As I sit here typing this piece, once more enjoying the battle music used in Thor: Ragnarok, “Immigrant” By Led Zepellin, this spiritual warrior pounds away on words like a blacksmith pours their sweat into fashioning beautifully crafted weaponry. I tip my helmet to the screenwriters. I am not a screenwriter. I am more of a detailed, creative writer. I like to delve into adjectives and adverbs, colors, sounds, the way a director portrays the picture on screen. Screenwriters have the job of constructing the backbone and skeleton of a piece. Without it, the creation would be as blobby as the people aboard the Axiom (reference to Wall-E). Writing comedy is extremely hard job. I enjoy going alone to films such as Thor Ragnarok because when I find something funny, I don’t hold back. I laugh and I laugh loud. Some of you may be saying something like, “Didn’t she write on the Dangers of Diana/Wonder Woman?” Yes, we do need to be careful not to idolize, AND realize what the character stands for, what they promote. My biggest beef was the Christian community’s laziness in elevating Wonder Woman to biblical womanhood as if women of the Bible are uninteresting enough for the movie screen. It is also important to know the origin of the character.
After writing this article, I conducted some additional input from Marvel interviews and it HAS come to my attention that Tom refers to Loki as a sorcerer which is a disappointment since the first two films he is a Marvel mythical character, completely unviking-ed from origin as a shapeshifter that has sex with both human and animal. “White” or “good” magic does not exist and is increasingly being propogated and accepted in Hollywood. This makes me very sad, but also more aware and determined to pray for those making these wonderfully creative films to know that the gift of such creativity is needed and given BY THE ONLY LIVING God and can be used for His purpose.
As A Sibling:
I found the dynamics between the Viking character of Marvel Modern Thor, Loki and Hella relatable. My older sister called me an “imp” when I was little as a term of endearment. Imp is short for impudent, in the same adjective family as mischievous, the label given Loki. So, even though Loki is a villain, the story peels away a brotherly side to him. Even though he can be a jerk, he protects those he cares about and what he cares about. Admittedly, as a younger sibling lacking relationship with that bond of trust, and several stillborn siblings whom I never got to know between myself and my older sister, I found an identifiable moment in the film as an artist with Thor, actually, when like him, the words from those I hoped and grown to know to be encouraging, discouraging me and lacking of faith in my artistry and place in life. Hella, near the end, is battling with brother Thor, telling him, “what are you ‘god’ of again?” in a very distaining tone. It is at that point where he has to dig deep in himself, speaking truth to lies, remembering those who loved and believed in him. Something I am having to work on, encouraged by Lysa TerKeurst’s Book: “Uninvited” book.
As A Daughter of The King & As A Peacemaker:
It bothers me how the “Christian” film industry lacks the creative genius well known to other cultures, portraying characters in film as archetypes rather than individuals. There is nearly no Faith Television series (other than pioneer dramas) in the USA. Thor Ragnarok does have mild “nudity” of CG characters and there was mild, unmaliciously delivered ‘cussing’. It bothers me how Christianity is letting films such as Thor define humor for all of us, treating the Scripture as boring, and devoid of any depth or levels of the people therein. That belief is only what has been passed down to us, told us by mankind of prior generations also lacking in creative vision and understanding Jewish/Scriptual culture, Jewish humor and Yahweh’s understanding of comedy, all healthy culturally created flavors of it. Yahweh created comedy. Yahweh defines in Scripture “laughter” (or has some translations put ‘a merry heart’) as being “good medicine.” Yahweh loves laughter, repetitively mentioning in His word, His desire for mourning to turn to joy. He talks of the fullness of joy through the missionary, Paul, who many Christians ironically quote but do not honor his life’s work, the one who Yahwen called to reach out to the Greeks and other Gentiles who wrote these stories of these ‘god’ characters Christian and non-Christians like, that unfolded to the Gentiles lessons, morals and aspirational characters that feel like a friend because they share something with us. As a film creator who has witnessed such respect and creativity in the film “Risen,” I know “Christian” film can be and do better. What power that would unleash if we produced more such movies! Solomon mentions in the Proverbs that the merry-hearted have a continual feast. When we face hard times, we cling to the memory of the good. In the garden of gethsemane, Jesus remembered the good that would come from His love, His suffering. Thank goodness He did! Yet, His feasting table still has a noticeable number of empty seats. God has shared his heart with us in scripture, His ache at how long He has to wait for us to return after our unfaithfulness and abuse of His grace, His delight in His bride, from the hair on her head to the beauty of her feet. He has shared with us His fury. He has shared with us His humor. It bothers me (and saddens me-having grown up with the imaginative Christian produced “Adventures in Odyssey” with its “Imagination Station”) that so many view the bible as boring and feel the need to produce, not one, not two but three films on “God’s not Dead” (hugely idolized and lauded in the church) rather than delving into the essence of the Creator as artists into His creativity, rather than further destroying what He has created.
As A Story-teller:
I can hardly wait for the day when Christian films stop going back to their own gospel story vomit. Believe me, I know first-hand what it feels like to vomit on someone. Literally. I was in third grade, practicing along with the rest of the school on the risers for the yearly singing production. We had been taking too many breaks for the teachers liking, who just wanted for us all to get through the entirety just once. So, of course I would start feeling not-so-good just after the announcement “No more breaks”. I raised my hand, as was the custom back in the day, for a turn at the teacher’s attention, but she shook her head and continued conducting. Stuck on the second to last riser with people hedged in on all sides of me, I stopped singing to swallow (for the first time) the food I had eaten that threatened to come out. I swallowed my own vomit and boy was it nasty! But, I lost that battle. It erupted out of my mouth into the long, (hip length), straight, combed, shampoo-ed, shiny, dark blonde hair of the pastor’s daughter down directly in front of me! Forget “Fifty Shades of Grey”…I KNOW Fifty shades of Red exist!
So, you can see my question to “Christian” filmmakers who keep going to the same vomit, (having tasted my own) the same story, the same generic: Why in Heaven’s naaame would you keep doing that? Yet, instead of mortification and reflection on their part, I see the industry that I was initially excited to participate in applaud vomiting the gospel with ill-crafted technical foundation and unasked questions or relatable characters, as if accolading a belching contest. It is sad how spiritually nose-blind so many have become of the stench that is being created and the rifts being created by ego and unpatched resentment from those who actually need to know wisdom and love from those who claim to know it yet publicly show so little or no understanding of such.
Having actually physically vomited on another person, it embarrasses me and saddens me to see others who claim to know The King whom I do my best to love and respect Who has shown His love to me (even when I grapple with Him because of things I don’t understand, aware He is Creator and I am His Creation) vomiting on people with egotistical expectations and repetitively vomiting on people’s hearts. It bothers me that the Christian film industry is a practically questionless one. Questionless of people, as if they have no valuable opposed to “Christian” assumption and too often dismissive, cure all viewpoint. Questionless of God, as if we shouldn’t ask Him anything, as if trust is a thing figured out long ago. Trust is something searched out and built in relationship. Trust is a struggle story between worldviews. Trust with Yahweh is the struggle between a limited and an unlimited worldview. “Christian” Film is not listening to the people they claim to desire to reach out to, nor their Christian counterparts offering them valuable critique, who desire them to excel.
As A Warrior “Imp”:
Although I do have to keep aware of the origin of the characters of Thor and his kin and friends as pagan gods, as the youngest sibling, I admit it’s hard not to crush on/root for Loki. Being a movie maker, I admire the way the actor and director develop this version of Loki’s character, his expressions. How, as a mischievous heart, he doesn’t always say straight out what’s up, so the camera pays attention to his face and eyes in search for a betrayal of himself. The way they style his wardrobe and hair were creative. Loki’s (Marvel Production) backstory is that Oden and family adopts Loki the baby frost giant because Oden sees in Loki potential to peacekeeper, but Loki struggles with keeping peace within himself against the negative what others think (or what he thinks they think) of him being, even, if not especially, the perceptions of his adopted family. Something I identify with, if I am honest.
Many acquaintances and growing and passing friends in my life think of me more like the Marvel Comic’s “Thor” the easily recognizable hero warrior in many ways. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy how the film makers weave in just a bit of Loki’s trickery rubbing off on Thor in the “Get Help” ploy), (For those unfamiliar with this: “Get Help!” is a distraction ploy where Thor and Loki barge into a situation, Loki, arm slung over Thor, feigning injury that needs attention, to get them both in to then pulverize the enemy by Thor then throwing his brother Loki at them). As I grow older however, I appreciate Loki’s character (Marvel version) of not being so forthcoming with plans and how he has changed through the films. This third film sees Loki on the other side of making some sort of peace with who he is, growing from a younger demanding prince into more grown up lordship of his gifts he has been allotted, coming into his own, rather than fighting to be Thor’s “equal” as he confesses in Dark World (Movie #2).
Movie Loki’s one flaw is that he is predictably unpredictable, so people close to him only can defeat him, such as adoptive brother Thor when he quick handedly plants the tazor pod on his brothers back and swipes the small trigger stick. This movie has us laughing at the genius placement of quotes, as they have gotten to know the characters, sharing them with us, the predictable presented as “Haha. That was dumb!” (because the character gives in to ego). It has us as the audience laughing at the unexpected and clever plans of the characters. We laugh at sibling competitiveness, often carried out in outlandish fashion.
Although I won’t watch the forthcoming ones now that they have Dr. Strange involved, since I have read that the movie and character (who apparently is a wizard) is deep seated in the occult, something I have had contact with in my own past and know is very real and evil, I can admit to laughing so hard I cried at what I consider Loki’s greatest line in Thor Ragnarok. Once in a great cinematic while, a really great line of script emerges. Loki’s line, “Let’s not do ‘Get Help!’” when facing down their evil sister Hella, knowing that she derives her power from Aasgaard and that Aasgaard is defined by Oden as “its people” (movie quote), of which includes himself. “Let’s not do, ‘Get Help!’” One day later now, after watching it, I admit I still am. (Thank You to the six writers of this film and to Tom Hiddleston for the priceless line delivery on screen!) The Christian film industry (like Thor) keeps turning to the Lokis out there suggesting the “Hey, Let’s do, ‘Get Help!’….C’mon you love it” (From Thor Ragnarok elevator scene) despite Loki protesting that he “hates it” and that “it’s humiliating”.
So, can we glean something from Loki? Originally the pagan ‘god’ of mischief, who tells his adoptive brother in Dark World Movie #2 to “Trust my rage”? (I.E. The passion/fire in him, the same passion Odin saw to be of peacekeeping quality–Quote from Thor: The Dark World).
I think we can: “Let’s not do, ‘Get Help!’”
It’s time for a new plan.