EDITOR’S NOTE: The following piece contains a couple of references to events in THOR: THE DARK WORLD that you owe it to yourself to experience without knowledge aforethought, so if you haven’t seen the film yet but you intend to, just bookmark this piece and come back after you’ve watched it. Here endeth the lesson.
Okay, so I saw Thor: The Dark World last Friday. There was action! There were laughs! there were feels! There was Loki doing his best Cap impression (spoilers… s’good). What I noticed, though, was that this looked like a very male-driven movie. The lead is this godly god with flowing hair and a gorgeous beard and… erm, where was I? Right, guys. Thor and all of his strapping masculinity. Loki with his brooding stares and wicked grins that make the entire population of Tumblr swoon. Odin and all of his… well, screaming. On the surface, very testosteroney… but beyond the obvious spectacle of superpowered men pummeling other superpowered men with hammers, the backbone of this movie is made up of the female characters. Today, we’re going to take a look at the ladies that make the Thor franchise the most equal-opportunity of all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.*
* As well as the most Bechdel Test Friendly!
Romantic interest by day, astrophysicist by… well, all the time. Jane is passionate, obsessive, and makes pretty much the biggest discovery in the history of her field. Also? She hits Thor in the face. Twice. And then hits Loki in the face. IN ONE DAY. Played by Natalie Portman, Jane is neurotic but likeable; there has been some criticism over her bout of depression over Thor’s absence, but hey – Thor wore, like, a sheet for ¾ of the movie because he missed her. So perspective.
Badass. Loyal. Unwavering. Piercing eyes that stare into your soul. That’s Sif. Actress Jaimie Alexander has brought weight and heart to this icon of Asgardian feminism – so much so that there are rumors DC might be trying to scoop her up for the role of… wait for it… Wonder Woman. While that would be great, I’m content seeing her slicing up the nasties of the Nine Realms with that sword of hers.
You kind of can’t dislike Darcy. Besides the whole Kat Dennings thing, she also gets many of the laugh-out-loud moments in both films. While double-dipping for jokes doesn’t always work, she gets full marks for return gags (Mew Mew!)… but it’s really her relentlessly strange energy that makes her shine. It’s the fact that she’ll interrupt Jane on a date and openly talk about how weird she’s been over Thor. It’s the way she bounces off every character — from Thor to Jane to Selvig to Intern Guy – and makes them all (and herself) look wonderfully ridiculous. It’s the way she sweeps Intern Guy off of his feet and goes all V-J Day sailor/nurse on him. Yep. Darcy for life.
If the women are the backbone of Thor: The Dark World, Frigga is the blood that pumps through its veins. In the first film, she functioned as the tie that binds the brash (and Earthbound) Thor, the livid (and comatose) Odin, and the despicable (and stylish) Loki. Here, she shows the reason why these three men – yes, even the trickster – love her. She’s brave and cunning and smart and resourceful. And man, she can throw down. The fallout of her fight with Malekith shakes the film and all of its characters to its core, but I’d argue against the critique I’ve been reading that the character was fridged here. While her death does kick plot points and character arcs into action, she is no victim. She fights and she risks her life in effort to save someone who needs help – which, I think, makes her arguably the strongest and most compassionate of the royal family of Asgard. She makes a stand, and that stand is her own.
Pat Shand writes about gods, archers, monsters, and fairy tales for Zenescope Entertainment. He’s a dead ringer for Chris Hemsworth. Please don’t Google him.