In some parts of the country, the weather might not be taking the hint that it is time for autumn, but Hollywood is more than happy to leave summer (and its terrible box office) behind. As the wind turns crisp and pumpkin spice creeps into every consumable food imaginable, there are only two more chances for film studios to dip into the superhero money well for 2017. One of those sure bets is the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. The Marvel movie will concentrate on Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) fall from grace when Hela (Cate Blanchett) takes over Asgard, but it will also introduce Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Asgard has never been short on warriors, but previous entries in the franchise put the focus on Jamie Alexander’s Sif. Now director Taika Waititi is opening up the lore to include the Valkyrior, battle-hardened demo-goddesses who were once led by Valkyrie. However, adding pegasus-riding warriors meant a new landscape full of trope pitfalls. A minefield Waititi is well aware of. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, the Thor: Ragnarok director took screenwriters to task for their single-dimensional take on strong female characters.
“There’s one word I hate in all scripts in Hollywood at the moment in describing women, and that is the word ‘badass.’ That word has just crept into every script that is pushed around this town now. It’s terrible, because it doesn’t mean anything. It’s a dumb male writer’s way of saying, ‘Ah, uh, she’s like, she, uh, she’s tough.’ Then straight after that it’s like, ‘She’s badass, but she’s got a beauty about her. And she’s sexy. Unconsciously sexy.”
I’m not sure if Waititi rolled his eyes when uttering the phrase “unconsciously sexy” but I sure did. The phrase is so loaded and overplayed that even One Direction wrote a song about it. “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” is an ode to the desire for women to be sexy but also have low self-esteem so that “average Joe” thinks he has a chance.