So Thor: Ragnarok has finally come out. I have been waiting ages for this movie and I will state it: I was not disappointed. While everyone else may have not enjoyed the Thor movies, I did like them, but neither of them really lived up to what I wanted for my favorite comic series. But Ragnarok delivers, even if it tosses away a bunch of shit to get there. Thor is finally acknowledged as a God (something they kept shying away from or denying in the last films). He actually shows a divine level of power (to the point of BTFO’ing the Hulk until treachery occurs). And seeing him covered in lightning and raining down the thunderbolts was super satisfying.
But the primary reason I was eagerly awaiting this movie was Hela. My Goddess, my Queen, my eternal. And while I will admit I had hoped she would be played by Kat Dennings ever since rumors started that Hela was under cover since the first movie, Cate Blanchett delivers a performance of violent ecstasy that, well, I needed a cigarette after.
Hela is a cute! A cute!!
And while Hela in the movie is…not much like the comics or the mythology (though they got the look, the arrogance, and the “sexy evil” vibes right from the comics), this post is not about the differences between Helas. Don’t get me wrong, I want to write that article and I well might, but we don’t get to have nice things. Instead, we have to drag politics into everything and attempt to ruin my good times.
Thanks to Salon putting out the article: “Thor: Ragnarok” is a hammer in the face to the alt-right. (Because, apparently, they didn’t pay any attention to what happens to Mjolnir in this film.) Now, I’m not going to do the full article because, well, fuck them. But I am going talk about the part where they address Hela.
Or course, the article starts off like this:
It feels absurd to have to say this, but times are strange, the intermingling of politics and pop culture even stranger, and one, it seems, can never be too careful. So, here goes: I truly, deeply hope that “Thor: Ragnarok” does not embolden modern white nationalists.
Given the absolute shit-storm that “it’s okay to be white” has apparently started, I’m going to go with “white nationalists” can be emboldened by anything. But we’re talking about beautiful Hela here, so let’s get to it.
I reserve no particular affection for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s to the credit of “Thor: Ragnarok” that it explicitly pushes back against the racialized, white supremacist co-opting of Norse-gods-cum-comic-book-heroes. The film’s titular winner-take-all melee casts Odin (Hopkins), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and even the mischievous Loki (Tom Hiddleston) against Cate Blanchett’s scowling Hela, a goddess of death and Odin’s first born daughter, bent on expanding the colonialist Asgard empire.
So we start off with Hela just wants to Make Asgard Great Again.
Also, she wasn’t scowling most of the time. Honestly, most of the time it looked like she was having an orgasm from how many people she was killing. It was hot.
I may have issues.
Okay, so a few spoilers here. Odin doesn’t go up against Hela. Because Odin can’t go up against Hela for reasons (I’m not going to spoil). Which leaves Thor and Loki to fight against Hela (because Loki fucked something up), at which point Hela btfo’s Thor, shatters Mjolnir, and hijacks the Bifrost ride leaving Thor and Loki lost in space while she takes over Asgard. Which, surprisingly, is hers by right of succession since she’s Odin’s first born.
Oh, and she helped Odin conquer the Nine Worlds (while wielding Mjolnir! And riding Fenrir!), fun facts of Asgardian history. Honestly, I would really love a Hela movie where it’s her and Odin riding around slaughtering the fuck out of everything. Because I want more Hela.
In her wanton, giddy lust for violence, Hela challenges taken-for-granted notions of Asgardian exceptionalism, implicating Odin et. al in the nasty business of extra-dimensional empire building. Indeed, Hela’s plot is nothing short of spreading the Asgardian master race across the cosmos, exterminating “lesser” classes of life that stand in her way. The parallels to the similarly deluded endpoint of “alt-right” and modern white nationalists — who talk openly and with insane, straight-faced pride of an all-white ethnostate while judiciously avoiding the subject of the mass genocides required to create one — is pretty much self-evident.
Yep, Salon is absolutely setting up Hela to be the mythical face of the Alt-Right. Which means, if people are willing to take up on it, Thor: Ragnarok has created a ton of potential new memes and handed over Norse Mythology to the alt-right. If only in the same way that milk, the okay gesture, the peace sign, and a dozen other things have been handed over to the alt-right.
I’m not sure how she’s “challenging notions of Asgardian exceptionalism” though. I mean, enforcing notions, sure. Displaying the reason for those notions, yeah. Hell, we’ve seen since the first movie that the Asgardians were a warring empire who in its early days happily slaughtered their way to victory. Bor did it against the Dark Elves who were trying to blot out all light, sure, lets be honest we all knew Asgard didn’t get to be the top of the nine worlds simply because Odin drew up some peace treaties. And Hela didn’t “implicate Odin” she and the murals flat out stated Odin was in charge of the conquest (it’s just that Hela was really, really good at killing shit).
And what did she get for it? Thrown into prison (Helheim?) and erased from Asgardian history when Odin decided he wanted a different “Face” to Asgardian society. So if Hela is “the alt-right” then I guess Odin would be the Communists who erase inconvenient people even if they literally helped build everything. It seems even here Hela is of the dishonored.
Jokes aside for a moment though, it is hard to argue that a race of immortal, virtually unkillable, space-fairing, wormhole mastering, super powered beings that can generate a variety of things from their physical bodies from lighting to weapons is not actually a Master Race. I mean, we’re talking about a race of beings who are finally admitted to be Actual Gods. You don’t really get more “master race” than that.
It is perhaps too much to ask that (re)casting burly Norse/Germanic/Aryan icons like Thor as protectors of the downtrodden will prove enough to turn back the nasty cultural appropriation of Norse mythology. Still, “Ragnarok,” in all its kaleidoscopic, candy-flipping colors and arch silliness and stupidity, underscores the sheer preposterousness of using such figures to justify something as stupid, preposterous and wildly immoral as the modern white nationalist agenda.
I’ll be honest, I can’t tell if I’m retarded for having trouble understanding this paragraph, or if the person writing it is retarded and that’s why I’m having trouble understanding it.
First off, Thor has always been a protector of the downtrodden, and let us be completely honest here, if we’re talking about the downtrodden identifying Thor as their protector, then you’re not going to stop “white supremacists” from latching on to Norse mythology given that 55% of white people feel racially discriminated against. Hela’s grace, but one of the reasons this blog is as “sympathetic” to “white nationalism” as it is is because Hela is the Goddess of the Dishonored, and no group is as dishonored as whites at this point.
Now, as for the “candy colors and silliness” preventing the “alt-right” from latching on to Thor, the movies, and Norse mythology as an outlet or source of inspiration…this author clearly doesn’t know the alt-right in the least. If anything, Thor: Ragnarok is perfect for the alt-right because of a new visual aesthetic that’s becoming popular called “Fashwave.” Which is the same 80’s style techno-wave music, candy colored “silliness” that is exactly like Ragnarok. Hel, here’s a vid with a Valknut, now tell me this doesn’t sound like it goes right with the Ragnarok soundtrack (assuming you’ve seen the movie).
Seriously though, look up fashwave art and tell me it doesn’t look like the new Cosmic Marvel and especially like Thor Ragnarok.
Maybe it’s enough that in an age when the “alt-right” and radical white supremacist fringes co-opt all manner of various pop cultural signifiers, from “The Matrix” to Depeche Mode to Pepe The Frog, Hollywood went and made something that is defiantly not for them. At least in the trenches of the ongoing, increasingly ludicrous culture wars, the forces of progressivism have the God of Thunder on their side.
Except that’s going to last exactly as long as it takes for the alt-right to realize what a fucking goldmine they’ve got when it comes to Ragnarok. We’re talking about the people who turned milk and “okay” into symbols of white nationalism. We’re talking about the people who with signs saying “it’s okay to be white” have managed to send newspapers, blogs, and universities in to a shitshow of people screaming “white supremacy!!!”
And yet, somehow, a film about white gods, with the exact same aesthetic that the alt-right has been embracing…is not going to be used by them if they want to?
I mean seriously, I get Progressives think they’re the smartest people in the world and that the alt-right is filled with a bunch of autistic retards (well, okay maybe the autism part is right), but the degree to which this author is blinded by their fervent dreams and not facing reality is just hard to believe. But then maybe that’s all they’ve got, fever dreams where they can still win, despite every loss they’ve been handed.
Hehe, this one works on several levels. Though I’m sure it will not win me friends with some of my co-religionists. Then again, I doubt they were that friendly to me to start with.
Thor: Ragnarok is an amazingly fun movie. Frankly, I would like to have some fun out there without politics ruining everything. But, like everything, certain people are going to drag their politics into anything they touch and insist people are bad for not believing like they do. At which point the inevitable backlash is going to happen. It’s like they’ve learned nothing at all.