lie, and that those realms were conquered by force - reflects British colonialism so perfectly it virtually had to come from a person of colour in the Commonwealth. "
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:11 PM on November 8, 2017 [20 favorites]


Isn't "Good on ya, mate" an Australian thing?
posted by Grangousier at 1:22 PM on November 8, 2017


I'll tell you what it is not quiet about: Decolonization.

Thank you! As I was watching it I kept thinking "is the subtext here colonization? that's unexpected"

But it's not even subtext! It's the whole freaking movie!

Well there is punching. It is a Marvel movie.
posted by GuyZero at 1:24 PM on November 8, 2017 [6 favorites]


And a joke about Hulks dick.
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2017


Where's the communism?
posted by Samizdata at 1:32 PM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


Krag is bringing it.
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on November 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


Where's the communism?

Korg wants YOU for a revolution! Doug will be there, bring a friend.
posted by yasaman at 1:48 PM on November 8, 2017 [10 favorites]


Thor's hair was cut. Not cool. Thor should not be hipster-washed.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:51 PM on November 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy. Unless the enemy is Hela. Hela crushes the hammer.
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 1:56 PM on November 8, 2017


Thor: Ragnarok Is Quietly the Queerest Superhero Movie Yet

Batman and Robin was too loud to make the list?
posted by straight at 2:10 PM on November 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


Huh, sounds like it might actually be worth watching this film sometime before "I'm bored, clicking around looking for something to watch and realize there's a 'new' MCU film I can watch for no extra charge" time rolls around. Not that I expect it will be done well or anything.

On another level, I'm thinking "can't fantasy just be fantasy without also being an allegory for awful shit in the real world?" Still, I realize that's just me remembering a nonexistent past. That I once failed to understand the subtext in many fantasy stories does not mean it wasn't there all along. It was, I just didn't get it, being a child.
posted by wierdo at 2:44 PM on November 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


That I once failed to understand the subtext in many fantasy stories does not mean it wasn't there all along.

Having re-watched Krull recently, let me reassure you that there was no allegory I could discern. sadly it is no longer available free on Crackle
posted by GuyZero at 2:51 PM on November 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


Thor: Ragnarok Is Quietly the Queerest Superhero Movie Yet

Batman and Robin was too loud to make the list?
posted by straight at 5:10 PM on November 8 [+] [!]


Eponysterical.
posted by Fizz at 2:54 PM on November 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


can't fantasy just be fantasy without also being an allegory for awful shit in the real world?

Tolkein was adamant that his books were not allegories. Of course, he was racist against orcs anyway.
posted by maxsparber at 2:55 PM on November 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


Not that I expect it will be done well or anything.

There are a number of Marvel movies really worth watching.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:23 PM on November 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


People who write about representation in blockbusters forget that these movies rack in huge money in markets like Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia. There will never be queerness in a Marvel movie that can't be edited out in post in all of two seconds.

I don't know if I'm reading this comment the wrong way, but it feels an awful lot like "blame those foreigners, there's no homophobia here".

Also, that's an awfully lazy list of homophobic countries. Films do make most of their box office money overseas, but one country is going to matter in terms of censorship and that's China, which accounts for nearly half of all box office revenue.*

*Once upon a time, video was a significant portion of film revenues. I'm guessing selling streaming rights took up some of that slack, but I don't know what the numbers look like.
posted by hoyland at 4:18 PM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


where the directors and writers went on about the totes PLATONIC love story of Steve and Bucky,

I think part of the conflict is like: it’s actually super important for men especially to have platonic love stories! Everyone, but especially men, because they are socialized into thinking there are no platonic love stories.

So yeah, maybe #giveCapABoyfriend, but he needs to keep his platonic friends too.
posted by corb at 4:27 PM on November 8, 2017 [10 favorites]


100% sure Bucky Barnes is his boyfriend based on very little extra interpretation of the movie whatsoever.
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on November 8, 2017 [5 favorites]


Platonic friendship is important! When at least two of the Captains America are romantically involved with each other, there remains one Captain America to be the Platonic Friend, like so: Steve/Sam, while Steve and Bucky maintain their epic codependent platonic love story; Steve/Bucky, while Steve and Sam maintain their deep platonic friendship; Sam/Bucky, see above re Steve and Bucky. This is easy to do, because the MCU is chock full of dudes. Should two of those dudes be into each other in romantical way, there remains a PLETHORA of dudes available for platonic friendship. See also the many possibilities of Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and James Rhodes.
posted by yasaman at 4:46 PM on November 8, 2017 [11 favorites]


The Falcon is shit out of lucky if he wants Steve to fight his friends to the death over him, i'm just saying.
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on November 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Hm, checking to see if I is still angry about the straightwashing of Mystique ...

Yep.

Rogue has two mommies goddamit.
posted by kyrademon at 5:16 PM on November 8, 2017 [14 favorites]


I don't know if I'm reading this comment the wrong way, but it feels an awful lot like "blame those foreigners, there's no homophobia here".

Oh, I'd be the first to admit that market forces make it hard to have anything queer in a mainstream release in the US, but you can't deny that there are places where, if you're queer, you're set up for political persecution at best, execution at worst.
posted by lilies.lilies at 5:33 PM on November 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Tolkein was adamant
So you're saying he was... desperate but not serious? A goody two shoes, if you will? Prince Charming, perhaps?
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 6:22 PM on November 8, 2017 [11 favorites]


It’s a pleasure, watching you stand and deliver such an unexpected joke
posted by incomple at 6:30 PM on November 8, 2017 [10 favorites]


So how much did they pay for using "Immigrant Song"? I hate it when they are coy about details like that.

[edit: sorry, wrong Thor thread. slinks out of room]
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:34 PM on November 8, 2017


So you're saying he was... desperate but not serious? A goody two shoes, if you will? Prince Charming, perhaps?

At least someone was willing to stand and deliver.
posted by Samizdata at 8:44 PM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


Where's the communism?

Korg wants YOU for a revolution! Doug will be there, bring a friend.


We aren't having Flavor-Aid again, are we?

Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy. Unless the enemy is Hela. Hela crushes the hammer.


Just saying. Luxury is covered by the cost of a movie ticket nowadays. So we have THAT covered. And then there is gay and space. Thus the communist query.
posted by Samizdata at 8:46 PM on November 8, 2017


I want that poster.
posted by eviemath at 4:29 AM on November 9, 2017






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