Thor: Love and Thunder

Why Thor: Love and Thunder Isn’t Coming to Malaysian Cinemas

Dept. of Homophobic Hang-Ups


We could give you three guesses as to why Thor: Love and Thunder isn’t coming to Malaysian cinemas, but you’ll only really need one. The movie was originally slated for a July 7 release but was, at the very last minute, pushed to July 21. Having already seen the movie at a preview screening, we had our suspicions as to why this delay might have happened; though no official reasons were given at the time. (And no, you idiots, it had nothing – absolutely nothing – to do with the fact the Mat Kilau was doing well at the box office. It is an interesting conspiracy theory, but one that is completely ignorant of how the industry actually works.)

The latest update, as announced by our local exhibitors, is that the movie has been “postponed indefinitely.” (Also to be read as “never seeing the light of day.”)

So why then is Thor: Love and Thunder stuck in limbo? There are two possible reasons, one being more likely than the other. Yes, this is purely speculation on our part, but it is completely informed by our experience and understanding of how the industry and the LPF operates.

We should say here that what follows will contain minor spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder. They aren’t story related, but they are spoilers nonetheless.

Thor: Love and Thunder

First of all, it is important to note that the movie isn’t officially banned in Malaysia. (A ban actually requires a parliamentary gazette and can’t just be issued willy-nilly.) Instead, it is likely collateral damage due to a standoff between our censorship board (LPF) and Disney. LPF wants certain cuts to be made before approving the movie for release in cinemas, and Disney has said no. It’s what happened with Lightyear. It almost happened with Beauty and the Beast back in 2017. And it is mostly likely the reason for the “postponement” of Thor: Love and Thunder.

What’s more, because the movie isn’t officially banned, there is still a chance we can watch it (legally) when it drops on Disney Plus Hotstar.

So what is it that our LPF wants cut?

Could It Be Because of Gorr?

The major plot point of the movie (which you would have already seen in trailers) involves Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher who, as his name suggests, is hellbent on ridding the universe of “Gods.” At the very beginning of the movie, he vows that “all Gods will die” and begins his killing spree.

Now, that can seem offensive to a country that is, at least superficially, religious. But given that the Gods that Gorr is referring to are mostly “mythological” – i.e. in no way related to Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or any of the other mainstream religions practiced in Malaysia – we don’t think that this has anything to do with it.

Is it Because of Chris Hemsworth’s Bare Buttocks?

Thor: Love and Thunder

Also unlikely. While the scene isn’t pixelated in the movie, the shot lasts for about as long as it does in the trailer. There really isn’t anything more to that moment. It is also unlikely that Disney would have a problem blurring out nudity if they had to. God knows they’ve done it themselves on Disney Plus. (The scene was also censored in India.)

What About the Gay Stuff?

Thor: Love and Thunder

This is most likely the reason why we’ll not be seeing Thor: Love and Thunder in Malaysian cinemas.

Now, unlike what happens in Lightyear, there isn’t any physical expression of homosexual love in this movie. There are no same sex kisses. There’s nothing like that. There are, however, two major scenes with some dialogue around characters who just happen to be gay/bisexual.

The first takes place towards the end of the second act. There is a moment in which a tipsy Valkyrie, confesses to Korg – the happy-go-lucky rock monster – that she stopped believing there was still love for her after her girlfriend, another Valkyrie, the love of her life, died in battle. (This wasn’t actually shown in Thor: Ragnarok, but was seemingly retconned in after Tessa Thompson and Kevin Feige confirmed that the character was bisexual.) There is then the implication that Korg is gay when he talks about how his species is born, which involves two males, holding hands over a molten pool for a month, resulting in the birth of a new Kronan.

The second scene is at the end of the movie when, in his voice over, Korg says: “Speaking of futures, I was forging one of my own, now that our bodies grown back, with a dude I met called Dwayne.” (Heh. Get it?)

From what we understand, our LPF takes a hard stand against any kind of LGBTQ content. Explicit or otherwise. And these two scenes would have definitely had their gaydar going.

But even that isn’t a rule that they apply across the board. Take, for example, Michelle Yeoh’s Everything Everywhere All at Once. The entire premise of that movie was built around the fractured relationship between a mother and her gay daughter. None of those conversations were cut. That movie was rated 18 and played in local cinemas for three months. Then again, maybe it’s just a rule that applies to movies that appeal to kids? Maybe like so many ultraconservative Republicans, our LPF too is concerned with a gay agenda that’s trying to convert children by subverting their minds through cartoons and comic book heroes.

That said, even Disney isn’t consistent in their stand. Back in 2017, they refused to back down from that completely innocuous “gay moment” in Beauty and the Beast, but had no problem with local censors cutting out the same sex kiss in last year’s Eternals. Disney’s recent stance, that it doesn’t remove gay content to appease censors in the territories where it distributes its theatrical films, is likely due to the fallout from their response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, where their employees have been pressuring them to take a harder stand against those who seek to limit speech regarding LGBTQ issues.

Do We Just Wait for a Digital Release?

Thor: Love and Thunder

We don’t know.

Given that content on the Internet isn’t subject to the approval of our censorship board, there is a chance that we could still see Thor: Love and Thunder (and Lightyear) when it eventually drops on streaming. But whether or not that happens ultimately lies with a different set of decision makers, namely the corporate overlords over at Disney Plus Hotstar. How much are they willing to push the envelope? Would they be willing to deal with the conservative fallout from putting the movie up on the local service?

Thor: Love and Thunder will be the first MCU movie to not be screened in Malaysian cinemas.

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