Thor: Ragnarok (2017), like a surprising number of mainstream movies, fails the Bechdel Test (a test that serves as an indicator of the active presence of women in movies). It fails this test because no woman ever speaks directly to another woman (the second of three criteria). In spite of this lack of interactions between women one woman refers to another as trash (Rachel House to Jeff Goldblum about Tessa Thompson) and a woman (Thompson) refers to 48-year-old Cate Blanchett as a hag. No woman offers another woman tea--as Benedict Cumberbatch does to Chris Hemsworth--and no woman says she would like to hug another--as Chris Hemsworth does to Tom Hiddleston. Here women's interactions are insulting and deadly. It does not include a single congenial interaction between women. One of the two lead females is Hela, the goddess of Death, played by Cate Blanchett. She is portrayed as a great threat to men--in keeping with a recent trend (also seen in The Mummy, 2017, The Last Witch Hunter, 2015, etc.). Indeed, she kills dozens of men before our eyes and attempts to kill her two brothers. Moreover, her costume and poses are sexualized, as shown in the picture below.
In terms of entertainment for women Thor: Ragnarok has very little to offer. It represents a step back for women. There are movies from the 1980's that were more progressive and included more positive portrayals of women (e.g. Nine to Five, 1980). Despite this serious failing Thor: Ragnarok made over US$850 million at the worldwide box office. In the second decade of the 21st century women deserve much more from a mainstream movie.
© 2017 Alline Cormier