Even while the Gulf nations work to modernize their global reputation through significant marketing campaigns, the subject of sexual freedom is still very taboo. Now the Arab state Bahrain, is joining other Middle Eastern nations in banning the fourth installment of Thor, Thor: Love and Thunder, the latest superhero film in a long line of Hollywood blockbusters to feature openly gay characters.
“The ministry of information has decided to halt projection of one of the films showing in cinema halls for the sake of preserving and safeguarding society’s moral values,” the ministry said in a brief statement late Thursday.
The ministry did not specify the name of the film banned, but screenings of “Thor: Love and Thunder” have halted.
The film sees “Valkyrie”, played by Tessa Thompson, express clear romantic feelings towards another female character.
Kuwait has also banned the film, according to local media which cited its information ministry as ascribing the decision to “scenes involving homosexual characters”.
In recent months, major film production companies have experienced similar restrictions in the oil-rich but conservative Gulf region.
The only country in the Gulf that is still showing Thor is the UAE, despite the country’s June ban on the Disney-Pixar animated movie “Lightyear,” which had a scene of two women kissing and centers on their relationship and having a child together.
Saudi Arabia asked for edits to “LGBTQ references” in Disney’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” in April, but the country ultimately decided against screening the film.
Thor: Love and Thunder has received mixed reviews, nearly hitting the Rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes at 66%, and managing to score as poorly as the previous worst installment in the series, Thor: The Dark World. This is mostly due to its inconsistent tone, and weird sense of humor. Furthermore, it hasn’t performed as well as previous MCU movies, and its drop during its second weekend follows a bad Phase 4 trend. Will Kevin Feige, Marvel and Disney try to right the ship, or triple down on identity politics?
I think you know the answer.