Should there be more LGBT representation in superhero films?
By Joe Harker
Did you know that Thor Ragnarok had an LGBT character?
If you've seen the very popular Marvel movie then you might not even have realised it, but Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie is bisexual. There aren't many LGBT superheroes on the big screen, so it might be time to see a few more make appearances.
Some have criticised Thor Ragnarok's claim to include an LGBT character, with it not being readily apparent upon watching the film. Tessa Thompson reportedly asked director Taika Waititi to visibly depict her character's sexuality, with NDTV suggesting that a shot of a woman leaving Valkyrie's bedroom was filmed but eventually cut from the film. There could have been a part of the film that showed or at least hinted at the character's sexuality, but it was up to the actor to confirm it.
Ian McKellen, who played Magneto several times in the X-Men franchise, has called for more LGBT representation in superhero films. There are several LGBT characters in the source materials of superhero films, but this aspect of the character is often not portrayed when it comes to the big screen. McKellen was worried about the lack of representation in the films. He said: "I wouldn't say the films coming out of the mainstream are quite as related to what's going on in the real world as I would like them to be.
"One indication of that is LGBT people don't really get quite a big enough say. If you're one of those initials yourself, you do notice that actually these movies are not about me at all. Frankly, looking at the images of some of these superheroes it's a surprise to me they aren't gay."
The Guardian wonder when Hollywood will provide a "genuinely queer superhero", suggesting that Valkyrie's sexuality is undermined by a lack of on screen confirmation. They suggest that Thor Ragnarok's 130 minute runtime could have spared a few seconds to keep a clip that would have make it clear that Valkyrie was interested in women. Other characters in superhero films have had romantic relationships portrayed on the big screen, so it's not like there's no time for love when the world needs saving.
They also suggest that movie studios might be hesitant to include LGBT characters because that could negatively impact the film in Chinese and Russian markets. Both countries have a strict censorship policy that could ban films starring LGBT characters, which might put off studios that would lose out on large amounts of box office revenue from not being shown in two of the most lucrative international markets.